TriCycle promotes the role of edible insects in the circular economy and gives foods a third life by reintroducing them into the food chain rather than composting them, thus reducing GHG emissions.
In Canada, nearly 60% of food is wasted and our waste generates 4.6% of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
The solutions currently offered, such as composting and anaerobic digestion, degrade the nutritional value of food and generate low added value by-products.
At the same time, and while global meat consumption is expected to double by 2050, the breeding of animals for food consumption emits 6.3% of GHGs. Especially since the production of their feed pollutes the water, impoverishes soils and degrades ecosystems.
The insects: Food of the future
Insects represent a sustainable source of protein for both human and animal consumption, which can be used in particular in the composition of feed for poultry and fish.
In addition, it is possible to breed insects from certain types of traceable food residues. Insects also convert food into body mass much more efficiently than most other farm animals, while emitting less GHGs.
In addition, insect droppings have fertilizing properties that can help optimize growth and stimulate the immune system of plants.
Turn problems into opportunities
The objectives of Tricycle are to:
1) produce high quality edible insects with low environmental impact and generate a by-product beneficial to vegetable crops;
2) design a technological showcase demonstrating the viability of a new process for the enhancement of local food residues using insects in medium-scale urban farming; and
3) carry out research on the fight against food waste and entotechnologies with a view to developing circular recycling processes adaptable to various contexts.
Our little story
Before thinking about raising insects, Louise and Alexis loved dealing with the management of organic waste through composting. So much so that they developed and then installed vermicomposting facilities at Concordia University and then published a technical guide for on-site composting for institutions, businesses and industries with the support of Recyc-Québec.
Louise also completed a master’s degree in vermicomposting and then a doctorate in organic matter management practices that would allow the objectives of banning landfill in Quebec to be achieved.
Afterwards, both worked in consultation to support several clients in the management of several hundred tons of very diverse residual materials. Une expertise qui a menée au développement de Brome Compost dont Alexis fut associé.
2010 to 2016
During this time, Étienne was passionate about insects, all types, from the scorpion to the butterfly. He had bred them for several years and marketed some of them.
In 2010, he founded AnimaNature, a company dedicated to the promotion of entomology and natural sciences in Quebec. He offers workshops and organizes the Salon des Insectes de Montréal.
In 2014, he joined the Insect Farm team in Frelishburg for his expertise in rearing mealworms and crickets for human consumption. A few years later, he lent a hand to Mirdo.
Do not forget to mention that Louise also has extensive experience in insect breeding, whether as assistant entomologist at the Biodôme de Montréal, scientific animator at the Botanical Garden or for Butterflies in freedom or finally as a responsible for the greenhouses at Concordia University.
2016 to 2018
In 2016, Louise and her student Médhavi Dussault (Université de Sherbrooke) conducted one of the largest surveys ever carried out on the public’s perception and openness to the consumption of insects. With the help of Didier, this article was submitted a few years later to the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed.
In 2018, Louise and Didier undertook a complementary survey with the support of the David Suzuki Foundation and which this time is carried out at the pan-Canadian level. The first results are presented at an international congress in Vancouver in November 2018 and will be the subject of a scientific publication in 2019.
In 2017, Louise and Didier jointly launched a project to carry out a proof of concept for the establishment of a model merging the circular economy and urban agriculture on a district scale. The Blanc de Gris mushroom farm, located in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, produces gray oyster mushrooms from the residues of a microbrewery and cafes in the same district. The growth residues of the fungus (mycelium) are then managed by composting, a process which decreases the value of this by-product. The idea of the project was therefore to find a method of upcycling that would add value to it.
Laboratory tests on mealworms have shown that a diet based on this mycelium would improve the nutritional quality of larvae.
The TriCycle initiative is therefore born from this opportunity to breed edible insects:
while focusing on an optimized diet and in symbiosis with a circular economy process on a city scale
while generating a by-product beneficial to vegetable crops (frass)
while demonstrating the viability of such a process for enhancing local food residues using insects
while fighting against food waste
Long-time friend of Louise and Alexis, Étienne logically joins the team in order to help the development of the breeding farms. Finally, Guillaume, a young political science graduate and eternal friend of Didier, joins the team to help with communications and marketing.