We made our cricket farming software open source — for one simple reason

Bitwater Farms, a leading developer of insect farming equipment, has launched www.opencricketfarm.com to accelerate the global insect farming industry.

Do you want a free Bitwater Farms M1 Cricket Farming System? Please go to twitter and post to @bitwaterfarms with #freeM1. We’re giving one away by Nov 1, 2016.

When we started Bitwater Farms, the intention was always clear: retrofit at least 1,000 farms to grow insects for food and feed. That was step 1 to us, not victory. Production volumes in global agriculture are so big that, for insects to be a viable alternative to commodities, it will take at least 1,000 farms. Otherwise, contracts are too small and the impact in reducing carbon emissions, water consumption and post-industrial food waste are, also, just too small.

Today, we have automated cricket habitats in North Carolina, California, Oklahoma and Colorado — 5 farms in total. It’s a good start. But at this pace, we will never make the change in the world we set out to make. As a company, this growth rate is fine. We have what I believe to be the best team in the world, blending advanced technologists with graduate entomologists. Our investors are supportive and we’re financially healthy. As a startup CEO, I’m proud of this.

But as a citizen of the world, I know this pace isn’t nearly fast enough. I was fortunate to attend the South by South Lawn (SXSL) at The White House last week. The president brought together “innovators” from around the country and spent his time on the mic highlighting that “Climate change is happening at a faster rate than what was predicted even 5 years ago,” and describing our response to it as “a race against time.”

Insect farming offers a rare, if not unique, opportunity to produce more protein and iron than we produce from soy, corn and fishmeal today — at a fraction of the carbon off-gassing. If nothing else, producing chicken feed and poultry feed on-farm rather than shipping it around the world wholly eliminates the carbon put into the atmosphere from shipping.

So today, with approval of our board and the buy-in of our team, we have open-sourced the software we’ve built to automate insectaries, and to promote this new software, we’re giving away a 5'x10' cricket growing habitat. Please go to twitter and post to @bitwaterfarms with #freeM1 to enter to get a free M1 cricket farming system. We’ve also open-sourced our M1 curriculum to help anyone get started anywhere in the world, as well as a complete shopping list from Amazon.com so anyone can buy all the parts needed for about $1500.

We are, quite frankly, releasing this too early for my taste. I’d like another few months to improve it and the code has bugs all throughout. But as President Obama said, it’s a race against time to build a new economic infrastructure that thrives in a post-climate-change world. So we’re publishing today. If you need help getting started with insect farming, tweet, email, call or write me and we will do what we can to help you.

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