Bugs, plant meat, and personal farms

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

bugs yum
In 10 years, your lunchbox could look like this! I bet Timon and Pumbaa are drooling right now…

There are around 7.1 billion people on Earth, which means there are many mouths to feed. However, not everyone in the world has access to all the nourishment their bodies need. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that 870 million people, or one out of every eight people on the planet, are not getting the amount of food required for good health! However, there are simple solutions, which include personal farms, imitation meat, and… eating bugs!

Yuck, I know right! Why would I want to put down my mouth-watering steak (which was cooked to perfection!) for a plate of disgusting creepy crawlers? Well, they are plentiful, nutritious, and apparently, delicious. In fact, even food scientists have embraced the critters as a legitimate food source. The Nordic Food Lab in Denmark, which is affiliated with Noma, the number two restaurant in the world, has been experimenting with different dishes. Some of the ingredients they’ve been using? Grasshoppers and caterpillars!

World class chefs aren’t the only ones who’ve taken to the creatures with open arms; several other inventors are working on ways to replace traditional livestock with insects. Take Mansour Ourasanah for example. He’s designed the LEPSIS – a container that holds a mini colony of grasshoppers on your kitchen counter! Ourasanah came up with the design when he moved to New York City and witnessed how much food was wasted on a daily basis. “I could never reconcile the notion that one side of the world had so much to eat when the other had so little,” he said. “As a New Yorker I was also part of the problem. I over-consumed and wasted my fair share of food.” He hopes the LEPSIS will be in kitchens all around the world, filled to the brim with bouncing grasshoppers.

Okay, maybe the thought of eating bugs for dinner is too disgusting to stomach. Innovator Ethan Brown realizes it will be hard for some people to quit meat just out of the blue, which is why he founded  the company Beyond Meat. The company takes proteins from plants and makes “meat analogues” which have “all the protein, taste, chew and enjoyment of chicken without any antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, saturated fat or cholesterol.” According to Brown, many people have been fooled by his plant creations!

Still, feeding the world is going to take a bit more effort than grasshopper containers and imitation meat. If anything, we’re all going to have mini farms in our own backyards! If that’s the case, the FreightFarms would be the perfect solution! FreightFarms uses old shipping crates and transforms them into stackable farms for places like garages, parking lots, or unused areas of land! Each crate also comes with a super cool climate-control system to maximize energy efficiency and plant growth. According to the creators, a single box can house up to 3,000 plants at a time!

Once that produce is grown, it’s important to keep it fresh for as long as possible, and the innovative FreshPaper makes the job easy. It looks like a regular old sheet of paper, but in fact, it’s lined with natural organic spices and enzymes that make it anti-fungal. If you place fruit in a sheet, the produce will last 3-4 times longer than usual!

These inventors hope to save enough produce and energy to distribute to areas of the world where food is scarce. Hey, if that means I have to eat bugs and grow my own veggies, I’m fine with that.

Featured image courtesy of Alpha on Flickr. Image of bug lunchbox courtesy of Jean Wang on Flickr.