New Maine festival to celebrate benefits of seaweed

Ava Peloquin, a fourth-grader at Portland's East End Community School, examines a piece of sugar kelp earlier this year. Students spent time learning about and tasting seaweed as part of a program to expand offerings of locally sourced food in the school's cafeteria.
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Ava Peloquin, a fourth-grader at Portland's East End Community School, examines a piece of sugar kelp earlier this year. Students spent time learning about and tasting seaweed as part of a program to expand offerings of locally sourced food in the school's cafeteria. Buy Photo
Posted Aug. 27, 2014, at 8:47 p.m.

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 Bob Ramsdell,  chairman of the Searsport Shellfish Management Committee, looks lifts up seaweed to show a green crab recently.
Brian Feulner | BDN
Bob Ramsdell, chairman of the Searsport Shellfish Management Committee, looks lifts up seaweed to show a green crab recently. Buy Photo

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — When Hillary Krapf, a holistic healer in Portland, had shingles in 2012, she rejected modern cures and instead treated herself with something most beach-goers tend to steer away from: seaweed.

The seaweed treatment worked “miraculously,” Krapf said, and for the past year, she has dedicated herself to seaweed advocacy and education. She grew passionate about seaweed’s qualities, not just in healing, but in nutrition, art and especially Maine’s economy.

With the help of partners at the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine, Krapf will host the first Maine Seaweed Festival to celebrate the many practical functions of Maine seaweed.

“We want everyone to love seaweed as much as we do,” Krapf said.

The free festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, at Southern Maine Community College, 4 Fort Road. It will feature activities, food and entertainment throughout the day that highlight the qualities and importance of Maine seaweed: yoga, storytelling with Portland’s The Telling Room, an educational ocean touch-tank, an all-day mural project, seaweed songwriting and a seaweed parade.

Food vendors for the event, including food trucks from Good Shepherd Food-Bank, Locally Sauced, Fishin’ Ships and Maine Grain Alliance, will provide seaweed dishes and the festival also will serve up Maine seaweed ice cream.

The festival will wind down with a ticketed dinner featuring offerings from local chefs and farmers. The meal also will include a discussion with featured guest chef Barton Seavor, who is a National Geographic Fellow and advocate for sustainable food systems.

Krapf said she hopes the event will stimulate interest in sustainable seaweed farming, an industry she believes is undervalued.

“It’s about having a fun, celebratory moment, but this is really education and awareness-building, ” Krapf said.

The festival will be held rain or shine. For information, visit seaweedfest.com.

 

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