In the three-part PBS docuseries, produced by multi-award-winning producer David E Kelley (“Love & Death,” “Lincoln Lawyer,” “Big Little Lies”) in collaboration with four-time James Beard Award and Emmy Award winner chef Andrew Zimmern, Hope in the Water - which is being screened in 2024 - travels around the world to discover innovative blue food technologies that aim to feed the growing population.
“We’re particularly excited about Hope in the Water’s potential to reach broad audiences thanks to the powerful voices at the forefront of the series, who demonstrate the possibilities of a more sustainable future,” said Bill Gardner, vice-president, multiplatform programming and head of development at PBS, in a press release. “With a commitment to extensive public engagement around the series, we aim to not only bring compelling and authentic documentary content to audiences but also to connect and strengthen voices, people and communities with real world ways to make a difference.”
The show will highlight environmental enthusiasts Shailene Woodley, Martha Stewart, José Andrés and Baratunde Thurston, who reveal hidden underworlds threatened by climate change, irresponsible fishing and exploitation, and habitat destruction.
“Through Hope in the Water we are on a mission to reimagine a planet where both ecological balance and food abundance are possible. Our series is a fresh take on how we can rewrite menus worldwide that will create meaningful and lasting impact for generations to come,” said David E Kelley.
Voices of Hope in the Water
An inspiring actor and activist, Woodley grew up surfing the California coast and has witnessed firsthand how “zombie” purple urchins have taken over and destroyed kelp forests. She goes underwater with urchin divers who collect the barren urchins and deliver them to a farm where their roe is grown and harvested – turning an ecological imbalance into a sellable commodity and helping to save the kelp at the same time.
Woodley stated: “It’s my hope that through this important work, we can collectively practice better alternatives that will nourish communities across the planet and sustain our waters,”
Entrepreneur, tastemaker, author and conservationist, Stewart has a deep connection to the Gulf of Maine – the fastest warming body of water on the planet. She sails into Penobscot Bay where a young fisherman abandoned his plans of lobstering for a more sustainable alternative: scallop farming. As Stewart cooks the scallops, she notes that Maine's famous lobsters are now migrating further north in search of colder water. Aquafarms like this are the future.
“The interconnectivity between Earth and all its inhabitants has always inspired my passions,” noted Stewart. “We’ve been given the gift of this incredible planet – the only one we call home – and when we pair it with human ingenuity to think outside the box, we can become more eco-friendly and expect better for our future.”
Chef and humanitarian, Andrés recounts the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. He and volunteers with World Central Kitchen prepared more than four million meals to feed survivors. Importantly, World Central Kitchen also provided grants to fishers to repair boats, buy new engines, and rebuild their fishery. Marine conservationist Raimundo Espinoza assisted that effort and is now helping these fishers pivot to a new and sustainable species: 60-lb., diamondback squid.
Baratunde Thurston tells a better story of us, weaving together threads of technology, democracy, and climate through his work as an Emmy-nominated host, producer, writer, and public speaker. He is a founding partner of the new media startup Puck and creator and host of the “How To Citizen” podcast. He is also the host and executive producer of the PBS television series “America Outdoors.” Thurston is committed to telling stories that help us live together better, with each other and with the planet.
“I’ve assessed all the planets and strongly prefer life on Earth. It’s essential that we find ways to take care of this planet which is another way of saying take care of ourselves,” stated Thurston.
Hope in the Water campaign
Hope in the Water is part of a larger multi-year impact campaign led by the non-profit, Fed by Blue. The mission of Fed by Blue is to provide and inspire visionaries, thought leaders, ocean lovers, activists, early-adopters, foodies, and consumers with the knowledge and materials to help protect and participate in a responsible blue food system.
“Fed by Blue is working to amplify efforts that are bringing new pathways, new dialogue and new perceptions about the importance of foods that come from water. Helping to develop a docuseries on this topic has been an anchor for our greater work,” said co-founder Jennifer Bushman.
Hope in the Water is also a part of a multiyear, multiplatform initiative from PBS that explores every aspect of how climate change impacts communities, countries and the entire planet. The comprehensive focus represents PBS’s commitment to the topic, providing a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding climate change and exploring its intersections with conservation, biodiversity and the ecosystem. PBS and its member stations aim to create a rich destination of storytelling that details the challenges of a changing climate while highlighting examples of hope and positive impact.
Funding for Hope in the Water was provided, in part, by Anne Ray Foundation.