Spirulina isn’t the sort of food you want to spread on toast or eat in a gourmet restaurant, but its bland taste doesn’t make it any less amazing.
Considered a “superfood,” this algae grows in salt water and is dried and stored in powder form. Just one and a half pounds of this stuff can provide enough nourishment to keep a full grown man alive for an entire month!
Spirulina algae offers humanity’s best chance of growing a sustainable food supply in outer space. Since it can feed off our waste products like carbon dioxide and treated sewage, it’s an extremely important link in the sort of isolated nutrient cycle found on board a space station.
I first discovered spirulina from the book “sailing the farm.” It’s a book that delves into tremendous detail about every type of plant that can be grown on a boat or harvested out at sea. The guy who wrote, Ken Neumeyer, spent decades living at sea and he’s cataloged every technique he used to feed himself using nothing but oceanwater and sunshine.
Spirulina is tropical, so many Americans and Canadians will need to grow it in a heated room or greenhouse. It’s often grown in 5 gallon jugs of water. It grows so quickly that a single test tube starter will divide and conquer an entire 5 gallon water jug in just 2 weeks.
The finished product is actually very valuable. Most spirulina is sold by the health and fitness industry. Its 60% protein content makes it perfect for the market of men wishing to look like Minotaurs.
It’s an extreme niche crop, but if you can find a market for it you can do quite well as a spirulina farmer. Spirulina sells for about $20 a pound, making it about twice as pricey as coffee for a tiny fraction of the effort!
Grow your Own Spirulina
According to “Sailing the Farm,” you just need a few materials to get your own spirulina farm going.
- Live spirulina starter culture
- Clean ocean water or salt water
- Baking soda for correct pH level
- Clear plastic 5 gallon water jugs
- Fertile growing medium to supply nutrients
The instructions in my copy of “Sail the Farm” don’t go into the specific details for growing your own spirulina, but I’ll update this page when I’ve found a good step-by-step process. We’re planning to grow our own supply of Spirulina this summer.