Bren Smith
Executive Director and Co-Founder

Organization: GreenWave

Location: New Haven, CT

In his words…

“As someone who has worked his whole life to make a living at sea, I am grounded in work and community. I grew up next to a fisherman’s cooperative and have been a member of my local shellfishing cooperative for more than 15 years; as a result, I bring real-world experience in the granular workings of new economy ownership structures.”

What gives him hope…

As we build this new blue green economy, all walks of life can create meaningful livelihoods feeding their communities and fighting climate change, and in the process emerge as leaders in the ocean’s just transition. They can ensure we can all make a living on a living planet, helping us navigate the twin crisis of inequality and climate change, and highlight how communities around the country are forging solutions.

Bren’s Story:

After 29 years of working on the oceans, first as a fisherman and later an oysterman, Bren Smith remade himself as a regenerative ocean farmer. He lifted his farm off the sea bottom to avoid the impact of storm surges created by hurricanes and started to grow a mix of restorative species—seaweeds and shellfish—for food, fertilizer, feed, and bioplastics.

Bren, author of Eat Like a Fish: My Adventures Farming the Ocean to Fight Climate Change, started GreenWave to train and support regenerative ocean farmers. GreenWave works with ocean farmers to build a thriving blue green economy that supports coastal communities and creates meaningful climate impacts. At the same time, GreenWave is embedding principles of economic justice into the DNA of this entirely new industry.

As a Castanea Fellow, Bren plans to learn from other sectors and perspectives and gain new skills to bring to the next phase of GreenWave’s work. He’s also eager to be part of a diverse and generous peer community that will provide support in his leadership development and personal growth.


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