Growing in popularity is the idea that insect farming, a crucial part of sustainable food systems, can help solve the world’s problems with environmental sustainability and food security. Eating insects is far from being a new concept as they’re currently a regular part of about two billion people’s meals across approximately 80 countries. Additionally, The Library of Congress tells us that humans have been eating “insects for tens of thousands of years,” with some of the most popular edible insects including beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, and cicadas. Even with such rich history, culture, and use; eating insects and farming them is not impervious to falsehoods that could obscure its actual benefits. Uncovering some common misconceptions is important as insect farming is highly environmentally friendly with insects being highly efficient in converting feed into protein, requiring significantly fewer resources compared to traditional livestock while producing fewer greenhouse gases. Let’s explore some common misconceptions and learn the truth about this environmentally responsible farming method.
Myth #1: Insects are Unfit for Human Consumption
Reality: Insects as food are a staple in local diets and are consumed worldwide as regular editions to meals, defying the notion that they are an unappealing or unusual dietary source. As a nutrient-dense and sustainable substitute for conventional protein sources and even animal feed, insects are high in vital elements like protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, advances in processing methods have given rise to food products made from insects, including protein bars, snacks, and even flour that can be used in cooking making the food option more appealing and easily accessible to humans.
Myth #2: Insect Farming is Unhygienic
Reality: Insect farming is conducted under controlled and regulated conditions where farms adhere to strict standards to mitigate any potential health risks. Given that they may be fed organic byproducts, insects themselves are an invaluable resource for converting waste into energy and supporting a sustainable, circular food chain. Farmers pay great attention to the welfare of their colonies and this is done through frequent monitoring and quality control that includes various parameters from temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, to ammonia. One such great example is the CoRoSect project which is developing a novel Cognitive Robotic System for Digitalized and Networked Insect Farms for in-depth understanding and monitoring of insect well-being in all of the stages of their life cycle.
Myth #3: Insect Farming is a Fad
Reality: According to the FAO and UN insect farming is far from being a passing trend and is recognized by experts as a crucial element in achieving global food security and sustainability goals. Its potential to provide a nutrient-rich food source with minimal environmental impact positions it as a sustainable solution for the future.
In conclusion, it is critical to comprehend the facts of insect farming to fully appreciate its advantages and contributions to a resilient and sustainable food system. The possibility for insect farming to be a game-changer in solving global issues is becoming more and more clear and at INCiTiS-FOOD insect farming is one of our key circular solution pillars.