Strangely, Nature has limited means of replenishing the earth. Some people think that rain brings nutrients back to the soil, but the reverse is true. Nutrients leach out from the soil through rock and into streams and rivers, to the Great Sea which covers over 70% of Earth’s surface.
But harvesting seaweed responsibly and sustainedly can complete this natural cycle, bringing goodness back to soil, plants and animals, and directly into our daily human diet.
Similarly, science in the service of Nature has a vital role in the future of responsibly harvested, food quality seaweed. The more we know about seaweed, the more it will be valued.
The more it is valued, the better care will be taken of this precious resource, the more research we can do, and yet more will be discovered about its rich nutrition and life-giving, healing properties.
So this too can be a virtuous cycle, but needs the knowledgeable support of our customers and those in medical practice, the media, the environmental movement, in the food industry and among the regulatory authorities: people sufficiently interested to learn more about what we are doing - and still aim to achieve.
Seagreens® 'university' exists to fulfil a founding promise - to keep our stakeholders accurately informed about what we know, what we are seeking to discover, and what we are learning about the many uses of seaweed in human nutrition and its potential in the human food chain.
Today this is largely fulfilled by the Seaweed Health Foundation, set up by Seagreens' founder in 2010.
When Seagreens began in 1998, nutritional use of seaweed in Europe and the United States was limited to kelp tablets for iodine deficiency and complementary medical practitioners with a rare knowledge of traditional, ayurvedic and oriental therapies. There was and still are many small producers of artisan seaweeds for use on the plate, but no such thing as an 'organic seaweed food ingredient'.
Despite a growing interest in oriental food, professional and consumer awareness of the rebalancing potential of seaweed in the daily diet and nutritional therapy was minimal.
There was no compilation of seaweed medical research, and despite the obvious wisdom of its use every day in the human diet, no research on wild seaweed as a daily or dietary food ingredient.
Seaweed is still harvested on an industrial scale for its extracts, used in hundreds of manufacuring processes - by-products still go into horticulture, animal feed and still more worryingly, human food.
Largely thanks to Seagreens and a growing band of pioneers, seaweed as a daily food is now available for everyday use in a variety of ways.
Seaweed is a source of all the micronutrients missing from our soils and manufactured foods, including numerous compound nutrients, enzymes and essential fatty acids.
“Collectively there has been an average 19% loss in magnesium, a 29% loss in calcium, a 37% loss in iron, and a really alarming 62% loss in copper (iron and copper being the only trace elements analysed for in 1940)" (1)
This is just the tip of the iceberg. And if seaweed is of value to us, it is equally important in the soil which feeds our food: “A deficiency of even a single trace element in asoil can prevent plants thriving, even if all the major nutrientelements, water and light are present in optimal amounts” (2)
This is why Seagreens® is researching in horticulture, animal feed, and compost as well as in human nutrition - for practical applications which can make real improvements in the foundation of health. We must pay attention to the whole of the food chain, and all its relationships - itself only part of the bigger picture of balance which we constantly need to uphold.
“Britain’s intake of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids has decreased while consumption of omega-6 fatty acids has gone through the roof...good health requires the two to be in balance...and the trans-fats routinely found in highly processed foods (eg. ready meals, sweets, crisps, salty snacks, takeaways) assume the same position in the brain (instead of) essential fatty acids" (3)
(1) from a study of mineral and trace element changes in Britain in 72 foods including fruit and vegetables, meat and meat products, cheeses and dairy products analysed annually between 1940 and 2002. Research by D. E. Thomas, DC, MRNT (2007) based on McCance & Widdowson, The Composition of Foods, 6 Editions, pub. Royal Society of Chemistry and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF).
(2) David Kinsman, Member of the Royal Horticultural Society Education Committee, Earth Matters, Science series, Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, Volume 127, Part 1, 2002.
(3) Junk Moods, You Are What You Eat magazine, April 2006