You’d be forgiven for overlooking algae — the green film commonly seen floating on the surface of stagnant ponds — as a tasty and nutritious source of food.
Yet algaculture, the growing and cultivating of algae for commercial use, isn’t a new thing. The tiny microorganisms are already used in natural food colorings, and Asian societies in particular have been using algae as a food supplement for generations.
Recently however, efforts have been stepped up to harvest this tiny green organism on an industrial scale, and by as early as 2025, algae could present a viable alternative food source for the world’s rapidly expanding population, helping to combat the catastrophic effects that commercial food production has on our fragile planet.
Feeding a Growing World Population
Humanity is on the brink of a food production crisis.
821 million people around the world currently live in a state of starvation, and as many as one in three suffer from some form of malnutrition. As the planet’s population grows, those numbers could easily double.
But it gets worse: If conventional agriculture is scaled up to solve the problem, our planet will be destroyed in the process.
Our Toxic Relationship With Food
There’s no doubt that modern food production is efficient, but those efficiencies come at a price:
Modern agriculture relies heavily on genetic modification and massive quantities of pesticides to produce the huge yields of soy, corn and wheat that we consume every year.
Corporate farming destroys wildlife habitats, erodes topsoil and washes millions of gallons of chemical-laced water into our rivers and oceans.
Meat production is worse still, tainting our food supply with hormones, antibiotics and pathogens, whilst dumping vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Declining Health, Expanding Waistlines
Modern food production isn’t just killing our planet, it’s slowly killing us too:
Western nations in particular are seeing cases of cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s skyrocket, and despite our ever increasing waistlines, our diets are almost certainly lacking in vital nutrients, in part due to our love of processed foods, but also because our crops lack the mineral rich soils they require to thrive.
It’s clear then, that when it comes to healing our bodies and our planet, we’re rapidly running out of options.
But that could all be about to change…
The Green Light at The End of The Tunnel
In Columbus, New Mexico, a food revolution is taking shape. On a 900 acre desert farm, a vast green sea of algae stretches far into the distance. This massive crop of microorganisms is being cultivated by IWI, a health and wellness company spearheading the drive for algae to be turned into a viable food source.
“The beauty of our harvesting system is that we’re able to recycle 95–97% of our water so it’s crystal clear, and just keep using it over and over again.” — Rebecca White VP of operations, IWI
The Perfect Crop
Not only does algae require very little fresh water to thrive, it can also be harvested two to three times per week. That’s a massive improvement over conventional crops like corn and soy, and the cultivating process itself is far more streamlined and efficient, giving algae a tiny carbon footprint.
Algae’s versatility and ease of cultivation also makes it the perfect crop to grow indoors in hydroponic warehouses or even in the middle of cities, further improving efficiency and reducing transportation costs.
Eat the Green Slime
Forget any ideas you might be harboring about green pond slime. You’re unlikely to be eating algae by the bowlful any time soon.
Once algae is harvested, it’s dried and turned into a flavorless flour-like powder, ready to be added to conventional foods to improve their nutrient profile and lower our reliance on bulk grain production.
The Health Benefits of Algae
Algae comes in hundreds of different strains. Spirulina, one of the oldest life forms on earth, is one of the most nutritionally dense and mineral rich foods on the planet.
Crucially, the proteins present in Spirulina have all eight of the essential amino acids required as building blocks by the human body, and the tiny organism is also rich in Omega fatty acids, gamma-linoleic acid, iron, B vitamins and more.
And the icing on the cake?
Algae is very resistant to pollution and heavy-metal contamination, helps to pull toxins from the body and is also very easily assimilated, as Catharine Arnston CEO and Founder of ENERGYbits, explains:
“During World War II, when people ran out of blood for transfusions, they used to give them liquid chlorophyll. They would heal just as fast because the chlorophyll is almost identical (in chemical composition) to your blood”
Catharine founded ENERGYbits, a company specializing in algae food supplements, after her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and was advised by her oncologist that an alkaline diet would help her to recover.
When Catharine learned that algae was the most alkaline, plant-based, nutrient-dense food in the world, she knew she was on to something.
Adding Algae to Your Diet
We’re not yet at the point where algae is commercially viable on a level where it can be added to basic foods. But you can still get ahead of the curve and enjoy some of the massive benefits of this superfood by including algae supplements into your diet.
ENERGYbits supplies two forms of algae, Spirulina and Chlorella pressed into pill form. The tablets can be swallowed on their own, or added into plant-based smoothies and shakes for a powerful nutritional kick.
A Food Revolution
As the world’s population grows, we’re going to find it increasingly difficult to produce the quantities of food we require without ruining our environment in the process.
Microorganisms like algae represent an exciting breakthrough: They’re sustainable, nutritious and very easy to produce, and could help to avert the looming food crisis that our planet faces.
If you want to do your bit in bringing mainstream attention to this versatile superfood, why not start by supplementing with Spirulina and Chlorella yourself? You’ll not only be supporting the production of a potentially game-changing food, you’ll be giving your own health a boost in the process!
Agnieszka K. Wielgosz
ʙɪᴢ ᴍᴇɴᴛᴏʀ — ɪᴍᴘᴀᴄᴛ ᴀᴄᴛɪᴠᴀᴛᴏʀ — ᴀʀᴛɪѕᴛ ↡ ᴠɪѕᴜᴀʟ ʙʀᴀɴᴅ ѕᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢɪᴇѕ ᶠᵒʳ ᴡᴇʟʟɴᴇѕѕ ᴘʀᴏfᴇѕѕɪᴏɴᴀʟѕ 丨ʀᴇɢᴇɴᴇʀᴀᴛɪᴠᴇ ʙʀᴀɴᴅѕ 丨ѕᴏᴜʟfᴜʟ ᴇɴᴛʀᴇᴘʀᴇɴᴇᴜʀѕ ↠
Agnes serves as a vocal sustainability/ regenerative wellness advocate. She is the woman behind CEI Collective, serving the creative needs of wellness professionals, regenerative brands & soulful entrepreneurs to grow influence and increase their impact.
Through documentaries, visual storytelling and media content creation she searches for those big ideas, and the individuals behind them, that create a lasting change — ideas that address a gap or an opportunity that changes the way things are done, the way society views regenerative wellbeing of people and the planet.
You might be curious what the CEI acronym stands for; it stands for CONNECT EDUCATE INSPIRE. These are her three driving pillars to achieve societal planetary wellbeing. Agnes is passionate about creating a ripple effect and is excited to bring her skills and enthusiasm to your world.
Connect with her on IG: @ceicollective FB: @ceicollective