Have you ever thought about starting a mini-farm right in your own classroom or home? What about growing your own insects. Want to try your hand at raising crickets? Insects are easy to keep and maintain, plus they are a healthy, nutritious source food and are full of protein. By taking a few extra steps as you raise them, they can be safely eaten by people, pets or livestock. You’ll be able to feed them some of your kitchen scraps and reduce food waste and do your part in the farm-to-table movement. Growing your own insects is a great way for families and children to learn about the natural world and explore scientific principles at home. Best of all, growing your own insects isn’t difficult.
If you (or your pets) are going to consume the insects, there are a few extra steps that you need to take to stay safe. The main thing to be aware of is to provide your insects with clean, safe quality feed and take steps to be sure they have a sanitary, safe habitat. Also, before you eat the insects, bake them or take some other step to kill any germs that might have gotten on to them.
There are several great organizations that help teach beginners how to grow your own insects for human food or animal feed. Crickets and mealworms are the most common insects to use to start a mini-farm.
For basic information on how to start growing your own edible crickets, check out the Backyard Cricket Farming Blog by Austin Miller and Zoe Anton of CraftCrickets in Eugene, Oregon. It includes videos and basic information on cricket rearing, including:
Livin Farms has two patented models of mealworm farms for home production, the Hive and the Hive Explorer. Their website includes basic information on the mealworm life cycle, colony maintenance and harvesting, machine troubleshooting and mealworm preparation.
The Hive Explorer also provides a magazine about insects, food waste, chemistry and ecology, with specific information about the lifestages of the mealworms and topics like metamorphosis, photosynthesis of plants, and the nitrogen cycle. It also helps children devise their own chemistry experiments. Livin Farms also offers a Hive-based curriculum for schools.
Bugible also has resources to help you start your own mealworm farm. Author Aly Moore covers the following topics:
- Preparing a container
- Adding feed
- Sourcing your mealworms
- Maintaining your colony
- Harvesting your mealworms
There you have it.
Growing your own insects is a great way for students, families and potential insect farmers to learn about the natural world and explore scientific principles on a small scale. Explore this website to learn more about edible insects and their amazing benefits for providing high quality nutrition to a growing global population, reducing food insecurity and protecting the environment.