Author Archive

Nov
29

Spirulina Smart Microfarm

By Robert Henrikson, CEO, Smart Microfarms

Welcome to our Smart Microfarm greenhouse just south of San Francisco. The first spirulina farm in Northern California.

Here we grow spirulina, a blue-green algae, year round, in a controlled environment greenhouse.

All naturally grown. No pesticides, no herbicides, no fungicides, non-GMO. 100% vegetarian.

In a small area, fast-growing microalgae, like the superfood spirulina, can produce higher income than growing conventional food, herbs or vegetables.

Spirulina is harvested several times a week. The fresh harvest collects on a microscreen like a creamy yogurt. It can be frozen or dehydrated.

We package and distribute SpiruSource® fresh harvest, fresh frozen, and low temperature dried crunchies and powder.

These healthy superfoods are sold in select local natural food stores. Also in farmers markets, direct-to-consumer, juice bars and online.

Successful small-scale algae cultivation is now practical. With web-based remote sensors and controls developed by Smart Microfarms, remote experts can guide local operators, without the cost of onsite algae scientists.

This breakthrough, combined with scalable, modular growing systems, means algae microfarms – like this – can be installed anywhere in the world.

Smart algae microfarms are a new opportunity for small scale and urban farming in greenhouses with hydroponic and aquaponic growing systems.

For more, see www.smartmicrofarms.com.
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SPIRULINA SMART MICROFARM
First Northern California Spirulina Farm, Half Moon Bay CA
Produced by Robert Henrikson © 2018 Robert Henrikson
www.smartmicrofarms.com www.spirulinasource.com roberthe@sonic.net

Mar
27

Rainbow Grocery Farm Week

Smart Microfarms presented SpiruSource Fresh Frozen Spirulina products during Farm Week at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco CA. Rainbow Grocery is a well known worker-owned cooperative serving San Francisco and the Bay Area since 1975. (http://www.rainbow.coop/) Along with being a local, independent grocery store, Rainbow is a resource for the community to exchange information about the health and sustainability of the foods we eat. Rainbow is celebrating Cesar Chavez Day by honoring the farm workers and farmers who bring the foods to our tables.

Rainbow Farm Week

Rainbow Demo

Nov
30

3D Bioprint Chocolate-Spirulina

3D bioprinting chocolate-spirulina demo party by SE3D.com in Santa Clara California November 30 featured fresh spirulina from Smart Microfarms Half Moon Bay Farm and presentation by Robert Henrikson. Sponsored by SE3D.com for teachers and educators.

Workshop Overview:

Chocolate printing is gaining momentum since the advent of 3D printing technology. Discover how chocolate’s chemistry can affect printability and how you can now integrate 3D printing technology and concepts into your food  / bioscience classroom. 

Special guest: Robert Henrikson from Smart Microfarm to talk about Spirulina – the Superfood you can’t live without

Discover how you can create a truly guilt-free and healthy chocolate with Spirulina! 3D printed chocolate-spirulina tastes just like chocolate! 

 
SE3D01
Mayasari Lim demonstrating SE3D. Robert Henrikson presenting spirulina.
SE3D02
Spirusource fresh spirulina and chocolate-spirulina snacks. Bioprinting a heart.
SE3D03
A bioprinting food workshop for teachers and educators.

Feb
13

Agriculture: Ancient Ways&Today

Rafael Quezada (Executive Director of The Rootstock Foundation) interviews agriculture experts and explores ancient methods of farming that can be applied to the world’s current industrial agricultural needs. Explores Aquaponics, Spirulina Algae, Cannabis.

This short video documentary about new solutions through aquaponics, algae and cannabis cultivation features an interview at our spirulina microfarm in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco and interview with Robert Henrikson at 2:50 – 3:58 minutes.

Agriculture Video

Apr
18

Food Funded Fair

Robert Henrikson presented “Smart Algae Microfarms”

at Food Funded, May 5, in San Francisco CA at the Presidio.

 

Food Funded
 

FOOD INVESTOR FAIR: The Sixth Annual Bay Area Food Investor Fair

Forum for impact and food investors to meet select food entrepreneurs and hear pre-screened investment opportunities. Prior investments have ranged from $25K to $10M.

2:00pm – 6:00pm
Entrepreneur presentations, feedback
Networking in exhibit hall, award presentations
Reception


Mar
31

Sustainatopia Conference

Robert Henrikson presented “Are Algae Microfarms the Future of Urban Farming?”

at Sustainatopia, May 2-4 in San Francisco CA.

 

Sustainatopia

 

The world of Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS), mission-based business, impact investing, social enterprise, and technology will gather this May at Sustainatopia, the premier green business conference. One of the largest conferences in the U.S. for social, financial and environmental sustainability + impact, Sustainatopia offers over 250 speakers from around the country.

This year’s conference offers six tracks:
• Ecosystem of Impact + SRI Investing
• Sustainable Strategies & Innovation (Fortune 500 Companies)
• Clean Technology & Smart Cities
• Empowering Women Through Investment – Health & Impact Tech
• Millennials 100
• Lifestyles of Health & Sustainability (LOHAS)

Jan
14

AIM International Readers Poll Winner

AIM Readers PollSmart Microfarms is the winner of Algae Industry Magazine 2015 International Readers Poll in the category “Algae Microfarm”.

The Algae Industry Magazine International Readers’ Poll mission is to 1. Recognize and reward innovation and excellence, 2. Convey who and what make a difference, 3. Celebrate innovative people, companies, technology.

AIM Algae Microfarm

 
Smart Microfarms– Richmond, California-based Smart Microfarms may be the future of greenhouse, hydroponic and urban farming. Microfarms offer scalable microalgae growing systems for school, urban, rooftop and vertical farms to grow high value food that is local, sustainable and profitable. Now in a small area, fast-growing microalgae, like spirulina, can produce higher income for growers than conventional vegetables and herbs.

Successful small-scale algae cultivation is now practical. Web-based remote sensors and controls developed by Robert Henrikson, CEO of Smart Microfarms, provide the expertise that guides local operators without the cost of onsite algae scientists. Scalable, modular growing systems allow microfarms to be installed anywhere. In this decade, 120 spirulina microfarmers have blossomed in France, demonstrating a new business model for how small growers innovate and build local and regional markets. For nearly 40 years Robert Henrikson has been an algae entrepreneur, a pioneer in spirulina production and marketing.


Readers PollAlgae Industry Magazine Readers’s Poll Winner in these categories:

Algae Ambassador – Robert Henrikson
Improved Planet Contributions – International Algae Competition
Algae Microfarm – Smart Microfarms
Algae Food, Feed, Nutirents – Smart Microfarms
Algae Cultivation Facility – Earthrise Nutritionals


Nov
01

Help Reset the Algae Industry

November 1, 2015 — by Robert Henrikson
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

AIM Lets Reset

Yes, push that red reset button to get the algae industry back on track, by nominating players who are making a real and positive contribution in the world of algae.

Over this past decade, the Algae Industry has been dominated by big money chasing the mirage of commercial algae biofuels. My March 2011 post “Shakeout in Algae Biofuels” described shakeout scenarios about to unfold.

This great biofuel boom and bust raked in billions of dollars in government, corporate and private investment over the past decade, attracting charlatans and collaborators (some who knew better) who sucked up the public bandwidth about algae, burned investors, and discouraged many from funding algae ventures for food, feed and high-value products.

Failed biofuel companies may try to excuse themselves because the price of oil fell. A decade ago, experts with real algae experience could not identify a pathway to make algae biofuel cost competitive with conventional fuel even at higher fuel prices. Where is the path forward today?

Just a few years ago corporate suits were dismissing non-fuel products from algae as “co-products” for “niche” markets. Now they are gone. Their replacements at algae biofuel ventures have desperately tried to pivot to those niche markets and algae co-products like food, feed, nutraceuticals, high value oils and fine chemicals, to show a real income stream for their sponsors.

During this time, we have also learned about the barriers to the massive scale required for biofuel commercialization. This undermines the claim that bigger is better, and renews appreciation of small is beautiful.

Algae industry conferences use to open with a plenary panel of algae CEO “all-stars,” touting their big successes developing biofuels. One-by-one they have dropped away. The largest algae industry organization in the USA engaged in ongoing efforts lobbying for government grants, subsidies and entitlements to maintain the faltering algae biofuel R&D industry.

If 10% of the funding for algae biofuels had been directed into R&D for animal nutrition studies and cost reduction for algae aquaculture and animal feeds and human food, we would already be well along on this path. Growing algae for feed and food will have a far greater impact on reducing negative effects of climate change than biofuels ever would, and in doing so, we will support all sentient beings on this Earth.

Let’s reset our algae narrative. There is plenty of good news to share. Opportunities abound. Refocus on the real algae industry that offers real products and services from algae. Let’s nominate individuals and organizations that understand how to change the world. “Eat Algae, Don’t Burn It.”

May
14

Are algae the greenhouse crop of the future?

http://www.hortidaily.com/article/17467/Are-algae-the-fresh-and-locally-grown-greenhouse-crop-of-the-future?

Algae have the potential to become a cash crop that can provide commercial greenhouse and controlled environment growers with a stable income stream, year round. According to Robert Henrikson, a pioneer in large scale commercial algae production, Spirulina algae is a crop that commercial growers could consider adding to their greenhouse or vertical farm. “I believe greenhouse growers will be the next to incorporate algae microfarms, seeking to diversify into new products with greater income potential.”
Robert Henrikson
Henrikson’s company Smart Microfarms is currently negotiating production and marketing joint-ventures with commercial greenhouse companies in California to set up spirulina microfarms and deliver spirulina farm-to-table, direct to consumer, and direct to retail. According to Henrikson, Spirulina farming can offer a higher income stream per greenhouse area, good ROI and payback of initial investment within 2-3 years. He explains that Algae can be a great additional crop for vertical farming as well in order to create a better business model.

“Vertical farming is a good initiative, it is sexy, looks exiting and supplies locally grown product direct to the market. Yet, it is a costly way of growing and may not always create the revenues to cover the cost of going vertical. Adding a spirulina cultivation inside a small portion of an existing urban farm or commercial greenhouse farm can change this and add higher income to become more successful.

Spirulina is a high-value food supplement, sold in health food stores for over 30 years, as dried powder, in tablets and capsules. Containing the unique phycocyanin (‘algae-blue’) known for strengthening the immune system, beneficial flora and healing response, and for detoxification, anti-oxidant and anti-ageing properties.
Now with local cultivation, spirulina can be enjoyed in a new way- fresh or fresh frozen –beautiful dark blue-green with almost no taste at all. Customers can melt and blend frozen cubes into juices for green drinks and mix fresh spirulina into dishes and recipes like dips, spreads and hummus. Or sprinkle tasty low-temperature dried spirulina on salads and soups.
Spirulina can be grown successfully in ponds by recreating its natural environment of high pH, alkaline and saline water. Spirulina can also be harvested and used as a supplement for growing fish and aquatic organisms within an integrated aquaponics system.
Spirulina Microfarm
Spirulina ponds in a greenhouse in Olympia, Washington State USA. Spirulina pond systems can fit within larger commercial greenhouses with greens, vegetables, herbs and aquaponic systems.

Currently Smart Microfarms is focused developing business opportunities in the U.S and Canada. However, Henrikson believes this business model is applicable almost anywhere in the world. He hopes to bring microalgae farming to greenhouse and controlled environment growers . “We can design and install practical, affordable and scalable spirulina microfarm turnkey systems, including ponds, circulation, harvesting, processing, freezing and dehydration, products, laboratory. Variations of these microfarms have been deployed and tested. With greenhouse infrastructure in place, growers could be in operation within 6 weeks.”

Smart Dashboard
Data and visual displays on a Smart Microfarms monitoring control panel, so remote experts can guide local operators.

Henrikson’s company can also offer innovative web-based remote sensing and monitoring systems to provide ongoing assistance to local operations for successful algae cultivation. “Small operations cannot afford an on-site experienced algae scientist to maintain successful and continuous algae cultures. Real-time web based reporting allows remote experts to guide local operators, reducing culture crashes and downtime. This system has been tested for the past two years in several locations and we are extending its capabilities.”

Green Drinks
Fresh harvest and fresh frozen spirulina blended in fresh green superfood juice drinks.
Product Line
Packaged fresh frozen and low temperature dried spirulina products.

But Smart Microfarms can also help to distribute ‘locally grown’ algae food and supplement products to the local and regional market. “With years of experience developing products, sales and marketing, including connections within the natural foods industry, we can provide an umbrella brand for aggregating the production of small local producers of quality spirulina. We bring to market branded and packaged nutraceuticals and food products sold direct to consumers, online, direct to natural food retail outlets, juice bars and restaurants. Smart Microfarms will source product from its own algae microfarms, other quality algae farms with unique products, and facilitate and develop new farms in its network with technical and marketing expertise, ensuring superior product quality.”

For more information: • Robert Henrikson • roberthe@sonic.net • www.smartmicrofarms.com


Apr
23

NAA Algae Production Workshop

Robert Henrikson, Smart Microfarms, presented “Opportunities in Scalable Algae Microfarms: emerging production, supply chains, products and marketing” at the National Algae Association “Algae Production Networking Workshop” on April 23, 2015 in Richmond California. Collaboration + Innovation = Fast-track Commercialization of the Algae Production Industry.
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