Larvelæring ("Larvaelearning") has aimed to communicate research and knowledge about insects as food and a feed ingredient. The focus was especially aimed towards children and youth in Norway, to increase their knowledge on sustainable food production and scientific method.
The project has developed school material aimed for use in middle school (14-16 years old pupils) where the pupils will learn about the scientific method and explore the use and benefits of edible insects as a more sustainable and circular food production. A pilot version of this work has been tested at two schools in Bergen this autumn 2021. A teaching package has been developed with powerpoint presentations, student folders and a guide for the teacher, aiming to lead to little extra work for the teacher wanting to use the material in class.
We have through a cooperation with an environmental organization for children (Miljøagentene) published an article on the topic in their magazine as well as online on their webpage. We also hosted a workshop on the topic of edible insects at their yearly meeting for members in September 2021. December 2022 we arranged a christmas workshop with the local members of the organization, with edible insects thematics.
Through an insect-eating challenge on social media we have invited people to receive edible insects in the mail and experience first-hand the taste and concept of edible insects. We have also used time and funding to communicate the topic of edible insects as food and feed in both physical press and in digital media.
With climate changes accelerating it is important to have everyone onboard, including the children, which are our most valuable asset for forming a different future. The Susinchain Project, which Larvelæring is associated with, aims to cover many of the sustainability goals set by the EU and with this supplementary funding we could also contribute to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says that children have the right to be heard in situations concerning them. By including children in possible climate solutions, like insects growing on waste, we can give them tools to handle their own future and show them the power of innovation and knowledge. By cooperating organisations already working with teaching children sustainability, such as miljøagentene, we have been able to reach more people by being able to use their existing channels. Meeting schoolchildren in local science fairs and other public events has been an efficient way of meeting young people and have good conversations about what sustainability is and spark their interest in science and solutions to meet our climate goals.
This project will focus on the dissemination of results from the EU funded project Susinchain. Susinchain aims for upscaling and commercialization of the European insect sector in the short term and remving obstacles for an increased insect production and consumption in Europe. A shift from animal protein sources to using more insects in the diets of humans and animals will be a contribution towards reaching our climate goals and a more sustainable food production. This future with different food production systems and eating habits does however depend heavily on large involvement of both research as well as an acceptance in the general population. Children are the main stakeholders of the future and have the right to be involved in their own decisions. We therefore aim to increase the knowledge on this topic in children and try to make them more familiar with the idea of using insects as food and animal feed.
We are aiming to reach the children with relevant information by using social media to launch an insect-eating campaign using popular influencers. The aim is that more people will take the challenge and try this if someone they admire tries it first, and that this can help remove some of the negative associations many people have with eating insects. We will also make a teaching kit for school classes, focusing on 9th grade (14-15 years old), where we use insects as a way to teach about circular economy. Insects will also be introduced into the existing campaign of klimakokkenen which reaches 250 school classes per year. We hope that by exposing children to insects as food and explaining their environmental and nutritional benefits, that the children having participated in this project, will feel more familiar with the use of insects as food and feed. We also hope this project could spark interest in green research and innovation and show children ways they can participate in forming their own future.