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Webcam view of greenhouse microfarm
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Flat bottom raceway ponds 20 cm deep, 30 square meters each
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Ponds with center dividers suspended from side walls

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In the beginning, setting up spirulina culture totes in the greenhouse
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Building up culture volume in totes and small ponds

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Pond layers: ground filter cloth • insulation • heat mats • raceway dividers
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Empty pond ready for inoculation with spirulina culture

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Culture innoculation: pond liner • raceway divider • circulation pumps • air hose
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Carbon dioxide: delivered from CO2 tank through soaker hose along pond bottom
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Small circulation pumps move water around raceways.

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Checking the alignment of the web cam for remote viewing off site

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Webcam view in winter season showing pond covers

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Pond covers and heating mats keep water warmer during cold nights

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Harvesting ponds in the winter season
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Harvesting through debris screen with a micron filter cloth
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Fresh harvest is like thick green yogurt

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Fresh harvest. After pressing it is like firm tofu or bread dough
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Low temperature drying (40°C) in a fruit dehydrator for tasty crunchies
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SpiruSource® packages: frozen 0.5 oz cups, fresh jar, dry crunchies and powder

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SpiruSource® banner for farmers markets booth

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SpiruSource® postcard with description and health benefits

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Display table at a farmers market
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SpiruSource® demo table in a natural food store

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SpiruSource® frozen cups in a natural food store freezer section
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Dissassembly of the microfarm. Only the black filter cloth over the ground remains.
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After closing the farm, continued operating a home rooftop deck growing system

Location: Half Moon Bay near the California coastline south of San Francisco with mild temperate weather. Summer mornings often covered with a marine fog layer, but winter is milder than inland California.

Infrastructure: This spirulina microfarm was built inside a large commercial glass greenhouse once used for growing flowers. The ground was slightly graded to be flat. Water, power and internet available.

Microfarm Design: There are different microfarm designs and materials. This one was designed as a low cost modular, replicable system, using common materials, easy to install and disassemble. No excavation or cement required. Built with small culture scale-up tanks and ponds, then a series of flat bottom production ponds with small circulation pumps, instead of paddlewheels, to move water around the raceways.

Operations: From 2016-19 this microfarm produced all-natural spirulina 12 months a year in a semi-controlled environment, using no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Water source was carbon filtered. Harvesting several days a week in the spring, summer and fall growing seasons, much less often in winter. Low temperature dehydration on site. Fresh and frozen processing and packaging off site.

Marketing: Products were branded as SpiruSource® and packaged fresh, frozen or dehydrated. With a Certified Producer Certificate for the California Farmers Market Program, SpiruSource® products were sold in Bay Area farmers markets. Also sold in select natural food stores, direct to local customers and online.

Customers: Many customers prefer fresh spirulina to traditional spray dried powder. Fresh and frozen have almost no taste, and can be mixed with drinks and foods without changing the flavor. Low temperature dehydrated spirulina sold as cruchies or powder has a mild and delightful umami flavor. Appeals to locavores, fresh food and raw food consumers.