Smith skims over much of this, however, when he talks about his work. For most people, it’s just too unbelievable and, frankly, overwhelming. (He admits that he used to get laughed off the docks when talking to traditional fishermen.) Instead, he focuses on the aspect of kelp farming that, as he says, “has a soul”—the part where he is able to provide a uniquely rewarding and viable livelihood for independent farmers. “People from all walks of life are interested,” Smith says, “and I think it’s because it gives them agency.” Startup costs for kelp farming are remarkably low, and Smith can’t keep up with the growing demand for kelp as food and fertilizer, and as an additive for cosmetics, and even biofuel. The small cult of farmers he’s trained so far are an eclectic bunch—a young Iraq War veteran, a book publisher from Jersey City, a former New England shrimp trawler, and an environmental scientist from Yale. It seems as if everyone who encounters Smith becomes his disciple. Speak to him long enough, and you sense a fanaticism for his vision, despite his laid-back demeanor. I can’t help but become an advocate myself. The only question remaining was one of taste.