Image of dried wild sugarkelp seaweed and greasy bluefaced leicester fleece

Precious raw materials: seaweed and wool

By Ruth Rands

Image of dried wild sugarkelp seaweed and greasy bluefaced leicester fleece

So what - I hear you ask - is the connection between wool and seaweed? Well, as well as founding Herd I also run a wild, organic seaweed company called Atlantic Kitchen, which I founded in 2012.

The connection to me is completely natural - both are abundant, local, native raw materials that grow in perfect quality, seasonally, without inputs or cultivation. Both are brilliant sequesters of carbon, meaning their growth locks atmospheric carbon into the soil, or ocean bed or into the lustrous locks that become knitwear.

Both are tragically undervalued in modern day society in place of inferior, imported, environmentally inferior alternatives; seaweed is the most nutritious plant on the planet, providing brain-enhancing iodine in quantities not found in other foods, more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk and more potassium than bananas. Plants from far-flung places may be dense in one micro-nutrient, but are they absorbable? Do we need that much of that nutrient, living in this climate? It is my belief that it is the plants that grow nearest us and are of that season, that are the ones that our body needs at that particular time, to thrive.

 Bluefaced Leicester Wool is fine, soft with incredible drape and handfeel and is perfectly suited to the climate of the UK. It is deliciously soft to wear next to your skin and grows in this climate - so is not designed to be worn in sub-zero temperatures from the Andes or the mountainous heights of Mongolia.

 Crucially, because in both of these organisations we are directly connected with the harvesters, farmers, packers, scourers and spinners, both Atlantic Kitchen and Herd are able to guarantee that these raw materials are managed regeneratively, that they are processed in a non-toxic way so they are fully circular and beneficial to the soil and that these raw materials are bio-available in nature for future generations.


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