Spraying liquid seaweed extract on your vegetable garden may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but for West Coast Marine Bio-Processing it's a growing business.
The company is based in Port Hardy and makes KELPGROW from Macrocystis integrifolia, a species of giant kelp that grows in the cold, pristine waters off the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Plants treated with KELPGROW grow faster, are productive longer, produce better quality fruit, and are more resistant to disease and harsh weather.
“Our end users are growers of all kinds: wineries, orchards, horticulturalists, flower growers, golf courses, and home and garden,” says owner Stefano Urbani.
While many manufacturers of similar products use chemicals and high temperatures to treat the seaweed, West Coast Marine Bio-Processing uses a low-heat mechanical production method. The product is also certified organic. “It is important to maintain the natural ingredients,” says Urbani.
The low-impact process ensures that all of the active ingredients in the raw material will be retained. Ecotrust Canada Capital has provided WCMBP with a loan to expand operations and buy more manufacturing equipment.
West Coast Marine Bio-Processing works in co-operation with the Kwakiutl First Nation and employs community residents to harvest the kelp from the Nation's traditional territory.