Spirulina was a healthy green snack that the Incas used to enjoy, and now the edible algae is grown on Bangkok rooftops as a nutritious alternative to meat protein. EnerGaia representatives told AFP that rooftops are an excellent venue for growing the algae because the high temperatures and constant sunlight helps it to grow. And grow it does. While one kilogram of beef requires six months to turn into protein, just one week is all the spirulina needs.
Spirulina has been dubbed the latest superfood and health foodies across the globe are finding ways to incorporate it into their diet. An employee for EnerGaia, Patsakorn Thaveeuchukorn harvests the slimy green spirulina jelly three times a week from a hotel rooftop in the heart of Bangkok. “With its high levels of protein and nutrients,” he told AFP, “it is beneficial to food security.”
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) backs up claims that the algae is beneficial. Rose Rolle said that the green algae occurs naturally in Lake Texcoco and that communities who live near Lake Chad in West Africa also consume it.
Some restaurants in Bangkok are on board to purchase the spirulina, which has a shelf life of three weeks after it has been harvested. The company’s Tech Director Derek Blitz told AFP he hopes to export the product – raw, not dried, which would make EnerGaia one of the first scaled up businesses to do so.
“It is great for vegetarians and vegans,” said Blitz. “It’s also packed with anti-oxidants. It is really good for cleansing your body.”