All organics are non-GMO, but not all non-GMOs are organic. What on earth does that mean? In this age of information, we are constantly bombarded by news and articles that seem to contradict themselves more often than not. Searching for even the simplest answer to a question often leads to ten opinion pieces that don’t seem particularly helpful. This is especially true for things that have been controversial for a while, but don’t get explained very often. GMO, non-GMO, and organic are three sucKelp is a miraculous addition to the diet for every domestic species we’ve tried it on. Cows love it, ducks love it, even worms and bees love it! It’s not just our livestock and animal helpers that love it, either – Kelp is a fantastic soil amendment that can have amazing results for our crops and houseplants as well. No matter where you look or what you’re doing, it seems like there’s always room for at least a little kelp.h terms. They often are mixed in together, but without much context or reference. We’d like you to feel like you’re able to make the best decisions for your family, garden, and world, so we made this deep-dive into what GMO, non-GMO, and organic actually mean.
What is Kelp?
Kelp is actually a complex form of algae that grows up from the bottom of the sea floor, resembling a plant. Despite looking like a plant and being classified as a plant for a long time, it’s different enough to be considered a “multicellular protist.” That’s just a fancy way of saying the cells within the kelp are different from each other to do different jobs, but at the cellular and genetic level they look and act like algae instead of plants. Like plants, it usually has a cell wall made of cellulose, but unlike most plants, most varieties of kelp do not contain lignin. This makes seaweed much easier to digest for omnivores like pigs and chickens. Overall, kelp is generally brown, green, or red, a little slimy when wet, and very good at capturing carbon that’s dissolved into water and turning it into salty, delicious, multispecies snacking stuff. It’s so good at it that it sequesters nearly 200 metric tons of carbon per year by itself – which is roughly equivalent to the total yearly output of New York state!
Kelp is also a very important part of oceanic ecosystems for reasons other than carbon sequestration. It grows in dense forests that offer both food and shelter to a vast variety of ocean life in many different life stages. Seawater, as you can imagine of a giant body of water that’s constantly being fed minerals from rocks and soils, is chock-full of a lot of wonderful nutrients. However, as you can also imagine from a seemingly endless body of water, those nutrients aren’t super concentrated and there are plenty of harmful ones in there as well. Kelp in reasonably healthy ocean water filters that water and captures light, packing all that free-floating nutrition densely into its blades without harmful amounts of those other compounds.
Why is Kelp Great for Animals?
Remember how I said kelp is great at packing down all the healthiest parts of seawater into a delicious snack? Well, that. Because it’s a delicious salty-savory flavor and relatively easy to digest, even many carnivorous animals seem to enjoy noshing on this ocean treat. It’s loaded with healthy doses of minerals, such as manganese, iron, calcium, and magnesium, making it a great ingredient in mineral mixes and feeds alike. It’s also an incredible iodine supplement with a whopping 590 parts per million iodine.
Even better, because these minerals are generally found in proteins and other organic molecules, they tend to be much more available and easy to absorb than minerals that come from rocks, which makes them much more efficient in the body. Our favorite for getting all that kelpy goodness into our furred and feathered friends is Thorvin Kelp for Animals, which comes from sustainably harvested Icelandic kelp fed by rich ocean currents. If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, there’s also Nature’s Kelp, which is a little less nutrient dense pound for pound and a finer grind of kelp, but the amount of kelp you get for the price makes up for those small differences. If your looking for a mineral mix that uses kelp to it’s full potential, we also have you covered with our Kelp-Based Healthy Minerals, both for sheep and for cattle, goats, and horses.
What makes Kelp Great for Plants?
Just like animals, plants also need a lot of different trace minerals to stay vibrant and healthy. In some cases, they even serve similar functions within the plant. For instance, zinc is vital to immune healthy immune system and magnesium is key to a healthy metabolism whether you have roots, hooves, claws, or paws. As a result, all those minerals in kelp can do a fine job of making your garden look more vibrant than ever.
As a bonus, putting kelp into the soil can help in two more ways: Better soil biome activity, and carbon sequestration. Putting more organic matter, especially organic matter as rich as kelp, into the soil helps all kinds of beneficial organisms. The fungi symbiotic with plant roots have more raw materials to grow so that they can feed even more nutrients to their plant friends. The microbes in the soil that support both the fungi and plants are able to absorb more nutrients and, as a result, perform more efficiently. The nematodes and earthworms that eat up pests and keep the soil nicely aerated are able to stay healthier and stronger, making them more resilient to their own predators. Meanwhile, all that extra carbon put into the soil stays in the soil, locking it out of the atmosphere and creating a cleaner world.
Our favorite kelp for plants is Thorvin Nature’s Kelp, which is perfect not only for giving your plants a healthy treat, but also for boosting the nutrition in your favorite garden fruits and veggies. Of course, you can use Thorvin Kelp for Animals for your plants as well, if you’d like a richer trace mineral content. The best part of growing crops with kelp is that all that extra nutrition ends up in the parts you eat, too, making your organic meals even more delicious and nutritious.
From shinier coats to sweeter tomatoes, it seems like there’s nothing kelp can’t do. No matter how you’re using kelp in your home, garden, or beyond, the results speak for themselves. Kelp is one of our absolute favorite ingredients, and we hope after this little article you’ve grown to love it as much as we do.