Nova Scotia-based cricket farm awarded by Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Innovacorp for its innovative startup model
Windsor, Nova Scotia – November 17, 2016. Midgard Insect Farm Inc. (“Midgard” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce it has been chosen as one of the winners of the 2016 Spark West Innovation Challenge (“Spark West”). Established in February of this year, Midgard is on course to become a leading supplier of high-protein cricket meal to the pet food industry as a sustainable and nutritious alternative to traditional protein sources.
Midgard was founded and is currently operated by Joy Hillier, a graduate of Dalhousie University’s Agricultural College. Her idea to pursue the cultivation of edible insects was born of a keen interest in food security and environmental sustainability coupled with previous experience in the food industry, animal husbandry, biosecurity technology, and laboratory procedure. She recently sold a 48 percent stake in Midgard to Dane Creek Capital Corp., a merchant banking venture which focuses on pet industry investments. Hillier continues to own the remaining 52 percent.
Spark West is presented by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Innovacorp. The first annual competition supports startups in the province with a focus on innovators in information technology, life sciences, clean technology and ocean technology sectors.
“We introduced Spark West after four rounds of a similar competition in Cape Breton,” said Stephen Duff, president and CEO of Innovacorp, in a release published on Innovacorp’s website yesterday. “We wanted to energize innovative entrepreneurs in western Nova Scotia. We were absolutely thrilled with the overall buzz in the community about the opportunity and the submissions we received.”
“We are very excited to have Midgard chosen as a winner of this year’s Spark West competition,” says Midgard President, Joy Hillier. “We believe our company has a tremendous opportunity to not only improve the sustainability and nutrition of dogs and cats in North America but also to change the way our society looks at insects as an environmentally sustainable and healthy food source in the future.”
Crickets as an alternative source of protein meet a number of nutritional requirements for both people and pets as well as being substantially more sustainable than traditional protein sources. They require less space, consume less water, and are more efficient at converting feed to protein than chicken or cattle. They also provide an easily digestible protein and a complete source of essential amino acids, as well as providing a variety of other health-supporting nutrients like calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and the prebiotic fibre chitin.
The award for Midgard comes with a $45,000 cash prize, the highest dollar amount awarded by Spark West, that will be used to expand the Company’s production capacity at its current facility in Windsor, Nova Scotia. The Company already has plans to establish a second facility for research and development in association with Perennia in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia. Perennia is a non-profit corporation dedicated to helping the province’s farmers, fishers and food processors prosper.
“One of the great things about crickets is that they reproduce and mature very rapidly. With the financial award from Spark West, we’ll be able to increase our production from one million to four million crickets every six weeks,” says Hillier.
About Midgard Insect Farm Inc.
Midgard Insect Farm Inc. is a Nova Scotia-based cultivator of crickets as a sustainable food source. It focuses on the production of cricket meal for wholesale to the pet food industry where there is growing demand for alternative proteins. In addition, Midgard is a leader in research into the developing science of cricket production and continually seeks to improve both the quality of its cricket meal and farming practices. It was founded in February 2016 and is operated by President Joy Hillier, a graduate of Dalhousie University’s Agricultural College.