Horny Crickets Will Save Us All

Image: Terreform ONE

Terreform ONE, a not-for-profit architecture research group, creates projects that provide environmentally friendly and smart design options for future cities.

One of them is a Cricket Shelter -- a modular edible insect farm where crickets are milled into flour after death. But don't worry, they get to have a lot of sex first!

According to a 2013 report from the Food and Agriculture Organisations of the United Nations (FAO), roughly 2 billion people consume bugs as part of their regular diet.

As global food consumption and urbanisation becomes more critical, alternative forms of protein may need to be considered more seriously by the Western world. Terreform ONE certainly thinks so, and they have created an ethical framework for it that relies on smart architecture.

Raising any kind of livestock requires a huge amount of fresh water, whereas harvesting insects is 300 times more efficient for the same amount of protein. And takes up far less room.

The cricket shelters have been designed to be portable, so they can be quickly established and moved during crisis situations. However, they can also reside permanently in densely packed urban areas, such as rooftops.

Mitch Joachim, co-founder of Terreform ONE and an associate professor at NYU, recently held a Ted Talk about the farms, as part of Ford's City of Tomorrow Symposium in New Delhi. Speaking to Gizmodo Australia, Joachim recounted that the team's initial inspiration behind the project came "from the desire to make food victimless where no sentient creature is harmed."

He also explained how the farm tracks the Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the crickets from birth the death, which is approxmiately six weeks. At the end of life the temperature of that section of the farm is lowered so the crickets go into hibernation and experience a peaceful death.

During the Ted Talk, Joachim also explained how the farms are designed to make the lives of the crickets as enjoyable as possible -- including specially designed "sex pods" so they can have a really great time during their short lives. Is it wrong of me to be a bit jealous?

The farms are also made to be as humane as possible, particularly in comparison to other establishments throughout the world.

"Cricket farms today mash up everything; food, waste, faeces, bits of leaves, sticks, old and young... its a disgusting mess. All if it is piled into a vat and turned into flour. This farm is super hygienic and sanitary for the bugs and humans. Their faeces and food are separated and as well as the old and young," said Joachim.

Terreform ONE have also been experimenting with the flavors of the cricket-flour. "Feeding the crickets with our dial lock gates and food portal slots - we use apple cores, lime rinds, orange peels to tune the flavor of the bugs metabolism."

Delicious!

Chefs have already been using the Terreform ONE cricket flour for their cuisine. Who knows, we may just see it hit the mainstream over the next few years.

Personally, I'm absolutely down to try a cricket cake.