November 16, 2015

"Now you can grow meat for dinner on your desk."

Fast Company Not chicken, but bugs: The Edible Insect Desktop Hive is designed to raise mealworms (beetle larva), a food that has the protein content of beef without the environmental footprint. by Adele Peters

'"Livestock is a key factor for climate change," says Austria-based designer Katharina Unger, founder of Livin Farms, the company making the new home farming gadget. "A large percentage of our diseases originate in animal production houses. Growing your own means knowing exactly what you eat."

'While producing a single burger has the carbon footprint of driving 320 miles and can take hundreds of gallons of water, bugs require few resources; the mealworms in the hive can be fed on kitchen scraps. And while a burger might require 74 square feet of land (mostly for growing cattle feed), the hive is tiny.

'"Insects give us the opportunity to grow on small spaces, with few resources," says Unger. "A pig cannot easily be raised on your balcony, insects can. With their benefits, insects are one part of the solution to make currently inefficient industrial-scale production of meat obsolete."

'Unlike the kitchen-scale gadgets that some people are starting to use to grow vegetables, the hive can grow enough food to supply several meals a week; someone can harvest between 200 and 500 grams of mealworms a week, enough to replace traditional meat in four or five dishes.'

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