Sustainable Workforce Development Network

Building Sustainable Career Pathways

Farming the Ocean
Perry Raso
Perry Raso started digging for clams when he was just 12 years old. “I knew that the harder I worked, the more money I’d make,” he says. “I liked being able to determine how much I made by how hard I worked.” When it was time for him to go to college, he knew he wanted to learn how to provide seafood for people. So he studied aquaculture and fisheries technologies at the University of Rhode Island; after that, he was ready to start his own business. He started small, with a oneacre sustainable farm where he grew oysters and sold them at the local farmers’ market. His business grew by leaps and bounds: today, in addition to running an oyster bar, Perry devotes a lot of his energy to teaching young people about sustainable aquaculture. “Many people see it as a niche industry,” he says. “But I want to change that. It should be viewed in the same way as sustainable agriculture. Then we can really make an impact.”