Jaimini Solanki, Jordan Walsh, Samuel Rhodes and Thomas Thomas, Cohort 2019
As our population rapidly grows, we need to find new ways of farming food to meet the demand. If this is not done, it is very likely that humans will not be able to produce enough food for this ever-growing population, regardless of any efforts made. Our SELA Food Shortages Team had the challenge of applying engineering solutions to solve future food shortages.We explored several technologies, considering their key benefits and drawbacks, which should help save lives by meeting the increasing food demands. We wanted to get people as excited about technologies to help with the food crisis that we ourselves had become passionate about researching. We discovered how we could revolutionize the ways we produce food and utilize our resources to feed our populations in innovative and healthy ways!
Alongside these, we also obtained the name ‘insects team’ because we wanted to show the benefits of insect consumption for protein. Interestingly, more than 2 billion people worldwide already consume insects as a regular part of their diet. Insects are a fantastic alternative to beef and lamb with over 2x the protein density, faster lifecycles, easier digestion and ease of farming! We wanted to display some crickets in a cricket farm, so that people could see them! Whilst we were unable to let them taste real crickets, we did the deed ourselves as we felt we couldn’t just recommend eating insects if we weren’t willing to ourselves! Our preference was Crunchy Critters - it surprised all of us how much better than expected they were. In fact, the 5 packets soon got finished surprisingly quickly! We wanted to also show the diverse range of recipes available using insects and the benefits of using them. Utilizing them for protein powders put into commercial food for example could be one way we could reduce beef production to sustainable levels.
Throughout our project we thoroughly enjoyed working as a team, and the research we undertook was both exciting and challenging to understand deeper risks associated with them and present them in a palatable way for aspiring teenage engineers. We have no doubt that these technologies and others yet to be invented, if adopted, will feed a brighter future for everyone as well as the planet!
Festival of the Mind runs physically and online 17-27 September 2020. For more details please visit the Festival webpages.