An interview with Raoul Benavides, owner of Iowa Blue Farm
We were proud to feature Black Soldier Fly larvae from Iowa Blue Farm in our December box, and thought you’d like to get to know the owner, Raoul Benavides. We hope you enjoy learning about him and his business as much as we did!
-Your friends at Henny+Roo
Hi Raoul! How did you get started in this business and why are you passionate about BSF larvae?
I come from a long lineage of entrepreneurs. I am always searching for new ways to challenge myself. I wanted to do something tactile that was environmentally responsible. I think like a farmer and really love working on process based projects. Black Soldier Flies were a natural fit. (Learn more about Iowa Blue Farm here.)
What is your role at Iowa Blue Farm and how does your family support that?
I am the owner/operator. I wear all the hats. Of course, family and friends provided incredible amounts of support labor and feedback. I have had some really dear friends supporting me at the beginning. I did lots of experiments getting the flies to breed early on. I went from my basement to a 1000 square foot space and we are in the process of moving into a 10,000 square foot operation this month. From artists to designers to engineers, my team helped create the specialized gear needed to breed, feed, harvest, dry and package these very unique creatures.
Do you have any pets?
I have had a number of urban hens through out my life. Right now, I only have a lovely grouchy cat named Diego.
What’s your favorite part about your work?
It’s incredibly rewarding. I get to manage and fine tune a whole life cycle of this beautiful insect and along the way lower the carbon footprint, provide jobs and feed chickens.
What’s surprised you about your business that you didn’t expect when you started?
At first, I didn’t really see the scale. This thing can be massive in cultural impact. I am hoping to open an indoor shrimp farm soon that runs entirely on Black Soldier Fly Larvae pellets. My dream is to turn the dried black soldier fly larvae into a small cookie that we can giveaway globally in order to end world hunger.
Big thanks to Raoul for sharing his work with us, and for providing his products, which we’re sure your flock will love, for our December boxes. Didn’t get one? We have just a few left in our Shop at hennyandroo.com, and for a limited time, you can save 10% sitewide with code CHICKENLOVE.