Insect Farming

I’ve eaten insects, deliberately. During the Brood X rising of 2004, I grabbed some and toasted them. They were fine! For a while, I would order different insect combos for my mom’s birthday (including a baked tarantula—”remove fangs before eating”!).

Insects are an interesting future food (though, of course, many cultures already eat them). High protein, often generally nutrient rich, and low resource to grow, they seem like a good choice for agriculture.

Back in 1991 we had a wormy in our apartment and we’ve had another since around 2014 in our new house. Of course, the goal there is compost, not the worms as foodstuff.

Food insects are fricking expensive, even bought online. Given the small scale of production this isn’t too surprising. Most, I imagine, are intended for pets (we used to buy crickets and superworms for our hedgehogs) so large scale wasn’t needed.

BUT! Just as with wormries, you can grow mealworms for food in your own home! I’ve seen two kits: The open source, TinyFarm system and the patent protected Livin Farms hive. The TinyFarm one is definitely low budget (even the kit only costs $154 and if you did it all yourself from found or bought pvc, it’d probably be a lot less). The big downside is that the farming process requires more effort. It’s also something more for the shed than the kitchen counter.

The Livin Farm hive is a lot pricier at $699 but it maintains correct temperature and does harvest monitoring and sorting (I’m not 100% clear how that works, but it involves LED indicators and buttons! Technology! Ok, the harvesting works by vibration and sieves. Fine.).

Zoe is not on board. Not yet anyway. She was not happy with the wormy the first time around but loves our current one. So, maybe. Someday.

$700 for a mealworm farm is pretty damn yuppie though.