As the 17-year-cicada cycles nears and the insects get ready to descend upon the East Coast, some people are excited to saute them with lemon and butter. Even the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is on board, having recently released a report suggesting we should all be eating more insects.

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Mansour Ourasanah agrees. That’s why he, in collaboration with KitchenAid, has designed Lepsis, a small, decorative pod for the kitchen that’s used to grow insects for food. The sleek terrarium consists of four individual sections developed to breed, grow and harvest protein-rich grasshoppers.

Ourasanah cites environmental and nutritional problems bolstered by dependence on meat and population growth as reasons to grow your own insects. Beleaguered by inhumane conditions and genetically modified animals pumped full of antibiotics, factory farms require vast swaths of land, where flatulent bovines and other ruminant livestock annually produce about 80 million metric tons of methane gas. According to the EPA, this accounts for about 28 percent of global methane emissions from human-related activities.

“With much of the damage being done in the industrialized world, the objective of this project was to find a sustainably viable alternative to current food production through a meticulous analysis of modern nutritional challenges and expectations,” Ourasanah writes.

Ourasanah adds: “Eighty percent of the world population already eats insects. Unfortunately, the remaining 20 percent have the most impact on the ecological fate of the planet.”

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Therefore, Ourasanah says, the challenge moving forward was to find a practical way to introduce this unconventional nutritional experience to a rapidly expanding urban environment. He believes the Lepsis could win over some skeptics, especially for those who find eating insects repulsive.

“In order to move toward a sustainable future, we must do away with our culinary hangups and redefine the paradigm of food,” Ourasanah writes.

Although the Lepsis is still in the prototype phase, it is a finalist for an INDEX award, one of the biggest design awards in the world and one that champions designs that improve life.

via Pop Sci

Credit: Mansour Ourasanah, KitchenAid