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.
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 –
The average American eats over 70lbs of red meat each year. I’m not quite that carnivorous but I definitely indulge in my share of beef stew and burgers. It’s awesome that consumers are now looking for their animal products to be “grass-fed” and “cage-free,” but the vast majority of meat here is still “conventionally raised” (quite the euphemism, eh?). And some consumers, like my mom, are constantly complaining about the increase in things like egg prices that result from these changes.
Like I said, I still love a good burger. But the truth is that the meat industry is super unsustainable. The agricultural sector accounts for roughly 18% of all greenhouse gases – that’s more than the entire transportation sector combined! Each pound of edible bee takes about 2,000 gallons of water to produce…woah!
1. Insects are more sustainable and ethical than chicken, pork, or beef…maybe even fish!
3. Growing grain and then feeding it to animals so we can in turn eat them is incredibly inefficient.
When I’ve told some of my friends about my slightly unusual hobby of cooking insects, they replied with a, “Oh man…that’s why I’m a vegan…” This, dear vegan friends, brings up an interesting inquiry: If the ultimate goal of a vegan is to reduce the harm done to animals, then an exclusively plant-based diet is not the answer.
Maybe you’ve been seduced by my other articles or your curiosity has finally gotten the best of you. Or maybe you’ve watched a little kid munch a bug or two and want to vicariously understand what she’s tasting. Do you want an idea of what they taste like first? Here’s my best attempt at describing my Bugible culinary experiences.
*keep in mind that insects are, for the large part, taste-malleable. Insects, especially crickets, tend to both adopt the flavor of what they have been fed (mint-fed crickets will have a minty taste) or what they are cooked with (chili powder crickets vs lemon crickets vs crickets in a salad will all taste WAY different). I’ll be doing my best attempt to describe the unique flavor of insects, given these variations. Most of the bugs I have consumed have been either cooked at home or encountered at street vendors in Mexico or Thailand.