Ocean Approved is protecting the ocean, while tantalizing people’s palates, by growing a super-food with a pedigree traced directly to Maine’s coastal waters. The first open-ocean kelp farm in the U.S., Ocean Approved farms, processes, and sells kelp and kelp products, offering customers a local alternative to imported seaweeds.
A onetime CEI aqualoan customer, Ocean Approved recently approached the Maine-based CDFI for a $500,000 capital raise, which CEI closed with several financing partners. Unable to keep up with a growing demand for its highly-regarded, sustainable product, the kelp specialists will use this financing to upgrade and increase the company’s processing capability. These upgrades will enable Ocean Approved to spur sales and enter into buying contracts with kelp farmers statewide. The company’s open source approach to teaching others the intricacies of kelp farming also brings innovation and opportunity to Maine’s year-round fishing communities and coastal economies.
(Date of loan: 2012. Date of story publication: May 2016)