This exciting project came to our attention a little over a year ago, and we’re excited to see that it’s going full steam ahead!
This is an Embark Fellowship campaign. If we raise our target, Brown University will donate $25,000 to our project!
What’s up with fish?
The world’s population is growing rapidly, and the global demand for animal protein—from fish to poultry, beef, and pork— is growing with it. But there’s a problem: animal feeds are made from wild-caught fish like anchovies and sardines. These fish are caught using highly destructive fishing methods that result in unintentional by-catch and the destruction of coral reefs. One third of global fish catch doesn’t go towards direct human consumption; it goes to feeding animals. As a result, more than 85% of the world’s fisheries are exploited. We are feeding fish to other animals, and it doesn’t make sense.
Meanwhile, the world’s population is increasing rapidly and is projected to hit 9.7 billion by 2050. We desperately need a new way to feed a growing population that is not at odds with the health of our oceans.
Meet the black soldier fly.
The black soldier fly is a friendly non-buzzing, non-biting fly native to tropical and temperate regions of the world. As larvae, it feeds ravenously on organic waste—everything from spent grains from breweries to fruit and veggie peels. We divert this organic waste as our input and the black soldier fly larvae metabolize it to become our nutrient-rich output. This insect protein is then sold to chicken and fish farmers as a great protein base for their animals.
What We Do
We partner with food and beverage companies—like breweries, restaurants, and fruit & vegetable processors—and implement an automated, retrofitted shipping container we like to call The Refinery. We’re working with some of the world’s leading experts in black soldier flies to develop an algorithm that automates the entire process. Our sensors measure data in realtime and the algorithm maximizes efficiency. Meanwhile, a community of microbes pre-treats the waste, breaking down fibrous content into more digestible compounds so we can work with a wide range of organic waste streams.
What does The Refinery look like?
Viraj Sikand and Maya Faulstich-Hon are seniors at Brown University studying Environmental Studies, and Eric Katz is a senior studying Business at the University of Michigan. They share a drive to create more sustainable food systems and a passion for black soldier flies. Here they are with the first Kulisha bug-growing greenhouse:
Click here or on any of the photos for full info on how to fund this amazing project.