April 22, 2022, Halifax, NS: Time is running short to solve the climate crisis, but we can still make a difference as global citizens. Now is the time to act, innovate, and implement! “Oberland Agriscience is forging an innovative trail with our black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) farm on the fringes of Halifax, Nova Scotia,” enthused founder and CEO, Greg Wanger. Established in 2017, Oberland leads with a commitment to protect the environment and create a sustainable business. As a growing company, Oberland strives for transparency in how our mission aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), with our key focus on:
- Goal 2 - Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
- Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
We will focus more on Oberland’s dedication to supporting efforts in other UNSDGs in a future post, but for now, let’s delve into how Oberland is working towards becoming a zero-waste producer of insect protein, live feed, and frass, and how we are investing in our community and our planet.
Currently Oberland is operating out of its pilot facility; a 7500 sq ft warehouse that has the entire BSFL lifecycle churning away inside. Authorized to receive organic wastes by Nova Scotia Environment, Oberland is processing ~2 tonnes of pre-consumer organics per week. And we are scaling! Oberland has broken ground on its new 100,000 sq ft facility in the Ragged Lake industrial park. In this facility Oberland will channel over 12,000 tonnes of Atlantic Canada’s pre-consumer organic wastes and by-products per year. Wanger explained, “Once at our facility, we sustainably transform this waste into a nutritious insect feed to raise BSFL.”
Why BSFL, you may ask. “Well, insects, the black soldier fly in particular, are incredibly efficient in converting feed - in this case, an extensive variety of organic material - into biomass,” continued Wanger. “Our cycle raises the black soldier fly from egg, to larvae, to pupae, to adult black soldier flies ready to mate, beginning the cycle again.” Along the lifecycle of the BSFL, most of the larvae are harvested and become a highly nutritious protein product. Another product that Oberland siphons off is frass. Simply put, frass is the solid excrement of insect larvae - its poop!
Here comes the science bit, reader! Nutrients, water, and light are the basic ingredients for crops and plants to grow. As the world’s population continues to grow, water and soil resources are under pressure to perform. Common synthetic fertilizers can reintroduce nitrate levels into the soil, however the leaching of nitrate into waterways and aquatic ecosystems can contaminate and pollute groundwater. “Nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers are essential to raising healthy crops, however, only a fraction of conventional fertilizers are plant-available and end up being wasted into the environment or water supply,” added Dave Kilgour, Oberland’s new Director of Business Development - Agriculture.
BSFL frass has the potential to catch phosphorus and nitrogen being lost in food waste, for reuse as a fertilizer, reducing the need for chemical or synthetic fertilizers. Did you know that about 1.4% of global CO2 production and 1% of global energy is used to artificially fix nitrogen for fertilizer production? “Oberland’s naturally derived BSFL Frass is a great source of essential nutrients to give your plants, gardens, and crops an extra boost and foster improved soil health,” said Kilgour.
Earth Day 2022’s theme is Invest In Our Planet. This planet is the only home we have, we have the opportunity to do better everyday. Join Oberland in our commitment to make the world a little better tomorrow than it was yesterday.