We have a problem with the way we produce food. It’s a complex issue that involves our entire world. We need a variety of solutions in order to fix it. Insects can be part of that solution.
We research and develop insects as an alternative to feed ingredients that are harmful to our planet.
40% of our land is used to feed the animals we eat
Everyone of you eats soy. It’s in the processed food you eat, it’s in the meat you eat..
Everyone eats a lot of meat. And before we eat meat, the animal that produces that meat has to be fed as well. They feed it with corn, soy, but mainly they eat grains, and those grains have to grow. They grow it everywhere: Brasil, The US, Canada, Belgium, China,.. this evolves 40% of the land surface!
The forests we clear in Brazil, count for 24% of the worlds oxygen
When we eat more, we don’t look around for alternatives, but we clear more land. Look at the forests we clear to eat all that meat. We are particularly worried about the forest we clear in Brazil. What happens when we are no longer able to clear more land? What do we do? Do we plan to clear it all? Despite what clearing the forest would do to us environmentally, what do we plan to feed the animals we eat?
Disruption of the ecosystem’s delicate balance
Soy is a big contributor to land degradation because we grow it as a mono-culture, that means that we plant the same crop over and over. We leach the soil of it’s nutrients until it has none, so we have to apply lots of fertilizers in order to feed the soil, so we can grow the soy. And we add so many fertilizers to these crops, that we doubled the amount of nitrogen in our atmosphere. The total impact this has on our planet can not be overstated. So what can we do to alleviate some of the pressure on crops? Simply, we can stop eating meat, but we don’t see that happening.
A change paired with a general creative revolution
We have to react on this problem with a variety of solutions.
Incorporate things in our diet we never even considered before, like insects. And maybe we wont be eating them in their whole form, but as an additive you put into breads, or pasta, of as an imitation of meat, non of those things is inevitable. Because when you learn about how nutritious insects can be, suddenly, the solutions are all around you.
A tough sell?
40 years from now, there will be 9 billion people on the planet. Our demands on agriculture will not go away, but they will increase. We can also introduce things into our diet like insects, of different proteins, but that’s a change. But with entomophagy (the practice of eating insects) we don’t bring something new to the the table. Did you know 80% of nations eat insects in one way or another? That is more than 2 billion people worldwide!
Soy is actually a really good plant, that is high in protein. And that is one of the reasons that farmers really love it.They also love it because it’s highly subsidized in the US, and because it’s better digested than other grains. But insects are better digested than soy. And insects have comparable protein content, if not, higher. Also, insects have higher calcium and iron levels and nutrients that are completely absent in soy all together.
Our favorite thing about insects, it’s so cool, that is that we can actually change their nutritional content. We can change it, depending on how we raise them. We can tailor make an insect diet to meet different requirements for different animals, or for different uses entirely.
The revolution is coming
This is really where we can make a change, starting literally from the ground up. But the only problem is, that we can’t make enough of it. We can’t meet the demand. And that sound like a really good thing, but it’s actually a really big problem. And this is where we have an opportunity for innovation. And we are talking Elon Musk style innovation. Because if we have to produce at the scale of corn or meat or soy meal, that is how we have to think. We have to think agricultural food production and revolution kind of big and it’s really fun to do when you with something like an insect. To think of them as important, and life saving.
Putting insects in agriculture is not the only answer to food crisis. It is one solution, one very simple, very logical solution. And what more can you want from a solution? True ecological solutions like this one, make it possible to enter a phase of recovery. And perhaps through the way we live, we can sustain life!
Source: Tedxtalks: What to feed our food – Kathryn R.