We are Ovipost. We farm bugs. You probably have questions.
Yes. Yes we do. Why bugs?
Bugs and worms are perfect. They eat garbage and turn it into clean protein. They are the world’s best upcycling machines and - if we do it right - will save the planet.
Ok, so bugs are great. But what kind of people dedicate their lives to insect farming?
Fanatical, insane people. We weren’t built for normal life. We hate being bored and we love adventure. As a result, each of us wove a weird, windy path to Ovipost.
Trina Chiasson grew up playing in the woods around her parents’ cabin in Maine. Even when she was little, she was fascinated by the thousands of species of bugs crawling all around her. As an adult, she became a data visualization nerd and sold a software startup to Tableau. So of course, she took the next logical step: dropped everything and moved to a bug farm in Florida.
James Ricci was an entomologist who studied disease vectors. He reared hundreds of insect species and even created a traveling insect petting zoo. After meeting Trina at the World Record Largest Nachos event in San Francisco… he dropped everything and moved to a bug farm in Florida.
Tequila Ray Snorkel is a hardware engineer. She built RNA synthesis robots in Silicon Valley. You know… high-end sciency stuff. After seeing a TEDx talk on the miracle of bugs as a sustainable protein source, Tequila was hooked. Seeing the possibilities of revolutionizing the way animals eat, she immediately put her engineer brain to work and - you guessed it - moved to a bug farm in Florida.
Sure. Makes perfect sense. What is day-to-day life like on a bug farm?
Here’s the thing: insect farming is really hard. There are a million things that can go wrong every day. And over the years, we have seen a LOT. We have snuck live crickets into hotel bathrooms. We have crossed international borders with a truck full of superworms. If you can imagine a ridiculous unpredictable challenge, we have faced it and we have solved it. We’re scrappy like that.
By far, our biggest challenge was losing James who sadly passed away in 2020 due to medical complications. In his honor, we run The Entomophatron, a not-for-profit interactive art project and entomological education platform that he and Trina designed in collaboration with Guerilla Science and the Pratt Institute.
Sounds like you’ve had quite a ride. Why is this work important to you?
We weren’t joking about bug farming saving the world. By using insects as a viable protein source, we can eliminate reliance on dredging the ocean floor and exploiting rainforests. Bug farming drastically reduces greenhouse gases. For the sake of the planet, agriculture needs to change now. And we are doing our part to change it.
As queer entrepreneurs, we are used to bucking the system. We believe in change, but we also believe in using what works. Our farms in Florida and Mississippi combine new technology with tried-and-true traditional agriculture methods. We never use a $60K solution for a $2K problem. We are lean, resourceful, and a ton of fun at parties.
We bet. Life at Ovipost sounds like a trip.
It’s insane but we love it. It’s kind of like the circus except… it’s a bug farm in Florida.