The sun was shining brightly last Sunday in beautiful Santa Monica as I sat down with a closet friend to enjoy some mimosas and brunch food. Our catch up on life and work was suddenly interrupted as she abruptly stood up and spilled her beverage all over. What caused the frenzy? A cricket had landed on her lap.
Few things perk me up in the morning like receiving an email titled, “New Research on Cricket Farming – Thought You’d Be Interested.” Any contribution to the growing literature on entomophagy is a welcome gift! Last week I received such a message and dove into a great piece called Small-Scale Cricket Farming by Thomas Weigel of Veterinarians Without Borders.
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.
Prepare to be inspired! I’m over the moon about the recent chat I had with one of the wonder-women who founded MIGHTi – a collaborative research project designed to address the multifaceted and systematic factors that contribute to food insecurity in Southern Africa while simultaneously joining a global effort to re-envision food systems in a changing climate.
Needless to say, Rachel is making an impact in food sustainability and had some great stories to share about it!
A low, scuttling sound is audible from the six concrete pens in Boontham Puthachat’s home. He is a cricket farmer. His crickets are nibbling on a mix of chicken feed, pumpkins, and other vegetables to grow for the five weeks before they are harvested.
Boontham is a farmer in Thanon Nang Klan, one of Thailand’s poorest regions. Here, farmers depend solely on the rains to either yield a good rice crop or leave their fields dry and barren. But Boontham is different. His family is one of 30 in his village raising insects to satisfy the growing domestic demand (even through many international diners would rather starve than try a fried grasshopper).