In 2012, five M.B.A. students began developing an idea to address food insecurity in the world’s urban slums: insect farming. Not only did their idea win the world’s most prestigious social enterprise competition, they beat out ten-thousand other competitors and were presented the $1 million Hult Prize by former U.S. President, Bill Clinton.
Since winning the award, two of the students, Mohammed Ashour and Gabe Mott, launched Aspire Foods Group. It’s a social enterprise focused on farming edible insects. It has operations in Mexico, Ghana, and the United States. Compared to livestock, insects require far less resources to convert the same amount of protein; less farmland, less water, and emit far fewer greenhouse gases.
“Now we’re looking at the footprint of our food,” explained Ashour. “How much water resources has it consumed? How much energy? How much land? What are the emissions looking like? That’s where insect farming becomes extremely attractive.”
Aspire Foods: Insects as nourishmentMohammed Ashour and Gabe Mott, founders of Aspire Foods, discuss insects as a sustainable food solution.
The two innovators believe that dedicating more resources to insect farming is the key to popularizing it as a meat alternative.
“If you bring commercial processes to insect farming, you could improve the scale and get yields that are far superior to any conventional livestock, while bringing costs down,” Mott said.
Mohammed Ashour and Gabe Mott joined May Lee in our Los Angeles studio and shared their vision of providing economically-challenged and malnourished populations with high-protein, sustainable food solutions.