Emergency Shelter Comes With A Built-In Cricket Farm

Bed, breakfast and bugs. This shelter could save your life even if it grosses you out.

By Team Agorafy September 26, 2016
Photo courtesy of Terreform ONE

Quick! There’s a tornado coming! Get into the giant cricket!”, might not be the cry you’d expect to hear upon a potential disaster… or is it? Terreform ONE, a New York based non-profit company for philanthropic architecture, urban and ecological design, was commissioned by Art Works for Change to create this cricket-shaped habitat for the duel purposes of sustenance and shelter in the case of an emergency. Currently this mammoth cricket shelter can be found alive and buzzing, or, um- chirping- at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City.

Related: Kales Of The City: Meet NYC’s First Residential Urban Farm

According to Terreform ONE’s website they wanted to build “…a shelter and modular insect farm bounded into one structure. It’s intended for the impending food crisis, where people will need access to good sources of alternative protein, as raising livestock is not possible at our current rate of consumption and resource extraction.”

Wait, so not only are we depending on the giant bug shelter to protect you in an emergency, we’re going to be dining on them too? That seems to be in poor taste, like Miss Piggy frying bacon. Just before you jump to conclusions and refuse the bugs because they’re factory farmed, you’ll be glad to know they’re totally free-range. Whew! Terreform ONE’s co-founder Mitchell Joachim shares, “It’s a combination of an emergency shelter and a vertical farm but it’s also a clever, sanitary way to bring insect-based protein to fine cuisine,” says Joachim. “It shifts between two worlds.”


Apparently over two billion people eat bugs—out of choice—as part of their daily food intake. They pack a powerful crunch and protein punch. And farming crickets produces 200% less carbon, as well as four hundred times less water than farming livestock does. But why bugs and not kale? Mr. Joachim says, “We thought, if we were going to do it, it’s best to combine it with a system for subsistence farming. In a tsunami or a massive fire, everything is devastated, you don’t have access to cows, pigs or chickens, so people will need access to good sources of alternative protein.”

Crickets are picky creatures and in order to thrive and procreate they need a lot of space. Who knew? Mr. Joachim says, “We experimented a lot with confined spaces. If they hang out too much or food runs low, they eat their young, they all cannibalized.” So they created special ventilation tubes in the pod that contain thin strands of nylon, allowing the critters to move around and walk in any direction.

The structure itself is a prefabricated design and made up of 264 plastic rectangular insect pods – or shall we say, cricket condos—and a CNC plywood frame. The slots that hold the crickets fit into the frame and are stacked vertically. In case of a disaster, the shelter can be constructed on site. The plastic shell shields you from the elements and the farming system interior will supply enough food to keep you alive—if you can keep those bugs down. But Mr. Joachim doesn’t want to keep his crickets contained to the pods. He’s working with Brooklyn restaurants to put them on their menus. Before you know it, crickets will be the new kale and we’ll be asking the waiter, “So, do crickets come with that, or are they extra?”

Team Agorafy



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