Saving the land and sea by changing how we eat. Farming insects. Here's why?

A jack mackerel haul in the Pacific Ocean destined to become animal feed. Not a good way to treat an ecosystem (photo:PD)

A jack mackerel haul in the Pacific Ocean destined to become animal feed. Not a good way to treat an ecosystem (photo:PD)

Let's start with anchovies. Most people can't stomach them. Yet, small oceanic fish are the backbone of commercial animal feed - high-octane fuel to raise chickens, pigs, salmon and tuna.

1/3 of global fish catch ~ 25 million tons annually ~ is grounded up and fed to animals. Meat consumption has driven the collapse of fisheries worldwide and disintegration of Earth's ecosystems. 

Sustainable alternatives are urgently needed. ENTER INSECTS.

I am using the black soldier fly to convert food waste into nutritious insect meal, rich in protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. Roughly 40% of food is wasted and insects production is one strategy to recycle lost nutrients and value, making our food system more efficient and circular, and less depletive and extractive.


Action Areas

February 2016. The  frame for the Hatchery and Biorefinery at Black Cat Farm. 

February 2016. The  frame for the Hatchery and Biorefinery at Black Cat Farm. 

1: Hatchery and Refinery

Hatchery. Raising insect larvae at scale hinges on a large and steady production of eggs.  We are using evolutionary and ecology theory to develop a breeding program by experimentally isolating the influence of light, humidity and temperature on mating, egg production and viability.  We achieve > 80% fecundity. 

The Refinery.  Where insects turn food waste into protein. We are optimizing the rate, efficiency and nutritional quality of food waste conversion with a diversity of food wastes streams. We are translating our findings in technological solutions to maximize yield, scale and consistency.

2: Insect-based Feed

The success of insects for animal feed is predicated on the safety and performance of insects as a replacement to conventional ingredients. We are working with several chicken and fish farms to examine the efficacy of insect meal using feeding trials.

3: Market Solution 

Ecological solutions to sustainability challenges must work in the marketplace. Everything we do is guided by commercial opportunity, barriers and regulatory context.


Funding and Support Needs

MAD Ag is actively seeking funding to advance. If you or your organization is interested in donating or awarding grants, please contact Philip Taylor (philip@madagriculture.org). 

Student and Interns

Internship MAD Ag is actively looking for interns

Thesis Opportunities We are currently looking for a M.S. and undergraduate student enrolled at CU - Boulder to help lead research in Area 2. The student would be advised by Pete Newton at CU - Boulder with support from Philip Taylor.