Yes, that’s right… farming insects. The edible insect industry as well as the practice of entomophagy (eating insects) is growing globally – and we aim to be leaders in promoting rural insect farming in food insecure regions by supporting women’s cooperatives with the training and resources they need to raise insects. Insects can feed people, serve as an inexpensive feed source for poultry as well as fish, and are relatively easy to raise. Farming insects is also climate smart, as they require less energy to produce and emit fewer greenhouse gases than other livestock. They can even recycle agricultural waste products, not edible for people. In areas where food is not always available and protein sources are scarce, insect farming offers an inexpensive, environmentally friendly option. Win- win-win!
The Mission to Improve Global Health Through Insects (MIGHTi) is a collaborative research project designed to address the multifaceted and systematic factors that contribute to food insecurity in Southern Africa while simultaneously joining a global effort to re-envision food systems in a changing climate. We promote edible insect production (also called microlivestock farming) as a sustainable protein source for human consumption and animal feed – one that supports healthy people and a healthy planet. MIGHTi is interested in farming a variety of insect types, but we are partial to the small, but mighty, mealworms — the larval form of the darkling beetle. Mealworms are more environmentally friendly than conventional livestock and are nutrient dense; they require little labor, little water, and quickly recycle agricultural waste making them an ideal food source for resource poor areas.
MIGHTi is committed to empowering women, and is specifically interested in working with women’s cooperatives, women’s groups, and schools. MIGHTi will use culturally tailored, context specific microlivestock kits that are environmentally and economically sustainable to help farmers produce an added protein source for rural diets and supplement for animal feed year round.
The MIGHTi project proposal won a national US Agriculture Innovation Prize in April 2014, and the team is now beginning research and development. MIGHTi’s long-term vision is to expand the reach of insect products by encouraging microlivestock farming and the use of edible insect products as food and feed globally.
For additional information, please read our Concept Note.