From the early days of Auroville’s existence, strong ideas about balanced, healthy and environmentally friendly food have been developed and put into practice, like organic farming, water sanitation, solar cooking and the development of easily digestible and highly nutritious food products.
Already in the 1970s, two Aurovilians started a small scale algae farm in Success Community. They concentrated mostly on chlorella. In their attempts to grow spirulina, they found that after a few weeks, indigenous varieties of chlorella species outgrew and replaced the original strain.
At the beginning of the 1990s, a Swiss Aurovilian named Bonaventura Chanson founded the beachside community Simplicity with the vision of starting a spirulina farm. He collected information and did various laboratory scale experiments to prepare the spirulina cultivation. After Chanson’s passing in 1996, Hendrik von Poederooijen and Tejas Joseph decided to take on the vision to establish a spirulina farm in Auroville.
Their first harvest took place in 1998. Hendrik took up the challenge to further develop spirulina farming, not just for Aurovilians and local nutritional projects but for international and domestic trade as well, with the goal to create funds for Auroville. Therefore he founded the Unit Aurospirul, which over the years earned a solid reputation for its high-quality sun-dried spirulina.
The beachside location of Simplicity Farm eventually became too limited in size to keep up with the growing demand for Aurospirul's spirulina. In 2008 the foundation stone was laid for a new spirulina farm in Windarra community. The headquarters shifted there in November 2012. In February 2016 the spirulina farm in Simplicity was closed and the site was transferred, to make space for a desalination plant that will provide Auroville with water. At the same time, the first step was taken to create the Kottakarai Herbal Farm, where medical herbs and flowers are cultivated using organic farming methods only.