Whatever our lives are like in 2050, we will live with a lot less water. The Stockholm International Water Institute reported that with current consumption trends, there won’t be enough water for the expected 9 billion people living on our planet. Much of our water supply is used on livestock farms, and if people continue adopting Western diets, we can expect a tenuous water supply situation.
In lieu of everyone becoming vegetarian and replicating animal protein with some combination of synthesized vegetable material, Katharine Unger’s Farm 432 harvests the far more efficient food source of insect larva.
Farm 432 is a metamorphosis chamber Unger created to harvest Soldier Fly larvae for consumption. Unger named the project Farm 432 because one gram of fly eggs will hatch to over 2.4 kilograms or 5.3 pounds in 432 hours, 18 days.
Full of nutrients, Soldier Fly larvae are 42 percent protein and 35 percent fat, with various important mineral components, too. The efficiency of Soldier Fly larvae compared to livestock and poultry production is obvious.
According to the University of Georgia, beef production requires 300-800 square feet of space per cow. Farm 432 fits on a table. And 22 pounds of feed produces 19 pounds of larvae compared to just over two pounds of beef.
For those who just think of larvae as contaminated carriers of disease, Soldier Fly larvae are sterile. Larvae added to certain manures reduced E. coli and Salmonella bacteria levels, and some were tested to clean bacteria from wounds.
As global health improves, so does the population. And with more people on the planet, food consumption increases. Certain national and regional diets are less wasteful than others. Food habits centered on animal protein require huge volumes of resources and acreage for production. Farm 432 is a sensible alternative to animal protein diets and artificial meat. What would be the difference on our planet if someone revised President Herbert Hoover’s “a chicken in every pot” mantra to a colony of Soldier Fly larvae on every table? We’d see a healthier planet.
Photo Credit: Katharine Unger
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