A Look into Cricket Flour’s Relationship with the Environment, Nutrition, and GMOs.
I had the good fortune of speaking with Jarrod Goldin, one of the founders of Next Millennium Farms, to better understand what’s occurring on the ground level of the incredible entomophagy movement gaining popularity. Next Millennium farms is leading the protein revolution with a new, environmentally sound method of food production.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing his interview in a Next Millennium Series, taking you on explorations of ento’s relationship to GMOs, FDA regulations, the water crisis and more.
Today, Jarrod discusses how entomophagy spurs holistic health –
Aly: I’ve read on your website that you’ve had a lot of interest from Canadian Universities in research – is that because you are in Ontario?
Jarrod: We’ve had a lot of interest from universities, actually, from all over the world. I was involved in a study in Switzerland, and Sweden… a student from Germany might come do an internship with us this year… so there is a lot of university interest on a superficial level (Junior Psychology classes that test people eating bugs) all the way up to empirical evidence in Master’s and phD situations.
Aly: Speaking of international involvement, I know you grew up in South Africa. Can you speak to how your early experiences got you started in what some refer to as the ‘bug industry’?
Jarrod: They are not exactly related except for the fact that my parents let us believe we can be who we want to be. I grew up during the apartheid and this definitely influenced my thinking. My parents went above and beyond to care for the people who worked for us – to make sure they were ok – and taught me to judge people on their personal merits – not on anything racial. This freethinking made it easier for me to pursue something more off beat. I felt empowered to do whatever I wanted to do even if it felt weird…my brothers did their degrees in environmental studies and I am a chiropractor by trade. I actually teach at the Chiropractor College here in Toronto.
Aly: So now that you are a Chiropractor, you must come across a lot of health issues. You mentioned in your bio that you are very interested in how food can have an impact on health. Can you speak a little more to the therapeutic potential of insect flour or your various iron products?
Jarrod: It’s fair to say that in general we have a food system that knows very little about health care and a health care system that knows very little about food. The incongruence in food not aspiring to be healthy and health not aspiring to consider the impact of food has led to this dire situation with large diabetic populations and unhealthy western populations. There was never any kind of emphasis on what was better for people… it was on what tasted good or what was efficient to make or what sold easily. As a Chiropractor, you certainly see the effect that the lack of healthy food choices has had on your patients. It’s not just about back pain or neck pain adjustments… it is about promoting health holistically.
If you consider holistic health only the mind, body, and spirit, you are missing the most important part of that: the environment in which that person lives. If you try hard to have a balanced mind, body, and spirit, yet live near a polluted river, or eat modified crops… then as hard as you try you will not be able to achieve maximum health. The whole idea of farming insects promotes this idea not just from the incredible nutrition profile, but from the environmental impact insect farming has on the carbon footprint. Insect rearing is far less taxing on the environment than farming traditional protein sources like beef, chicken, or pork does.
Aly: I’m actually a big believer in the societal determinants of health. Americans have a long way to go in treating ailments like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure holistically – not just with drugs. Anyway, you mentioned GMOS. I don’t know if entomophagy as a field has been tied to GMOs, but I’m curious to see if you find any relationship between the two and if you are pro or con…
Jarrod: In general terms I would be con. I wouldn’t want to put myself out there as any kind of expert on the subject, but I am interested and I read about it. The feed inputs we use are non-GMO. I believe we need diversity. I watched a great TED talk the other day: let’s say you nationalize a book that kids need to read in grade 5. If every kid reads the same book in every state, they will all learn the same thing. That’s too homogenous. You want them all to read different things so that they can have different perspectives and points of view on the world. We need the same thing in our food. We need diversity. We can’t have food that is so homogenous – it’s not healthy – it’s not what we were meant to eat. Manipulating food seems so contrary to nature.