Teachers Sample Lake Champlain Basin Shrimp

Teachers examine the shrimp during a tour of the aquaculture operation at Earthkeep Farmcommon in Charlotte, VT.

There wasn’t any shrimp on the menu, but several Vermont and New York teachers and two UVM summer assistants did recently learn about shrimp grown right here in the Basin. They joined the Champlain Basin Education Initiative (CBEI) at the Earthkeep Farmcommon in Charlotte this month to learn about aquaculture systems, including the shrimp aquaculture operation on-site.

Why aquaculture? Lake Champlain Sea Grant Specialist Theo Willis discussed the aquaculture’s role in U.S. fish markets and noted that the Lake Champlain Basin is home to aquaculture operations, with two more are in the planning phase. Aquaculturists grow trout, tilapia, shrimp, salmon and algae. At least two sell their products in local grocery stores or at the farmgate.

Teachers then met with John Brawley from Sweet Sound Aquaculture, who initiated a shrimp aquaculture station in Vermont after spending many years cultivating oysters in Massachusetts. John toured participants through his shrimp operation, talked about the challenges of raising shrimp in Vermont, with cold winters, an electrical outage, and other issues that might impact other start-up operations. His shrimp are available at the Burlington Farmer’s Market or on-site at Earthkeep Farmcommons a couple days a week.

Will Raap, who founded Gardener’s Supply and the nonprofit Intervale Center, purchased the Earthkeep property a few years ago with sustainable agriculture businesses in his long-term vision for the site. The property formerly housed Nordic Farms, a long-time dairy operation on site.  

The LCBP and our teaching partners at the Champlain Basin Education Initiative thank the participating teachers who attended from St. Albans, Plattsburgh, Winooski, Middlebury, Jericho, and Essex. Bravo for making it through the past two years! We’re thrilled that you are still seeking new ways to teach about watersheds.

For more information about the Champlain Basin Education Initiative contact Colleen Hickey at Chickey@lcbp.org.   

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