It’s hard to hear anything over the chirping. Cardboard boxes filled with egg cartons and sheets of plastic buzz with thousands of young-adult crickets calling out to one another to mate. The brush of the insects’ legs against the various surfaces sounds like hail on a tin roof. Their feed, which sits on top of the cartons on paper plates, looks like a cross between sawdust and sand.
Gabriel Mott, the chief operating officer of Aspire Food Group, yells above the noise and points inside one of the boxes. “You see the one with the wings?” he asks. “That’s a female. They get their wings at their final stage.”
We’re standing inside an old lumberyard in Austin, Texas, that Mott’s company has repurposed into an industrial cricket farm. The 13,000-square-foot space contains multiple rooms stacked with hundreds of boxes, each one home to crickets living through their six-week life cycle. Cricket farmers and geopolitical futurists speculate that entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, considered ordinary in other countries, could eventually be considered normal in the West.