According to the UN, the number of people on earth will jump to 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.6 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. Experts voice together that we need to bring up plans to feed this explosively growing population. Many alternative future foods are being developed and introduced around the world by ambitious entrepreneurs and South Korea also is observing the increasing number of the farmers who grow edible grubs.
Yangmee Kim, CEO of Insects Garden Farm, worked for a large distribution company for 10 years before she and her retired husband decided to move to a countryside to grow chilies.
“We had absolutely no idea how to grow 1,000 units of chillies but we did anyway. 700 of them died of anthracnose. Adding insult to injury, my father was struggling with his bad liver and I had to take care of him also. However, I heard that edible grubs were good for liver and I started digging to get some proper knowledge and information. I took a course at Gyeongnam Insects School in 2019. I learned that white-spotted flower chaffer beetle larvae especially contain high protein which is good for liver. A larva after removing the water contains 58g of protein per 100g of larvae. It is more than chicken breast of 23 to 25g and tenebrio molitor larvae of 53g. The Korean medicine book Dongui Bogam records white-spotted flower chaffer beetle larvae are good for liver diseases and improve symptoms of diabetes, menstrual irregularity, failing of eyesight, fatigue, abscess and hemorrhoids. Gathered enough knowledge alongside necessary skills, I launched the business with confidence.” says Kim.
|▲ Insects Garden Farm / CEO Yangmee Kim|
The flagship product of Insects Garden Farm is Kitongchankum that contains more than 95% of white-spotted flower chaffer beetle larvae. Generally, removing feces of the larvae takes 2 to 3 days because the larvae lose more than 30% weight if it goes more than 3 days and it leaves the unique smell. Kim did not like the smell so she decided to remove the smell even if losing the weight means less productivity.
“The larvae normally eat the remains of sawdust which actually is rotten and this causes the smell. So I’m using glutinous rice powder and tot (brown sea vegetable) powder instead to make Kitongchankum sticks for us to eat easily.” says Kim.
Growing and eating edible grubs are not only good for supplying protein but it is good for environment. In order to produce 1kg of beef, we need 13kg of grains. In order to gain 1kg protein, we only need 2.1kg of grains. Cattle emit average 47kg of methane gas a year and it is equivalent to a vehicle emitting greenhouse gas a year. A research argues that cattle farming contributes to global warming by 18%. Growing edible grubs, on the other hand, does not cause any of these issues.
“We are living in times of global warming, climate change and food crisis. It is good for us entrepreneurs to take these issues seriously when start a business. Insects Garden Farm is determined to supply eco-friendly food solutions for the future and we will make our sailing firm and unwavering with a great sense of responsibility.” says Kim. <PowerKorea>
김태인 기자 firstname.lastname@example.org