Breeding insects at home for dinner! The story of Daniel Vargas

What if one of your friends decided to breed insects in the sake of nutrition and ecology? A member of the Uriji family did it. Look what happened!

In 2017, Uriji’s lead designer Daniel Vargas, had an amazing dream: this creative wanted to become an insects farmer in order to make a change in ordinary human diets. He started learning about ways to breed crickets at his own home, in Caracas.

Did you know this is a way to decrease world hunger? Yes, in 2013 the United Nations reported that including insects in our diet could reduce hunger issues, thanks to their benefits on nutrition and environmental protection. This may sound a little disgusting, but if you want to change that perspective, keep reading!

Science has proved that bugs beat out mammals when it comes to their nutritional value. They require less water to be bred, they eat waste and produce less greenhouse gasses. Having that in mind, Daniel proposed himself to venture into this field, in Venezuela.

A year ago he talked about this dream in Uriji. The first stage of his plan was to learn how to breed crickets. Starting by doing some research, he found a museum of entomology in his country. He also tried to assist an entomology Congress at the University of Los Andes in Mérida, but it was canceled.

Vargas did not let that de-motivate him. Looking for valuable people or information that could help him achieve his dream, he found an amazing biologist from Venezuela, named Carmen Andara. With her help and a pair of books about insect feeding and farming, his project began to take shape.

Daniel chose wheat worms, which are a kind of scarab. In October, he got in contact with a local lizard expert who rises insects to feed his pets. He gave him some larvae that Daniel used to create a few biodomes for their breeding, ending up with a model based on plastic boxes.

2018 has brought good news for this dreamer: after a few months waiting, the first larvae were born. Daniel says he felt bad with the idea of killing them, but after a few minutes of reflection on eating an animal (in this case an insect) raised by himself, he found the courage to move on. He followed the following steps for the cooking: he placed the larvae into salted water and then cooked them on low heat with toasted tomato oil.

The truth is, after all this time Daniel has become a successful insect farmer and cook. When he finally tried them, he said that he found them really tasty! The next step for him is to prepare a dish based on larvae so that his Uriji friends can try them too.

“Would you like to try some insects?” Those were the final words Vargas wrote in his story. If your answer is yes, go to Daniel’s profile and let him know you are interested in his project. Maybe he will invite you to try his preparation too!

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