HARNESSING THE POWER OF SOLAR
Backyard pythons is a reptile-based food and lifestyle movement aimed at the global demand for sustainable protein. Our goal is to leverage reptilian resource efficiency together with regenerative agriculture to help provide solutions to a nexus of global challenges, including food insecurity, climate change, infectious diseases and diminishing natural resources.
A GROWING FOOD SECURITY CRISIS
Food production systems are under increasing pressure from global challenges. Demand for meat in particular is fueling a cocktail of threats. Our population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, and there are already over 700 million people suffering from food insecurity.
Alternative and more sustainable protein sources are urgently required.
THE QUEST FOR SUSTAINABLE PROTEIN
Innovative food tech companies in the cultured meat and plant-based meat substitute sectors have met with some success, and indeed have been some of the best performing start-ups in recent years, but these synthetic products are fundamentally decoupled from sustainable land use systems. They are also dogged by processing costs and public perception. They offer some solutions, but not all.
NATURES SOLAR POWERED SOLUTION
Reptiles are 90% more resource efficient compared to warm-blooded livestock. Their evolutionary history has centered on exploiting the suns free solar radiation to drive metabolic processes. This is their defining biological characteristic and a dominant life-history trait. They are the photovoltaic solar panels and electric cars of the animal kingdom.
Reptile meat is a culinary delicacy in many cultures. High in protein and low in fat, the white, meaty fillets are extremely nutritious. Reptiles are sought after both as a luxury ingredient and as a superfood by some of the most celebrated foodie nations on the planet.
Reptiles are quintessentially tropical species. The cool climate of Europe is better suited to warm-blooded livestock, and reptiles have struggled to gain traction in the face of Euro-centric colonisation and globalization. Cows, pigs, sheep and chickens have dominated global cuisine at the expense of 'unconventional' foods. But in the tropics, reptile meat is a traditional norm; a culinary delicacy just like beef or lamb. It is an extraordinary fact that reptile meat is a mainstay of gourmet Cantonese cuisine yet it remains almost unheard of in thousands of Chinese restaurants outside of Asia.
Modern reptile production systems can be remarkably environmentally friendly, whether they be free-range ‘ranch’ style setups or intensive factory farms. Many reptiles are perfectly adapted to our increasingly volatile climate. Farms require very little water, land or food inputs, and produce minimal waste or greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, reptilian physiology is very different to our own, and thus they represent a natural biological barrier to infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and bird flu. In an ecological context, reptiles are a safe, ethical and efficient alternative compared to more energy-intensive and polluting warm-blooded livestock like chickens and pigs.
SIMPLE AND AFFORDABLE FOOD SECURITY
Backyard pythons has spent the last 10 years working at the coalface of the emerging reptile farming industry. We have documented a broad spectrum of production systems, and investigated socioeconomic and environmental opportunities in Asia and Africa. We have helped develop optimal production models in line with the United Nations Global Development Goals and UNCTAD Biotrade principles, and are leading authorities in this field. The plan now is to take this knowledge mainstream; to align existing and available technology with real-world global challenge scenarios in an attempt to deliver simple and affordable nature-based solutions to protein security.
WHO IS THIS FOR?
Backyard pythons is targeted at a very broad audience. The concept will be of most interest to those involved in regenerative agriculture and other nature-based land use practices. It is well suited to small-scale and backyard self-sufficiency but also has excellent synergies with biodiversity conservation. Resource efficiency and global change resilience are the key points of difference that set the concept apart from conventional livestock.
SOLUTIONS FOR EVERYONE
Farmers looking to build resilience against drought, heatwaves, supply chain disruptions, wildlife conflict and resource limitations;
Backyard farmers and smallholders looking to diversify livestock portfolios and revenue streams;
City dwellers seeking farming opportunities in confined spaces;
Wildlife conservationists interested in resolving livestock carnivore conflict issues; and
Development practitioners working in remote and challenging environments where other forms of livestock production are failing.
Cultural and novelty restaurants (e.g., Nigerian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican) interested in traditional, authentic ingredients;
Athletes and the muscle building community (e.g., python meat is high in protein and less than 1.1% saturated fat);
Specialist high protein, low fat nutritional needs (e.g., diabetics, protein/paleo diets);
Butchers and online meat retailers specialising in venison and exotic meat products;
Activists seeking to lower their environmental footprint;
Ethical consumers looking to avoid the welfare issues commonly seen in factory farmed higher order vertebrates; and
Thrill-seeking foodies looking to impress their friends with adventurous food experiences.