Written by Jerred Ziegler.
According to National Geographic Magazine, there will be nine billion people living on Earth by 2050, and a major lack of food to feed them all. To put it into perspective, that is two billion more people than right now. With hunger happening daily, National Geographic is posing the question – how do we expect to feed two billion more people? The solution could be innovation and making sustainable changes, something Glen Courtright and his team at EnviroFlight are working at every day.
EnviroFlight was founded in 2009 and received a $250,000 Ohio Third Frontier grant from the Dayton Development Coalition the following year. The company is in the business of breeding bugs – specifically the black soldier fly. EnviroFlight collects and hatches their eggs, and the resulting larva then consume food waste for two weeks. After these two weeks, the larva are dried and pressed to create a high-protein insect meal for animals. The idea is to create a food source for animals that is more sustainable than the typical crops used like corn and soybeans. More efficient ways to feed animals means that farms will be able to accommodate more livestock and, as a result, will be able to produce more food for humans to consume.
EnviroFlight currently sells its product to fish farms and zoos nationwide. The company is in growth mode and is in the midst of upgrading its entire facility, which is set to be complete this spring. This upgrade will enable them to increase output by five times.
In addition to expanding EnviroFlight’s capacity to convert more waste here in Ohio, the company is talking to sustainable farmers across the country to license the EnviroFlight technology. The idea is to accelerate the growth of the sustainable movement while allowing EnviroFlight to optimize their process and complete further research at home.
Despite this expansion, Courtright is committed to keeping the company’s base in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The city’s access to local engineers, farmers and university students has been a big part of EnviroFlight’s success.
“The need for expanding our process across the country is crucial, but the training, research and design behind this technology will always be in Yellow Springs,” said Courtright. “We want our customers to come here for two weeks to learn our process, so that they leave with a solid plan for implementation.”
David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, recently toured EnviroFlight’s facilities to see the company’s expansion firsthand.
“To see an Ohio Third Frontier investment at this stage in the process, where a company is ready to rapidly grow, demonstrates the work being done to support tech entrepreneurs with innovative ideas in our state,” said Goodman.