Millions of tons of food in the United States ends up in our landfills. Patrick Pittaluga of Atlanta, Georgia would rather it end up feeding fish and farm animals.
Patrick is starting a business called “Grubbly Farms,” where consumer food waste is fed to black soldier flies, and the larvae are then used as a healthy source of protein. Not many of us would sit down for a meal of fly larvae, but chickens are fine with it.
Keeping a ready supply of flies on hand wouldn’t seem to be too hard, but Patrick says it’s tough getting them to breed in captivity under artificial light.
We bought 700 larvae on Amazon, believe it or not, and we started actually breeding them in our laundry room," he says. "We set up a fly cage, or l guess it’s a mosquito net that we hung from the ceiling and taped to the floor, hatched the larvae and the flies, and started experimenting with different combinations of lightbulbs until we found a combination that worked for us to get them to breed."
The Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy Technology is helping Patrick with research and development to improve the breeding and rearing process of the flies and larvae.
In his research of uses for fly larvae, Patrick says he found that the backyard chicken market is underserved in terms of insect-based protein.
"The majority of the people in the market sell dehydrated meal worms, most of which are imported from China. So we entered the market as a U.S. grown, eco-friendly chicken treat," says Patrick. "We plan on expanding into actually manufacturing chicken feed, and then beyond that, we aim to introduce lines of dog food, dog treats, potentially cat food, and fish feed."
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