Urban farming is expanding as startups around the world are innovating solutions for food security and climate change. Copenhagen is home to many such startups, among them Insekt KBH is one of those that are connecting vegetables, coffee and crickets.
Story Created by Greater CPH Post
A day in the life
Imagine you start the day with a sip of coffee. For lunch, you have a pizza topped with fresh-harvested oyster mushrooms. In the afternoon, you drink a shot of apple, ginger and crickets (that’s right, crickets) for a doze of nutritious filled juice. At dinnertime, you pluck some vegetables from your terrace garden and add to your plate. In the end, you go to sleep with a warm feeling inside. And wake up the next day to do all of it again. This is the future insekt KBH are developing that fights food security while not compromising on the healthy lifestyle.
Urban farming is just as much about sharing, reconnecting (with) nature, reinforcing bonds within neighbours and to create entire new communities and food systems
The concept of growing food within the cities is nothing new, but the trending phenomena of urban farming is expanding into new, more elaborate value sets. No longer, is it a simple means of providing to closed-off communities.
To the modern citizen, urban farming is just as much about sharing, reconnecting (with) nature, reinforcing neighbourly bonds and to create entire new communities and food systems.
With its manifold and innovative city landscape, Copenhagen is turning into a fertilized ground for plenty of exciting urban farming initiatives.
An Urban Ecosystem within an Urban Ecosystem
In two graffiti-covered containers at Nørrebro, oyster mushrooms are sprouting from sacks filled with discarded coffee grind. They belong to BeyondCoffee, who turn organic coffee waste collected from cafes, restaurants and universities into oyster mushrooms. And the company will not run out of stock soon as Danes consume 20 million cups of coffee a day. The mushrooms are ultimately sold at BeyondCoffee’s shop in Jægersborggade or served at local restaurants, for example at Bæst, where pancetta, leeks and pecorino accompany them on pizza menu no. 7. After harvesting four generations of mushrooms, the coffee grind turns into a pale, but very protein-rich substrate: the ideal insect fodder.
In a basement in Nordvest, just 5 minutes away, one can hear the most unlikely of sounds: the smooth, constant chirps from thousands of crickets. It is the home of BuggingDenmark, the country’s first and only cricket farm. It’s founder, Jakob Rukov, has dedicated himself to promote the gastronomic and nutritious qualities of edible insects as an alternative to traditional meats, and he envisions that small insect farms will soon exist all over the city. Because insects will eat almost anything they are an efficient way of turning food waste – even re-used coffee remains – into sustainable protein.
Alongside BuggingDenmark, Philip Price and Jakob Rukov the co-founders of Insekt KBH have also started the novel food company that wants to serve edible insects into the mainstream food industry by integrating them into familiar edible commodities, and soon they will launch their first product: an apple-ginger shot enriched with crickets.
Keeping in line with the spirit and values of urban farming, both companies have made circular dynamics their core script. For instance, to reduce and reuse waste, organic pulp leftovers from Insekt KBH’s juice production is used as flavor-full cricket feed at the farm.
Located right above the BuggingDenmark is TagTomat. The founder, Mads Boserup, started designing his own self-watering plant boxes on the roof of a garbage shed five years ago. Since then, TagTomat has sprouted into a lively business that promotes green, sustainable communities within the urban setting: industrial sites, rooftops, backyards, schools and public parks are just some of the locations where nature is re-emerging. TagTomat also hosts workshops and show tours besides recently publishing a book with inspiration to a greener urban lifestyle.
To tie it all up, guess where some of the plants’ fertilizer stems from?