Seaweed. The world’s only village exclusively dedicated to collecting marine algae is in Chubut, a province in Argentina’s Patagonia known for southern right whale spotting, sheep breeding, and omnipresent winds.
The tiny town of Bahía Bustamante, situated more than 100 miles from the nearest city, was founded in 1953 by Don Lorenzo Soriano. The Spanish businessman came to Patagonia in 1953 on a quest for agar, a gelatinous compound used in the production of hair gel (it’s also used as a food thickener). Soriano picked the area that is now Bustamante for its vast quantities of seaweed. Though both seaweed collection and village population have declined over the years, the village is making a slow yet steady comeback. It’s thanks in large part to the efforts of Soriano’s grandson Matías, who started rebuilding the almost-abandoned village in 2001, which now operates as a seaweed farm and luxury hotel.
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Ph: Florian Von der Fech