It’s with a happy heart and an older soul that I write this particular post. It’s a post of gratitude to my friends and family who gathered around last weekend for some birthday festivities. I asked them not to come bearing gifts, but an open mind instead.
Class is in session!
The rustling of eager students settling into their seats softened as the lights in the auditorium dimmed. “Let’s set the stage to discuss the U.S. regulation of insect-derived foods,” began Ricardo Carvajal, director at Hyman, Phelps & McNamara. He was about to take us on a journey touching on what is known on the past, current, and possible future of regulatory facts that matter for those of us interested in entomophagy.
It felt like I was in university again… how I wish I could have taken classes about THIS!
I love when someone rocks my world with a new point of view, it’s a good day. A great day. Darja Dobermann provided that when she suggested we might be focusing our marketing efforts of entomophagy in the wrong areas. Well, not the wrong areas… but not the most effective ones. We already have countries that culturally accept eating insects (that also have climates to support their sustainable breeding). So why are we trying to force insects on other markets before optimizing those?
Darja is doing incredible work examining the potential for entomophagy in undernutrition, specifically anemia and uses in aquaculture in Africa. In our interview we dig a little deeper into work that will change the world.
And entomophagy continues to collect momentum in the press! The Digital Journal released a nice piece a few days ago titled, “Are insects better than Italian cuisine? Some people think so!” In it, they discussed a valid point: what we consider food is largely influenced by culture. Something completely normal to you may be offensively gross to eat, from another culture’s perspective.
The article looks in particular at the Bozzaotra bros – a duo selling insects as food to a growing Italian market. Most fascinating to me was the brief (but MASSIVELY CLEVER) quip on regulations that the article contained. As some of my readers know, I’ve been fascinated by the development of the regulatory scene around the growing entomophagy field. I’ve written a few articles about theregulation of insects as food – focusing on the barriers they present. *SPOILER ALERT* The Bozzaotra bros, geniuses that they are, passed their insect delicacies off as “natural remedies” in order to bypass the strict government regulations.
I don’t know about you, but it makes me thrilled when I read about entomophagy more and more in popular media sites. The Huffington Post released an article today about reinventing entomophagy for the 21st century, and I couldn’t agree more.
“‘Entomophagy is an evolving term in need of review,” says Afton Marina Szasz Halloran, Ph.D Fellow at the University of Copenhagen. Halloran calls for a change in the way we speak about edible insects and entomophagy.”
After being virtually introduced by a distant mutual friend, Jena and I hit it off quickly. Owner and brains behind Tiny Farms, Jena was witty, driven, and a joy to speak with. Tiny Farms is a San Francisco based startup working on pioneering smart, scalable insect farming. We hopped on a call to discuss data, crickets, and regulations… to name a few topics. I’ll jump ahead in the story to say I ended the call with a smile on my face, knowing that we have people like Jena working hard on “smart farming” for our future.
I called to talk about crickets, but ended up with plenty to think about regarding company culture, the future of innovation, serendipity, and even artificial intelligence! Coalo Valley Farms has a lot going for it, especially strong leadership.
A little more about Coalo Valley Farms: Coalo Valley Farms is an urban cricket farm focused on the production of alternative protein through sustainable means. Coalo Valley Farms serves both businesses and private clients who are interested in eating healthier and/or reducing their environmental footprint. Established in 2014, the Coalo Valley Farms operates in San Fernando Valley out of a single farm that is modified for the organic and cruelty-free production and processing of premium cricket-based protein powder. Coalo Valley Farms focuses on giving consumers an alternative option when they choose how to ingest their protein. Cricket-based protein offers a healthier and more environmentally friendly solution to protein from traditional livestock such as cows, pigs, and chickens.