Meet the Open Insect Farm:“We need drastically different food production methods to feed the world”

Community Entrepreneurship Global challenges Sustainability

The Open Insect Farm is on a mission to take urban farming to the next level by encouraging eating insects. It aims to challenge climate change and the world food problem by moving insect consumption into mainstream markets. We checked in with co-founder Marco Swart to hear their latest.

“We want to help solve the world food problem, as well as reduce CO2 emissions. These are huge goals that we want to make a small contribution to. We think we can do this by encouraging people to start eating insects,” co-founder Marco Swart explains the Open Insect Farm’s rationale.

Health benefits of eating insects

Needless to say, many of us will experience some serious resistance to the idea of eating insects. “True,” Marco agrees, “but 2 billion people worldwide are already eating insects as part of their daily diets. This is not a consequence of necessity, but rather a result of people’s awareness of its health benefits. And rightly so, as research shows that insects offer a great alternative source of protein.”

Transitions towards more sustainable food production are in swing, but they’re not enough, according to Marco. “If we want to continue feeding the projected 9 billion people that will be inhabiting the earth by 2050, we need drastically different production methods. We think insect consumption would be a great way to provide food for the growing world population,” Marco says.

“Our project accommodates scalability by definition” – Marco Swart, co-founder at Open Insect Farm

Smart and connected

They’ve developed a smart and connected box that allows for insect breeding anywhere in the world, regardless of the circumstances. The box comes along with a mobile application that guides aspiring insect farmers in their breeding pursuit. The application monitors and optimizes the breeding process.

Since the circumstances within the smart box are highly manageable, it turns insect breeding into a predictable endeavor. As a result, the open source knowledge and expertise that is being produced by the participating farmers collectively is directly useful to all. “As a result, our project accommodates scalability by definition,” Marco pinpoints the project’s unique positive feature.

“The New Farm is one of the main reasons we chose to settle in the city. It has an accelerating effect on our work” – Marco Swart, co-founder Open Insect Farm

Excelling together

Working from ImpactCity The Hague helps them to take their project to the next level. Marco says, “It’s great to be in a city with such an explicitly international focus and attention to innovation. It’s surprisingly easy to tap into national and international networks of like-minded individuals and enterprises.”

“Holding office at The New Farm helps us put The Hague on the map internationally when it comes to urban farming. What’s more, it has offered us the opportunity to establish our very first pilot farm,” he adds. “The New Farm is one of the main reasons we chose to settle in the city. It has an accelerating effect on our work.”

Open Insect Farm was one of the nine nominees in the 2018 The Hague Innovators Challenge. To learn more about the competition, its nominees and winners, read on here