Are Fly Farms a Solution to Food Waste?

You’ve probably heard that more people around the world are eating insects to help reduce agricultural waste and replace protein in meat-based diets. But have you ever seen farmers raise flies to make animal food?

Picture of a scientist watering flies

Photograph courtesy National Geographic Studio

A few months ago, the National Geographic video team came across a new research project being conducted at the Guangdong Entomological Institute in Guangzhou, China: Researchers were raising fly larvae using food waste and then feeding the larvae to cows, poultry, and chicken.

Picture of chickens eating larvae

Photograph courtesy National Geographic Studio

According to Xincheng An, a researcher involved in the project at the Guangdong Entomological Institute, the soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) is one of only a few species of insects that can effectively process kitchen garbage.

An and others are working to improve on this agricultural model with hopes that it could dramatically help reduce waste in the agricultural system. Chinese companies are already investing.

Watch how Chinese scientists turn soldier fly larvae into fertilizer and animal food.

Related: The Bugs that Decompose Bodies and Help Solve CSI Secrets

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Food Waste: An accounting | The Plate

    […] At the grassroots level, the most radical of food-waste fighters practice freeganism – a portmanteau word combining “free” and “vegan” – in which participants pursue an anti-consumerist, off-the-grid lifestyle that involves foraging, urban gardening, and dumpster diving to retrieve discarded goods and waste food. Admittedly, this isn’t for everyone. (For other solutions, see: One-Third of Food is Lost or Wasted: What Can Be Done from our Future of Food series and Are Fly Farms a Solution to Food Waste? […]

    March 31, 2015112:59 pm
  2. Are Fly Farms a Solution to Food Waste? | No. Betteridge’s Law

    […] Are Fly Farms a Solution to Food Waste? […]

    April 12, 2015110:32 am