Who we are: pioneers in local, traceable wild seafood
Over the past five years Dock to Dish has worked on the coastal frontiers of the local food movement, creating new alternatives to old industrialized seafood supply chains while strengthening small-scale fishing communities in North and Central America.
Now operating in ports spanning from New York and California to Canada and Costa Rica, our place-based sourcing programs have blazed new trails toward the restoration of transparency and sustainability in the wild seafood marketplace.
The Problem: seafood fraud is happening everywhere
- more than 90% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported
- less than 1% of all seafood can be accurately tracked back to a fisherman
- almost 50% of the seafood samples tested in recent studies were fraudulent
Ongoing upheavals in the U.S. political system have made it impossible to rely on the federal government to protect our environment and our wild seafood supply, we must act now to create practical local solutions from the ground up.
Our Solution: the future of sustainability is traceability
We are on a mission to fix the broken seafood supply system with our unique cooperative programs and the latest advances in technology. Today we invite you to join us on our journey to launch Dock to Dish 2.0 which will make precision traceability a reality, and catapult local seafood sourcing into the digital age.
Backing this project will lead to visible and permanent improvements in the market and help to ensure that honest, local, healthy wild seafood remains abundant and accessible—not only for you—but also for your grandchildren's great grandchildren.
Innovators: problem solving for future generations
Dock to Dish is a visionary sourcing model that has arrived decades ahead of its time. Twenty years from now it will be standard practice for everyone to have a membership with their nearest local fishery in order to access the freshest premium wild seafood.
In 2016, Vanity Fair magazine ranked Dock to Dish one of the 25 most daring and intrepid organizations in America for driving the local food movement forward and "redefining the economy of the seas," as Grist named Dock to Dish among the top 50 innovators leading the country toward a more sustainable future.
Year after year—in harbor town after harbor town—we have continued making strong and steady progress in achieving our mission. The purpose of this campaign is to raise funds that will enable us to take our efforts to the next level.
Your pledge today will make traceability a reality
In order to initiate the launch of Dock to Dish 2.0 and evolve our programs into the digital age, we must raise at least $75,000 which we will use to:
1— build a technologically advanced seafood tracking system
2 — overhaul our website to provide a traceability dashboard
3 — make upgrades to our refrigerated cargo carrying capacity
Take a deeper look at the Dock to Dish difference
For a more comprehensive explanation of the Dock to Dish difference and to gain a deeper understanding about why this project is so important, we encourage you to please see below and explore:
- Our Story
- Our Goals
- Our Expansion
- Our Awards
- Our Supporters
- Our Strategy
- Your Involvement
- Our Thanks
Dock to Dish is a small mission-driven organization headquartered in Montauk, New York, that was founded in 2012 by community activists, commercial fishermen and sustainable seafood advocates. While working closely with the Concerned Citizens of Montauk Association, we established Dock to Dish because we were determined to fix our broken local food system.
The entire undertaking was bootstrapped and funded internally from our personal savings. This allowed Dock to Dish to remain independent and free of external pressures to produce profits, or to ever be swayed politically. Instead we were able to focus exclusively on our mission and the vigorous pursuit of what we believed would be of maximum benefit to both the people in our community, and this fragile planet on which we all live.
From the very start, our primary purpose was to restore source transparency into the seafood marketplace and bring back our long-lost Know Your Fisherman culture—with the goal being that one day everyone would again be able to know exactly who caught what. We began by creating basic transparency programs that were designed to reconnect our small-scale fishery directly to our local community in sustainable seafood sourcing cooperatives.
We soon discovered that by using a membership-based organizational blueprint that was modeled after the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) concept, Dock to Dish programs had begun to innovate an entirely new economic model.
While remaining absolutely disconnected from the industrialized global seafood supply chain, we then began to build purchasing cooperatives made up of high-volume restaurants; and entered them into seasonal futures contracts that could only be fulfilled by our alliance of local artisanal fishermen. In doing so, we had successfully created the very first Restaurant Supported Fishery (RSF) program in the world.
The original RSF program that we deployed from Montauk was lead on the East End by chef Joseph Realmuto and his partner Mark Smith, co-owners of The Honest Man Restaurant Group of East Hampton, which operates a network of the most forward-thinking venues on Long Island. Veteran restaurant operators, Leyla Marchetto and Franklin Ferguson, then immediately came on board at Navy Beach, their celebrated waterfront venue in Montauk.
Dock to Dish was concurrently embraced in New York City and Westchester County by chef and author Dan Barber along with his brother David, co-founders of the iconic Blue Hill Restaurants, and board members of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture — a unique nonprofit that celebrates, teaches and advances community and ecologically based food production.
This New York Times feature article about Dock to Dish, "Getting the Catch Directly to the Restaurant," accurately explains the design and impacts of the RSF innovation during the first phase.
Driven by the steadfast support and enthusiasm of those early founding members, the first RSF program has since expanded rapidly. In our most recent season it consisted of over two dozen premier restaurant venues in Montauk, Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton and New York City; as well as numerous institutional level members, including Eataly NYC and the Google Corporation at their sprawling Chelsea campus.
Today the mission, methods and philosophy of Dock to Dish are shifting the seafood paradigm; and pioneering a revival of place-based culinary practices with all of our participating members, and many of their peers.
Our members are now able to learn about—and begin to forge personal relationships with—the fishermen catching and landing their hauls; and Dock to Dish is restoring transparency and accountability into an otherwise opaque and globalized seafood marketplace.
Read the story of Captain John's daring rescue event more than 40 miles out at sea, told here by an original founding member of Dock to Dish: "A Montauk Fisherman's Rescue Reminds Us to Support and Celebrate Our Local Fishers"
- To provide our members with reliable access to fresh, premium, locally harvested and traceable seafood directly from the dock
- To engage our fishermen and community members in a more transparent seafood supply system with a minimized chain of custody
- To ensure maximum seafood quality and freshness while maintaining the highest levels of safe handling practices
- To strengthen and support the mission and work of our close friends and trusted allies at the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association
- To support and collaborate with local organizations that are dedicated to actively protecting our oceans and environment
- To fundamentally change seafood marketplaces by demonstrating to producers, through consumer demand, the economic and ecological value of traceable, sustainable seafood
- To accept responsibility for the stewardship of our marine ecosystem to ensure that succeeding generations will have an equal or better opportunity to benefit from its resources
DRASTIC CARBON REDUCTIONS ACHIEVED WITH FOOD MILE CAP AT 150
Over the past five years we have conducted ourselves with an increasing sense of urgency as we have witnessed, firsthand, the very real effects of climate change on our warming oceans and local inshore ecosystems.
Over the past fifty years, however, the seafood industry has become interconnected at a global scale, with fish now being the number one most traded food commodity worldwide ($130bn) followed by soybeans and wheat. The average travel distance for seafood consumed in the U.S. is a staggering 5,476 miles, and because seafood is so highly perishable, it is often shipped in airplanes.
Air freight ranks as the number one leading carbon producing means of transport; for every one pound of fish that is shipped across the country by air, more than two pounds of carbon is produced and released into the atmosphere.
Dock to Dish fish never travels by air, nor leaves a 150 miles radius from the port that it was landed in. Our programs were designed to generate the least carbon emissions of any other wild seafood sourcing system in our class, featuring the lowest amount of food miles for transport—and the smallest carbon footprint—of any alternative distribution model serving a major city.
Our strictly supply-driven RSF system also reverses the historical demand-based value chain of the industrialized seafood market; relieves pricing pressure from the most popular species of fish; and restores balance by reverting back to a genuine 'catch of the day' format in the truest sense.
In Dock to Dish programs, commercial fishermen are incentivized to lightly harvest what is most abundant—as opposed to heavily targeting what is most in demand—a phenomenon which encourages them to conserve the natural capital of the local fishery and become invested stewards of our coastal ecosystems.
Now, for the first time in many generations, the identities and brave work of the commercial fishermen supplying our cooperatives are rightfully being honored and celebrated; and the important role that they play in providing wholesome nutrition to our communities is once again being valued very highly.
Sharing the RSF model far and wide
Since its inception on the Atlantic seaboard, subsequent Dock to Dish RSF programs have been established and proliferated on the Pacific Coast under the leadership of sustainable seafood champion, chef Michael Cimarusti, and kaiseki pioneer, chef Niki Nakayama, in Los Angeles; chef Thomas Keller in San Francisco; chef Ned Bell in Vancouver, British Columbia; and at the Cayuga Collection of leading ecolodges and luxury resorts throughout Central America.
We have found that the fundamentals of the Dock to Dish RSF model can be replicated and translated fluently into any language in any country on any continent where there are small-scale fisheries—and a community of chefs and restaurants that can be energized to support them.
Today, the Dock to Dish movement continues expanding to numerous additional regions of the U.S. and abroad, including new RSF programs in Nosara, Costa Rica; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Honolulu, Hawaii and coming soon to Washington, D.C.
Across a very broad spectrum of well-respected fisheries experts, leading environmental conservation organizations, local food movement proponents and especially among the most passionate sustainable seafood advocacy groups — the grassroots Dock to Dish movement is being lauded for rapidly transforming the marketplace for small-scale fishermen and fishing communities.
By directly reconnecting these last remaining independent local fishermen to leading chefs and their communities through our unique cooperative programs, the destructive industrialized model for sourcing wild seafood from around the world can now be abandoned by all participating Dock to Dish members.
Having repeatedly demonstrated the capacity to restore community access to local fisheries resources in a highly organized and transparent system, Dock to Dish RSF programs have collectively begun a hemispheric paradigm shift in the wild seafood marketplace.
From our deep roots in Montauk, this small organization has grown strong branches with outposts now flourishing in harbor towns across North and Central America. As of February 2017, existing Dock to Dish programs are either at or near maximum capacity, with waiting lists for memberships in certain regions that have over 250 restaurants on queue.
Awards and affiliations
Dock to Dish has recently been featured at the New York Times Food for Tomorrow Conference; ranked among the 25 Most Daring Organizations of 2016 by Vanity Fair and Conde Nast magazines; named to Grist’s list of the Foremost 50 Initiatives Fighting for a More Sustainable Future; listed as one of Sonima's top 50 Innovators Shaping the Future of Wellness; identified as one of the Top 7 Leaders of the Future of Food by Bon Appetit magazine; designated as New York State's ambassador to the "United States of Healthy" by editors of Cooking Light magazine; nominated by both the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Carl Safina to be recognized by the White House as a United States Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood; presented at TEDx Montclair; and been designated by Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve as a member of the New York State Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) at the Department of Environmental Conservation.
We also serve on the executive board of the esteemed Greenwave.org where we work to advance 3D ocean farming designed to restore ocean ecosystems, mitigate climate change, and create blue-green jobs for fishermen — while providing healthy, local food for communities.
Although we have never previously received any external monetary or financial support from any outside source, we have been blessed with a vast network of forward-thinking groups and organizations who have supported us in other ways.
Dan and Julie Resnick, founders of The FeedFeed, have been dedicated supporters of Dock to Dish since our earliest days; helping people find and share cooking inspiration with our members. To join in, simply post images of your traceable wild seafood meals (with short descriptions and the name of the fisherman or vessel of origin) and share on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook — just make sure to add the hashtags #feedfeed and #docktodish to your description.
The future of sustainability is traceability
Experiencing the organic evolution of Dock to Dish initiatives over past years has provided our team with deep, unique and valuable knowledge regarding the future of sustainable seafood. We are now collectively and entirely convinced that there cannot be sustainable wild seafood for future generations until advanced and verifiable traceability technologies are brought to bear on the current marketplace.
As such, we have prepared thoroughly for the pending launch of Dock to Dish 2.0 from our homeport of Montauk in the summer of 2017.
Your pledge today will make traceability a reality
After extensive research and through two new unique partnerships, we are now poised to combine two of the most advanced traceability technologies on the planet to work together on sea and land. Upon initiation of this new unified system, Dock to Dish 2.0 will become the most transparent and state-of-the-art community-based seafood operation in the country, if not the world.
We will first incorporate all participating captains and vessels into a customized Fish Trax™ electronic fishery platform which will illuminate information about their daily catch in extraordinary detail. We will concurrently customize a new refrigerated cargo van and upgrade our existing vehicles with end-to-end traceability software and solar powered equipment designed by Pelagic Data Systems™ to track the catch after it leaves the dock and travels over land. All of this information will be accessible to the general public on our new website, where a mobile-friendly dashboard display will enable near-real time, verifiable traceability of the seafood supplied in our New York Restaurant Supported Fishery program.
Although Dock to Dish 1.0 has already impacted the seafood industry in an unprecedented fashion with direct dock sourcing of wild seafood and the revival of a Know Your Fisherman culture, the implementation of advanced traceability technology is absolutely critical to continue on with our mission.
By rolling out Dock to Dish 2.0 in Montauk this season we will lead the New York marketplace in the direction of verifiable traceability for all wild seafood, and build a blueprint to replicate at all Dock to Dish outposts throughout North and Central America, and beyond.
An opaque supply chain is the number one enemy of sustainable seafood. Without transparency, fishers who employ best harvest practices are unable to be differentiated and rewarded, while highly-regulated domestic U.S. seafood is treated the same as foreign fish. Imported seafood is frequently harvested illegally and caught with destructive fishing methods, then transported thousands of miles which generates a carbon footprint that is orders of magnitude greater than that of Dock to Dish fish.
YOUR INVOLVEMENT AND SUPPORT
We need your pledge support now to bring true transparency and verifiable traceability into the sustainable seafood movement.
To fulfill our mission with Dock to Dish 2.0 for this upcoming season and beyond, we must raise a minimum of $75,000 to invest into three critical areas.
1 - We will invest $27,000 in advanced Fish Trax™ traceability technology for our participating fishing vessels, and Pelagic Data Systems™ tracking equipment and software for our delivery vehicles; new computer equipment; and to completely overhaul our website to include a realtime tracking dashboard which will be available to the general public.
2 - We will invest $32,500 to purchase a new Ford Connect Refrigerated Cargo Van and associated delivery equipment. Van will be customized and equipped with Pelagic Data Systems™ tracking device to ensure end-to-end traceability can be seamless from the time seafood leaves the dock until the time it is delivered.
3 - We will retain $5,000 for necessary operating capital to be used for expenses during the transition phase to Dock to Dish 2.0
Kickstarter fees and rewards will be paid from remaining funds.
We thank you for taking an interest in the Dock to Dish mission, and hope you will support our cause by making a contribution to this campaign.
Our eternal thanks to Scott Chaskey of Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York. Our farmer and our friend, a poet and a pioneer — who's life work and wisdom were the seeds of inspiration from which the Dock to Dish movement sprang.
"Across the ocean wild and wide..." we shall remain forever grateful.
*fishermen: In the US context, this an inclusive and gender-neutral term for us, and the one used most commonly among women who fish in our network. It’s meant to refer to those who might also use the terms fish harvesters, fisherwomen, fishermisses, fishers, and intertidal gatherers, as well as those practicing restorative aquaculture on a sustainable scale.
Risks and challenges
Our greatest challenge will remain:
Major players in the industrialized seafood system will push back hard against our efforts to bring true transparency into the marketplace.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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