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Once we started the process of sourcing the materials for the algaegarden, it really underlined the relevancy of the project to the region. There is a big connection for food production, for scientific research and for monitoring the aquatic environment.

NutrOcean were kind enough to let us come down and visit their HQ in Rimouski. Here they grow algae for research and also supply aquaculture. What you can see in the pictures is basically a three-course meal for fish.

The algaegarden team meets NutrOcean

 

The other strains, we acquired from the Canadian Phycological Culture Centre. There, they have an amazing library of algae found in weird and wonderful places around Canada (copper mines,  paper pulp ponds and seasonal lakes). Each one with a story of how it was discovered.

In and around the St Lawrence area there are a lot of research facilities, investigating the delicate ecosystem in the bay.  Algae are an important facet of the food chain, and a good marker as to the how healthy the underwater community is.

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Making agar agar droplets for the algae cocktails with Pierre Olivier, head chef at the Restaurant at the Metis Gardens.

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A spectrum of color of algae. Over the summer, we hope the algae will grow, making the colors more vibrant – so that the garden evolves towards this vision!

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Some of the algae in the garden live in freshwater from ponds, but others live in seawater, found in the St. Lawrence River. Initially, we gathered seawater off the rocky shores of the estuary and slowly, in an assembly-line fashion, filtered the water through a DIY camping filter. Our process sped up when we linked up with a local research facility researching seawater for the fishing industries. They gave us filtered seawater in barrels, and discussed the relevance of our garden to their research.



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We hope the algae like their new home! As the summer progresses, they will multiply, and the color spectrum will get bolder and more vibrant throughout the garden.




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The algae arrived from the Canadian Phycological Culture Centre. This picture should give an idea of some of the colours that will appear in the tubes over the next few weeks.

 

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Algaegarden evolving during the build at the Metis International Garden Festival in Quebec.




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We tested the algae tubes in the Urban Physic Garden, a pop-up garden of medicinal plants in Southwark. We’ll be doing an algaegarden workshop in the physic garden on July 30, where you can build your own DIY bioreactor and taste chlorella cocktails and spirulina biscuits. Find out more here!

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