The basement is not small at all. This home is cavernous, and through strategic furniture placement, we have only made it more so. Why? It helps separate the space into purposeful work areas. This leaves us with weird empty spaces, or sadly underused space, which we wish to convert into systems that work for us. However, we try to follow the rule of using free, trashed or recycled materials to attain our goals. We try to attain extreme self-sufficiency in an apocalypse setting. The apocalypse that we live through, yearly, is the dearth of revenue that happens within our respective fields of work. Every year we develop means of being happier while starving, or, avoiding starving altogether. An it has paid off. In 2016, we did not run out of money and food at the same time. So far this year, I have replenished the pantry enough to tide us over a month and this does not take into account our newfound ability to grow our own food.
One of these sources of food is… bugs. I know very well that nobody wants to eat bugs, but, unfortunately, that is the exact reason why our children will be eating bugs, soon enough. The good news is that insect-based protein is incredibly easy, affordable and sustainable. Exactly one year ago I received 200 mealworms and began my entomophagy journey… but I haven’t eaten bugs yet! You see, I am quite attached to my tiny little herd and I am still working on optimizing my production cycle while trying to calculate the ideal setup.
I have a master ensuite in my apartment that separates into two distinct room. Each is about 9 x 6 feet. The first room houses a vintage toilet that doesn’t work very well. I do use the sink and vanity mirror. We plan on removing the toilet and using that 3 x 3 area to house a climate controlled grow chamber (long-term). Next to that room is a similar sized room that houses a bathtub and a deep narrow Linen closet. It has a small window that looks onto the building owner’s garden. This room is entirely covered in tiles. It is easy to clean and heat up. The space is easy to keep at 25C and 25% humidity which is ideal for mealworms and plants, which make very little noise. The close proximity to the bedroom will be a challenge once the aquaponic system comes in.
At this time there is only 1 rack and the bugs take up 50% of it. I already have a second rack to put next to it and plan on having a small aquaponics system, a few shelves of microgreens and about 5 shelves devoted to mealworms. Still figuring out the ideal shelf height and sourcing ideal containers. We have high ceilings for a basement apartment so we can extend the grow areas quite a bit. The custom low-profile led lighting system is in R&D phase but will produce much better greens than what we have right now. I am already offering mealworms for sale. Here is a little article I wrote about the process.