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Myriad Production of Healthy Food for the Future - Edible Seaweed and Fish through Ocean Terraforming

Seaweeds afforestation in the ocean through a special cultivation device will produce a myriad amount of edible seaweed and fish to humanity

Photo of Seong T. Hong
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name


Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Korean Government, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Chonbuk National University, Kunsan National University.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 10+ years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Republic of Korea

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

"Jeonbuk province" and a functional operational radius around the province of 200 Km.

What country is your selected Place located in?

Republic of Korea

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Many species of seaweeds are delicate foods containing rich amounts of vitamins, minerals, essential oils, soluble fibers, etc., which are beneficial for human health. Seaweeds do not grow in any ocean; rather, they form habitat in the very specific seashore zones. Few Asian countries have been consuming seaweeds as foods since the prehistoric period.

Since seaweeds collected from nature had not been able to meet the consumer demand, Korea developed the technology for artificial growing of edible seaweeds about 500 hundred years ago. Today, the edible seaweeds are commonly consumed in both Japan and Korea as very delicate and expensive foods. The price of seaweeds is very high due to the high cultivation cost.

We are located in the southern part of South Korea which is the main farming area of seaweeds in Korea.  As an active member of working groups in seaweed farming in South Korea, we have been agonized in the afforestation of seaweeds in order to provide seaweeds as main food.  

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

South Korea, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, is a highly developed country with a highly skilled labor force. The Korean Peninsula was inhabited since as early as the Lower Paleolithic period, and the first Korean kingdom was established in the 7th century B.C. Today, our country has become a global leader in many technological and innovation-driven fields. South Korea is famous for the world's fastest Internet connection speeds along with the world's best healthcare system. In addition, South Korea has been named as the world's most innovative country by the Bloomberg Innovation Index for 6 consecutive years since 2014.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Korea adopted seaweeds as foods in the prehistoric period. The edible seaweeds are very delicate and recently became very popular because of their health merits such as being rich in minerals, fiber, and vitamins. Korea currently produces the edible seaweeds by farming in the ocean. Although the farming technology of the seaweeds has 500 years of history, the current cultivation technology cannot produce enough seaweeds demanded by the Korean society. Farming of the edible seaweeds requires not only extensive labor but also geographically specific area. The current farming methods of the edible seaweeds are not much different from the traditional technology, still requiring extensive manual labors in the geographically limited area. These are then reflected by the high price of the edible seaweeds.

The edible seaweeds are delicate foods that could be enjoyed by any cultural backgrounds. Moreover, edible seaweeds are very profound sources of vitamins, minerals, essential oils and soluble fibers, proposing themselves as ideal foods that our humanity has to pursuit for healthy life. However, the extensive labor and the requirement of a specific geographic condition limit the production and hinder the development of various seaweed-based foods.

Depletion of fish is another serious challenge that our country is currently facing. The Korean Peninsula is surrounded by the ocean except for the northern side. Therefore, fisheries have been a major part of the economy, and fish are being consumed as a major protein source in Korea just like in Japan. As a result of the recent high demand of fish by Korea’s neighbor China, the ocean surrounding Korea has been significantly depleted of fish through overfishing. Despite the country-wide efforts, the speed of fish depletion is being accelerated year by year. By 2050, fisheries will be reduced to much more than half so that consuming fishes as a primary protein source would no longer be possible.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Cultivation of the edible marine seaweeds is not as simple as it sounds. It is applicable only to certain types of seashores because the seaweeds require a very specific set of conditions to attach and grow. The first is the depth of the ocean, and the second is a physicochemical condition surrounding the seaweeds. On top of that, cultivation of the edible seaweeds requires manual seeding, fixing, and maintenance. Each of these steps requires extensive human labor. Therefore, it is not possible to supply the edible seaweeds to our place at an affordable price for the general public with current technology.

To meet the demands for the edible seaweeds at an affordable price in our place, it requires a whole new solution that allows the edible seaweeds to grow in any ocean without requiring extensive labor. In this regards, the new technology should have the following features: First, a device for seaweeds to attach with adjustable depth of installation so that seaweeds placed in any types of ocean can have access to sunlight. Second, it needs a device with the exact physicochemical attributes so that seaweeds can attach naturally without any human interventions, eliminating extensive human labor.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The edible seaweeds are not only delicate foods but also very health-beneficial foods according to many scientific researches. The edible seaweeds have a great potential to prevent and treat diseases threatening our humanity currently such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, etc. Due to the high production costs, however, edible seaweeds are not defined as general main food in Korea as well as the rest of the world.

If our patent-pending cultivation device, SeaPlanta, allows to grow seaweeds at any ocean without requiring human labor, the production cost of the edible seaweed will drop dramatically. Consequently, the public can access the edible seaweed as one of the main general food. Also, the edible seaweeds will be commercialized as a key ingredient for various processed food such as cereal, cookies, snack, nutraceuticals, etc. Since seaweeds are very health-beneficial, the cultivation device will not only provide foods for the continuously growing population but also contribute to the public health significantly.

Our vision is not just a mass production of the edible seaweeds. Our vision also includes providing a solution to another serious challenge in our world, i.e. depletion of fishes in ocean. Seaweeds are a key part of the marine ecosystem, serving as a primary source of food for fishes. Therefore, the large scale farming of the edible seaweeds in the ocean will create affluent fishing grounds formed naturally surrounding the cultivation device. Therefore, this device will solve the problem of fish depletion in our place.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Edible seaweeds are very delicate food. Also, the edible seaweeds are welcomed by any society in this world. Therefore, the edible seaweeds will replace a significant amount of current general main foods’ sources. The replacement of general foods will not only solve the problem of food shortage in the world  but also significantly contribute to the worldwide health through the health-beneficial nature of the edible seaweeds.

Also, the edible seaweeds are an essential part of the marine ecosystem, serving as a primary source of food for fishes. Therefore, the large scale farming of the edible seaweeds in the ocean will make affluent fishing grounds formed naturally around the cultivation device, which means that this device will provide vast amount of fish to our humanity. Currently, fishes are rapidly depleted in the ocean all over the world. Our vision will not only solve the problem of fish depletion but also provide significant number of fishes to humanity.

Finally, our vision will notably contribute to solving global warming. What is amazing about seaweeds is that their photosynthesis is 10 times more efficient and grows 50 times faster than plants that grow on land such as trees. These characteristics allow the edible seaweeds to breathe in carbon dioxide much faster, which is exactly what we need to combat global warming. Clearly, the solution for the global warming is afforestation of the deserted ocean with seaweeds to reduce CO2 emission, restore the ecosystem, and protect our planet.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website


Join the conversation:

Photo of 창훈 추

It is good idea!

Photo of Seong T. Hong

Dear Mr. Choo,

I appreciate your support!

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