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I am active in a DIYbio group in Groningen, the Netherlands and we are looking to do some more workshops and activities with kids and this seems like a nice project. Nobody in our group has any experience with worm farming... yet.
@Winand welcome to the forum! Mealworms are a great place to start with raising insects, we have lots of info here, and more available on our wiki - https://github.com/TinyFarms/OpenBugFarm/wiki
We hope you'll share your experiences with this project if you take it on as a kid's activity, and of course we'll all do our best to answer any questions you have!
@andrew, thanks for the welcome! We operate on open-source principles, and documentation is an important part of what we do. We will probably be making our own (not buying the kit) and have some arduino based monitoring/control of temperature, just because we can.
Is there some documentation available as far as the type of mesh fabric used (how big are the holes). (sorry if this is the wrong place to ask, I am still orienting myself)
@Winand - the mesh we're using is non-treated "no-seeum" netting - that is just mosquito mesh, rated to keep out no-seeums (biting midges), and not treated with any pesticides. It is finer and a stronger weave than the flimsy tulle sometimes sold as mosquito netting.
We'll be posting designs/schematics to the GitHub project soon!
@Winand, great to see kids learning this, great project. Would love some anecdotes later. Would also love to see some kids' comments and questions. Perhaps they could start up a discussion thread of their own as well as join in on the general discussion.?
We are still very much in the brainstorming stage for how to run this. The hope is that we can make it happen this summer. Currently I was thinking mealworms, present the kids with your solution and then let them figure out if they want to follow those design or get creative and hack their own versions together.
I am very open to input an ideas from this community on how to make this a success. Might it be a good idea to start a separate thread for this? That way everyone can help brainstorm.
Very glad to have found this forum. My name is Dom De Bellis and I'm the founder/organizer of The Urban Ranch & Farm Project (http://urbanranchfarm.com).
We're building a farm and ranch here in western Michigan that will grow vegetables and fruit and even some grain species, as well as chickens, fish, and rabbits. Our animals are not primarily for food, but for the production of fertilizing compost for the plant species' benefit. We're also culturing colonies of insects that we will feed to our animals. Finally, we're raising earthworms in our vermiculture colonies to break down wastes into compost. Everything we grow here is intended to feed back into the system and provide a surplus of food for local consumption by our family and neighbors in the community.
The objective on this farm/ranch is to have every component work in harmony with every other component, all while preserving water quality, soil quality, and quality of life for our family. Our bigger mission as The Urban Ranch & Farm Project is to help people adapt our operational platforms and business models all over the world.
Thanks for your support! I'm looking forward to sharing information with you all. If you're interested in our project, you may sign up for updates by visiting the URL below.
Blessings to you,
Dom De Bellis
(Please, no texts)
Sounds wonderful @domdebellis!
@domdebellis welcome to our community here. Looking forward to hearing about how you're fitting insects into your ecosystem and providing whatever support we can for your efforts!
Hi Folks. Wayne, here, from NewColonyFarm, in Montreal, Canada.
I've been tinkering with permaculture projects, vertical agriculture, and aquaponics, while looking at insects for both accelerated composting, and tertiary protein.
I am also interested in insects for predator pest-control, specifically in climate controlled (indoor, or sheltered) environments.
I would be interested in chatting with folks who have a medium to larger scale of operations, from growing mini-livestock (mealworms, crickets, or wax-worms), and further developments into sustainable markets.
@NewColonyFarm Welcome Wayne! Excited to get your perspective in the mix here. Most of our discussion threads so far are focused on small to medium sized growing or more general contextual info (feed, processing, environmental impacts on lifecycle). Feel free to start a specific thread for discussing larger operation and marketing, we'll be happy to share our own experience on the topic from our work at Tiny Farms
Hi, my name is Rob & I'm located in Louisiana, USA currently. My background is in physics, & I've taught college-level physics for several years but am currently jobless. I'm very much interested in insect farming, particularly the human entomophagy aspect for commercial purposes. I've got some experience with small-scale cricket farming.
I'm looking forward to learning more here & seeing this nascent industry develop over time.
If anyone has any job opportunities for me, please let me know.
Hi Rob, welcome to the Forum! We're happy to share our knowledge and look forward to hearing your perspective. Hopefully this growing field will start presenting more job opportunities in the near future.
Hello. My name is William and I live in New Jersey. I have been reading about bugs as a plentiful food source for a while. I am interested in learning more from you all.
Another thing. I am a fiction/non-fiction writer and would like to write about insects as an abundant food source, both in fiction and in a How-To manual. I intend to self publish ebooks on Amazon. Will not get rich off it, but I'll have at least done something to help make the world a better place.
Hi @William, my friend writes fiction, on his 4th novel and you're right, there's often little money in it... but writing for the joy is wonderful and he is driven to do it. At least the chance of $ success is there. Look forward to your future posts.
Welcome to our community, @William! I'm super excited to hear that someone is considering selling ebooks to introduce people to entomophagy; I'm pretty confident that there's demand. We get so many emails from people who want to get started but don't know how (which is why we launched Open Bug Farm).
I'm Liz, and I live in Perth, Western Australia. My parents both grew up on farms, and I've always been interested in growing my own food (although I haven't actually managed much of it yet!) I found this forum looking for information on growing mealworms to increase the protein in my chooks' (that's Aussie for chickens'... "chickens" are the baby ones here...) diet in the hope of getting more eggs!
Actually growing insects to eat is an intriguing idea, but my husband might take some convincing! ...we both love prawns, so crickets sound promising (especially if I can rub the legs off, as has been mentioned here), although I may have to hide them in a dark sauce for a start! Anyone for noodles with crickets in dark soy sauce? ;-) Will post any successful recipes! :-)
Hi Liz, Welcome to the forum! We look forward to hearing more about how your bug rearing progresses.
Hello, my name is Meghan and Im an Entohollic. (sorry, I couldnt help the pun) Over the years I have had several Entomophgous exposures and found myself getting more excited about the idea each time. I recently finished my master's in Entomology and have decided to join this movement. I am seriously considering creating a crowdsourced recipe sharing website for edible insect dishes and some small scale production with local distribution. Having just started mealworm farming I'm learning that what I know about rearing insects for research is pretty different than for the dinner table. I am really excited to find this rearing community! I've just about got my initial set up configured and will submit some pics soon as its structurally a little different than your kit.
Thanks for the help!
PS @William if you need a title for an Ento SciFi books, what about 'Grub Rising.' I really liked this as a company name, but all of my friends said that it gave them a terrible Tremors-like image.
@MeghanCurry - Welcome to this community, we're excited to see how the mealworm farm concept evolves through your implementation!