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According to Racing Extinction, livestock farming is one of the main contributors to climate change. Humans eat way too much meat and the demand is literally ripping apart the world we live in. As a solution, many have turned to green vegetables to meet their caloric and dietary requirements. But that way of living does not appeal to everyone.

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For those who need a steady stream of meaty protein, the answer could be mealworms. You’ve probably heard of this alternative before, but because very few are practicing it, the option sounds completely off the wall. It also doesn’t help that food and game shows market the nutritious bugs as nasty and unappetizing. When in reality, (based on my own experience) cultured mealworms taste completely neutral with a slightly sweet finish. Curious eaters and early adopters may find it hard to find the tasty treats in their local grocery store. You simply won’t find a mealworms section, even in Asian outlets. The only way to get your hands on the bugs is to put on your farming hat and grow them within the comfort of your home.

Livin Farms Insect Hive

Insect cultivation is normally reserved for experts, but thanks to an innovative startup, virtually anyone can farm mealworms effortlessly without guidance. The company is offering a growing kit about the size of a cabinet drawer, which serves as a hive for the bugs. “The hive essentially acts as a fancy ant farm, except instead of ants, you’re breeding meal beetles (Tenebrio molitor). When you get the hive, you’ll also receive a starter kit filled with beetle pupae. The pupae then hatches into beetles, which then reproduce and lay eggs that hatch into larvae, or mealworms,” wrote Nicole Lee from Engadget.

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The tiny critters eat what you eat. If you have leftover salad or fruit scraps from dinner, simply toss them into the drawer. After roughly a week of cultivation, the worms can be harvested and eaten. Each batch will yield 200-500 grams, which is good for 3-4 meals. The best part is that some actually turn into pupae, allowing you to return them back to the drawer where they will hatch into their edible form.

Contrary to popular belief, mealworms are incredibly healthy. They have the same protein content as beef, and contain more B12 than eggs. They are also leaner and provide similar essential amino acid value as tofu. In their natural state, the bugs are packed with fiber and choline, components that promote digestion in the body.

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Kickstarter Information

Individuals who are interested in this unconventional method of meat replacement can order a kit from Kickstarter. The contraption costs $499 (retail price is $699) under the Early Bird packages. Each shipment comes with a recipe book to help you incorporate the worms in your daily meals. Estimated delivery period for the orders is scheduled for November 2016. “We want to empower people to know where their food comes from and grow it in their own home,” explained Katharina Unger, the founder and CEO of Livin Farms.

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