Algae—yes, that slimy green stuff—has a huge potential to solve a huge problem…global food insecurity.
As climate change prompts desertification, lack of fresh water is a growing global concern, per a recently released IPCC report. By 2050, with the global population boom, we’ll need 70% more food.
Algae is low in carbon emissions, high in protein, and has all essential amino acids. It can be grown where other crops wouldn’t survive—even in saltwater pools in a desert. Yet it wasn’t recognized officially by the U.S. government as a crop until 2018.
Nutrition company iWi runs one of the largest algae farms, where water used in one end exits crystal clear on the other and is recycled back into the pond. iWi is working hard to make algae an everyday food in shakes or a powder to sprinkle on just about anything.
But convincing people that what they think of as slimy green stuff is actually good food is a tricky matter. It’s actually one of the jobs of research scientist Rebecca White, who attends trade shows to prove to unsuspecting customers that snack bars made with algae can actually be tasty.