Most people get a visceral "ewww" reaction when it comes to the idea of eating bugs, but in a world where animal agriculture is one major contributing factor to greenhouse gas emissions, a surprising number of people are now considering insect protein as an alternative. There are many varieties of edible bugs, and companies are starting to specialize in new-fangled items like cricket flour and more.
But while many of these products have to be ordered online, there's a need for a way to let consumers grow their own insect-based food at home. Austrian designer Katarina Unger of LIVIN Studio, who previously created a prototype home incubator for black soldier flies, is now crowdfunding LIVIN Farms Hive, a desktop hive for edible insects, namely mealworms. She and her team explain how it works in the video below:Unger's motivation to develop these prototypes arose after she moved to Hong Kong, and discovered that though most food is imported there, not much information is available about where it comes from. Unger believes that knowing where one's food originates is important for health and peace of mind. Thus, the LIVIN Farms Hive was developed as one possible solution to the livestock-related environmental crisis and as an alternative to resource-intensive animal protein. According to Unger's research, mealworms use much less resources than your typical cow, and they are loaded with benefits.
The LIVIN Hive is designed with a top-down format: pupae are placed at the top, and as they mature, they are sifted down through the stack, until the bottom tray, which holds the week's harvest. You only have to feed the mealworms vegetable scraps once a week, and clean the dirt bins once a week. The first full harvest comes after nine weeks, but you can collect up to 500 grams of clean mealworms every week from the bottom tray after that, ready for frying, baking or grilling.
The closed system comes with fans and sensors to create a controlled microclimate, perfect for cultivating protein-packed mealworms. The LIVIN Farms Hive is early-bird priced at USD $449, and best of all, the team will be developing an app around the product, to allow customers to share their recipes and experiences. If you've got doubts about the taste, read on to see what others have to say about it; and if you're interested in trying the LIVIN Farms Hive out, find out more over on Kickstarter and LIVIN Studio.