Robert Henrikson at his spirulina farm in Olympia, Washington, USA.

Robert Henrikson at his spirulina farm in Olympia, Washington, USA.

C interviewed Robert Henrikson recently about growing spirulina at home, its health benefits, his work in promoting microfarms, as well as his vision for what spirulina can do in the future.

Among the highlights of this fascinating interview…

I’ve been eating about 5 grams (10 tablets or one tablespoon of powder) of spirulina every day for over 30 years. I read the scientific research, and I know what it means. In the past two years I’ve been eating fresh frozen spirulina from my own spirulina microfarm, sharing it with family, friends and associates.

35 years of customer experience and published scientific research shows spirulina offers six health benefits in a 3-gram serving per day:

  • Promotes and stimulates immune system protection
  • Restores and enhances beneficial intestinal flora
  • Enhances body’s own natural healing responses
  • Strengthens neuro-protection and promotes anti-aging
  • Detoxifies pollutants, heavy metals, radioactive compounds
  • Improves eye and cellular health with antioxidants

Algae microfarms are scalable small commercial farms often inside greenhouses in temperate climates. They may be the future of greenhouses, hydroponics and urban farming. In a small area, fast-growing microalgae, like spirulina, can produce higher income for growers than conventional foods, vegetables and herbs.

My Smart Microfarm spirulina algae testbed is located in Olympia, Washington. As one of the northern-most spirulina farms in operation today, this facility demonstrates productivity in cooler climates where most people live. Ponds have insulating foam panels below and a retractable cover above, all within a larger greenhouse. This greenhouse pond design raises productivity and extends the growing season beyond the summer months.

My focus has evolved from large-scale production to small-scale microfarms. The next step is to promote a viral spread of small algae systems across the planet. Successful small-scale spirulina cultivation is now practical and can support local food production.

We provide consulting services to start up spirulina production. Building a network model of algae microfarms with web-based sensors and controls so remote experts can guide local growers, without the cost of on-site algae scientists. This breakthrough, combined with scalable, modular growing systems, means algae microfarms can be installed anywhere in the world. Now we have another way we can transform our food culture, sustainably and profitably.