Workshop | Jul 2015
The Flying Lobster
Val Taleggio | Italy

A turning point in the food-insects’ relationship has been established by the 2013 FAO “Edible Insects” report. The document opens and encourages the use of insects in the worlds’ diets: the protein crisis, population growth and unsustainability of agro-industry, are issues whose resolution can be favored if insects were used as a source of food for humans and animal feed.

The ecological footprint of insect food production is drastically lower than traditional one. The amount of feed needed to produce one kilogram of insects is about one sixth of the one needed to produce one kilo of beef; the water required for the same beef weight is nearly 3000 times greater, the emission of greenhouse gases and soil consumption, are about ten times more, compared to the same weight of insect-edible material.

A “circular model” is sensitive to disruptions that can interrupt its continuity. Instead, a multi-circular system, where relationships are multiple, is more resilient, as the circularity of the system is ensured by various alternate use/consumption relationships. Integrating the use of insects in the food-production chain, can contribute to the achievement of a multi-circular model.

 

The multi-circular system generated by insect production is divided into the three ecosystem services that can be pursued through a large-scale production: 1. Food, 2. Feed, 3. Bio-clean (the ability of insects to decompose some waste, such as plastic). The diagram highlights the potentialities of this system, as well as the areas where further research and insight is needed, such as the possibility of using insects to decompose artificial waste.

Approaching the world of insects (but also snails, butterflies, small reptiles) means diving into a microscopic world. It’s necessary to understand the tiny scale in which they live and reproduce, as well documented in “Microcosmos”, 1996’s documentary. The habitat -as the place whose characteristics allow the life of a given species- varies widely between species of insects (and other small animals). Their life-span can be spatially limited to a given species of tree, or even to a leaf.

 

The Flying Lobster
Location: Val Taleggio, Italy
Time: July 2017
Context: NAHR

Comic illustrations: Akab