News and notes from the industry and the insect world

Insects for food initiative wins students $1 million prize

Aspire, a group of students from McGill University, was announced as the winner of the 2013 Hult Prize Challenge for their work to improve worldwide access to edible insects. As winners they receive $1 million in “seed money” to turn their idea into a reality. The Hult Prize is a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative. Aspire was presented with the award by former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York.

Here’s how Aspire describes its mission. “We develop and distribute affordable and sustainable insect farming technologies for countries with established histories of entomophagy, or insect-consumption. Our farming solutions stabilize the supply of edible insects year-round, drastically improving and expanding the economic ecosystem surrounding insect consumption in the regions serviced. Not only do our durable farming units create income stability for rural farmers, they have a wider social impact by lowering the price of edible insects. This is central to our mission of increasing access to highly nutritious edible insects amongst the poorest, and therefore neediest, members of society.”


For the budding entomologist

Yes, it’s difficult to get kids to use a vacuum, but what if it’s a vacuum being used to suck up bugs? And what if that bug vacuum is in the shape of a gun? Now we’re talking. A new toy from online store, www.toystogrowon.com, promotes kids’ interests in bugs and, who knows, just might be the vehicle for developing a future entomologist. Here’s the catalog’s description: “Catch and observe tons of creepy, crawly critters! Just place our unique vacuum over an insect, pull the trigger…and it gently sucks the bug into a built-in observation capsule.” — Brad Harbison


Book explores why humans fear, loathe and love insects

The human reaction to insects is neither purely biological nor simply cultural. And no one reacts to insects with indifference. Insects frighten, disgust and fascinate us. That is the premise of a new book, “The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Loathe, and Love Insects,” by Jeff Lockwood. The Amazon.com review of this book states: “Lockwood explores this phenom-enon through evolutionary science, human history, and contemporary psychology, as well as a debilitating bout with entomophobia in his work as an entomologist. Exploring the nature of anxiety and phobia, Lockwood explores the lively debate about how much of our fear of insects can be attributed to ancestral predisposition for our own survival and how much is learned through individual experiences.” Visit http://amzn.to/1fF1beY to learn more about this book.

December 2013
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