Meet Ulrik “Maki” Lyberth, a teacher turned entrepreneur from Sisimiut.
Lyberth is betting that seaweed can support food security in Greenland—and become a sustainable source of income in the country. He just needs to find investors who share his vision.
Greenland is the world’s largest island, and home to more than 250 species of seaweed “superfoods.”
1. The sea's green bounty
Harvesting a healthy, sustainable food source in the Arctic
Five years ago, Lyberth—a primary teacher in Sisimiut, Greenland for more than 20 years—reinvented himself as an entrepreneur by launching a seaweed production business called Maki Seaweed Greenland.
Thought of as a “superfood” for its nutritional density, seaweed has long been a traditional food in Greenland. It is also recognized as a sustainable food source. Growing it requires little energy, and seaweed farms can employ local people in small settlements.
2. Helping Greenland meet the SDGs
At first, Lyberth was just thinking it made sense to harvest something that was so plentiful in Greenland. But he quickly realized that seaweed is also a really sustainable food source. He discovered he needed no high-tech equipment to produce it.
Lyberth says he now appreciates that seaweed production aligns with several of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. “It is the perfect food to produce—much easier than fish or seal meat,” he says.
Seaweed farming is much more sustainable than some of the alternatives, like mass tourism or mining.
- Ulrik “Maki” Lyberth Founder, Maki Seaweed Greenland
3. A change of tack and a search for investors
Despite all the upsides, Maki Seaweed Greenland folded recently—but Lyberth plans to try again.
Lyberth’s company began production two years after he first thought of the idea. He turned a profit after the first year, but folded recently.
Lyberth stopped running his company because the bureaucracy and administration were too much. “For every hour that I spent handling seaweed, I was spending 10 on paperwork,” he says.
My vision is to build seaweed drying areas in every settlement in Greenland.
But he plans to start again this year, likely further south in Greenland—with an even bigger operation. “I will have more people there to help with the paperwork while I focus on production,” he says.
Lyberth is searching for investors with knowledge of seaweed. This time, he plans to develop seaweed farms instead of harvesting wild seaweed.