Australian designer Katharina Unger has created the world's first edible insect desktop hive for cultivating and harvesting mealworms. Called Livin Farm, the concept is currently raising funds on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
The vessel contains eight sliding drawers, which house insects at different stages of growth. Initially, pupae are placed in the top drawer. Once they have hatched into beetles and mated, eggs are laid, which fall through the perforated floors onto lower levels, where they develop into mealworms. A microclimate is controlled at a constant temperature with a fan ventilation system.
The insects are fed on oats or scrap vegetables and are harvested by pressing a button on the side of the hive, which uses vibrations to separate the edible insects from pupae and waste. The pupae are put back into the top drawer to restart the lifecycle.
Each weekly harvest is expected to generate between 200g and 500g of edible insects, which can be frozen before being boiled, heated or ground and mixed into recipes. If the campaign is successful, a community platform and blog for sharing mealworm recipes will also be created.
For further insight into food scarcity and future edibles, see Feeding Tomorrow's Consumers and Reframing Rare. For other inventive insect-based cuisines, see Wine & Insect Pairing Menu, Culinary Crickets for Mass Consumption and Insect Protein Bars. To explore other forward-thinking methods of food production, see Future Farming.