Zero Waste Scotland are running three public events on the future of food with a focus on farming insects like mealworm and black soldier fly.
The events will be delivered in partnership with Dutch insect sector experts NGN, New Generation Nutrition, under the EU project ValuSect.
New European Union regulations introduced in 2017 allow farming of seven insect species which can upgrade food waste to high quality protein. A recent Zero Waste Scotland report identifies insect farming as a sustainable way to produce more food using less resources – and with lucrative jobs potential to boot.
They believe insect farming could help add value to some of the food waste generated in Scotland because insects can be fed on surplus produce from arable farms, supermarkets and bakeries on everything from broccoli to crisps. The exoskeletons can then be made into a bioplastic, the oils are a useful feed supplement, and even the manure can be used as a biofertiliser.
Dr William Clark, pictured, a bioeconomy specialist at Zero Waste Scotland, explained: “Insect farming could become the next big thing – a way to plug the predicted ‘protein gap’ that has real potential to bring Scotland’s carbon footprint down at the same time.
“It’s also open to everyone, from householders to smallholders, existing food producers looking to diversify to companies in the bioeconomy sector, and entrepreneurs with an eye for innovation. That’s because it doesn’t require lots of space – insect farms can range in size from a small shed or a few shipping containers to industrial scale feed mills.
“You need to know how to look after them but, in all cases, you can produce significant volumes of sustainable protein using a fraction of the resources.”
He said insect farming is already well established all over the world but is not yet established in Scotland, adding: “Scotland really is a great place to farm insects and we’ve seen lots of interest.
“I would encourage anyone with an interest to sign up to the events to find out more.”
An introductory session took place on Monday and tonight, Thursday, there is a seminar on protein production, followed by one of the circular bioeconomy on November 26.
To book a place visit https://zerowastescotland.org.uk/events.