Art,  Food Supply

Gourmet Grasshoppers and Designer Breeders

By The Editors

It’s all about raising awareness and providing the necessary tools to make it globally feasible, bringing to the Western world what is common in many other places around the globe: eating insects, or better eating gourmet insect meals.

In a previous post (Edible Insects: Will They Become a Global Diet Staple?) we wrote: “The human population keeps growing – by 2050, it’s likely there will be 9 billion people on our planet – or our village.  Food may become scarce.  What can we do to make sure there is enough of it for the growing population?  We need to think differently, and look across cultures to find ways for increasing food security. Edible insects have always been a part of human diets. It is estimated that over 2 billion people normally eat them. Insects are considered delicacies in many parts of the world. Insects are high in protein, fat and mineral contents. They can be eaten whole or ground into a powder or paste, and incorporated into other foods.”

Very recently, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) started to raise awareness on the value of insects as food source by publishing a book entitled “Edible insects – future prospects for food and feed security”. The book draws on a broad range of scientific research.

Now, the work of Mansour Ourasanah, a US-based designer who grew up in Togo, West Africa, adds artistic and applied value to that provided by scientific research.

In 2012, Mansour designed the “LEPSIS”, a kitchen appliance for breeding and freezing grasshoppers.  The design is among the finalists for this year’s Index: Award, which will be presented in Denmark in August to honor innovative solutions to global challenges.

Mansour says, “In order to move toward a sustainable future, we must do away with our culinary hangups and redefine the paradigm of food. This conviction inspired the aesthetic treatment of LEPSIS. Growing grasshoppers can be messy, but the clear acrylic walls and the wooden base reflect my desire to make this activity a natural and transparent part of the urban kitchen environment by 2050. “

Below, you can see what the LEPSIS looks like.


Mansour describes the LEPSIS with these words: “LEPSIS comprises four modular units that attach and detach with ease for functional flexibility and space efficiency in small urban dwellings. When combined, the units create a vessel optimized for neatly breeding, feeding, harvesting and killing grasshoppers, before turning them into food. The details of the vessel visually dictate how the units are assembled, making the process intuitive and fluid. The assembled vessel, inspired by traditional clay pots, is a functional kitchen appliance, a decorative item, and a symbol for a sustainable future.”

We feel comfortable in saying that Mansour’s creativity will help spread the word about edible insects and make them a more acceptable food choice in the Western world.

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