With the Cricket Pod, anyone can become an urban cricket farmer.
The idea of swallowing a snack that contains crickets may sound disgusting, but it’s a trend that is gaining in popularity. Why? Because protein derived from the insect has a tiny environmental footprint compared to beef or chicken. In addition, it’s deemed to be much more economical.
To meet the growing demand, several startups are creating systems to raise crickets. Some are doing so on an industrial-scale, but anyone could complete the task with the Cricket Shelter which is a simple system designed for small producers.
FastCoExist reports that the Cricket Shelter – a tent-like structure which can popup on a rooftop or empty lot – doesn’t appear to be full of bugs, but looks can be deceiving. Inside the walls, the prototype is raising 22,000 crickets.
Quill-like shapes on the top of the shelter help with ventilation, as they suck stale air out of the colonies so the shelter doesn’t smell like the crickets. An added bonus of the design is that the quills pick up the sound of the chirping and amplify it in the surrounding area.
Said Mitchell Joaquim, founder of Terreform, the architecture firm that designed the modular cricket farm:
“They would fit right into the massive onslaught of urban farms that are happening in Brooklyn and the rest of New York. These farms would be great alongside solar panels and other things you’d probably want to grow on the roof. So there’s an enormous amount of opportunity to have this produced locally.”
This system is unlike any other DIY cricket farm, as it is designed to produce a product that is cleaner than some farms.
“They kind of collect the dead crickets and their poop and any other bits of slop and they mix it all up,” Joaquim relays.
Reportedly, the new system is simple to clean, and the crickets can be harvested by turning a dial on each pod and emptying it out. In addition, the Cricket Pod is designed to allow the crickets to move around – something that is close to the equivalent of free-range – while producing as many insects as possible.
The designers are inspired to experiment with the crickets’ feed and determine if different foods can alter their flavor.
“We’re very interested in gut-loading them with orange peels, apple cores, lime rinds, so they actually taste exquisite. They absorb that into their body’s metabolism.”
The architects originally created the shelter for disaster zones. After a disaster, however, ‘people don’t just need a place to protect themselves from the elements,” Joaquim says. “They actually need to get access to food.”
Learn more about Terreform by visiting the company’s website.
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