Sustainable Superfood? Exploring Edible Insects as a Low-Impact Source of Animal Protein

Last week, a group of five LUMES students (Ebbe Andersen, Isabell Burian, Balthazar Forsberg, Lisa Necksten, and Gavin Lord) held the second of two workshops open to the public exploring edible insects as a low-impact, scalable alternative to animal meat protein. At the first event, attendees enjoyed a four-course ento-vegetarian meal accompanied by a short lecture and QA session on entomophagy – the practice of eating insects.

Over six-legged tapenade and sauteed cricket, workshop participants learned about the overwhelming environmental impact of the current pace of animal meat consumption, and discussed the current social and practical obstacles to entomophagy in Western countries. Although some of the 70+ attendees were initially a bit skeptical, everyone at least ate something, and most attendees dug in with gusto. Even a few LUCSUS staff members were spotted!

With support from local nonprofits ABC, and Hållbart Universitet, as well as funding from AF-borgen, the group of students spent hours preparing the food and hall in order to ‘normalize’ the practice of eating insects.
“We want people to think of insects as food; something that can be delicious and nutritious, while respecting our planet’s limits” said Balthazar Forsberg, one of five LUMES students responsible for the project. In this regard, the project seems to have been a big success.

At the second workshop, participants learned how to cultivate edible insects at home. One of the great advantages of entomophagy is that the cultivation of insects is scalable, potentially empowering communities and individuals in the production of high-quality food. Over a fika of cricket crackers and coffee, attendees learned about the life cycle and care of the mealworm beetle (Tenebrio molitor), a low-maintenance insect that is a versatile and nutritious ingredient.
Using recycled materials salvaged largely from food packaging, participants constructed multi-level insect farms which simultaneously accommodate several life-stages of the mealworm. The mealworms take about 1.5 months before they are ready to be harvested.

With around 30 participants – mostly returnees from the first event – there are now many more at-home insect farms out there in Lund! We hope that these two events go a long way in the transition of entomophagy into the culinary mainstream.

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