Charleston native Sam Norton, founder of Heron Farms, the world’s first indoor vertical saltwater farm, was named on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 2022 list earlier this month.

This year’s list highlighted up-and-coming names from the food and agriculture sector, including restaurant owners, farmers, packaged-food manufacturers and more.

Norton, 28, first posed the question that led to Heron Farms‘ creation during his graduate school stint at the College of Charleston, where he was studying for a master of science in the environmental studies program — what if the two greatest problems today, sea level rise and greenhouse gas emissions, could be leveraged into sustainable agriculture?

Heron Farms now produces Sea Beans, a superfood rich in all sorts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you can find in local supermarkets and on high-end menus in Charleston. And now for the first time in history, they’re being produced without natural sunlight or freshwater.

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