The Implications of Edible Insect Farming

pile of bugs in hands

The interdisciplinary Mission to Improve Global Health Through Insects (MIGHTi) project in the Global Health Institute and the Department of Entomology, co-founded by Valerie Stull, continues to investigate the social, environmental, and health implications of edible insect farming.

The team is assessing if insect agriculture can generate nutritious and sustainable human food and animal feed using limited environmental resources. Research includes an in depth look at how insect consumption may directly impact human health via the bioavailability of insect nutrients and the function of insect fibers in the human microbiome.

The project, in collaboration with the Department of Animal Science, was recently awarded a Baldwin Seed Grant to investigate the potential for cultivating insects as a feedstock for livestock in Wisconsin using locally available crop residues or even plastics. A master’s student from the Nelson Institute is investigating barriers and opportunities for insect farming in rural and urban spaces in Zambia, a country where the practice of eating insects is already common, but insects are predominately wild-harvested.

Moreover, MIGHTi has teamed up with an Italian NGO to support curriculum development and skills training for rural smallholder farmers in Zambia who want to cultivate edible insects at the household level for consumption and economic empowerment. MIGHTi is also assisting with a similar project in Guatemala focused on women.

For more information, visit the MIGHTi website.

pile of bugs in hands

Principal Investigator

Valerie Stull

Global Health Institute

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