The Future of Cricket Farming
"We want to bring insects mainstream," says entrepreneur D'Asaro. "We call crickets the 'gateway bug' because there are over 2,000 varieties of edible insects being eaten all over the world, all with different tastes and nutritional values." And she's right. Crickets can be used in everything from a protein powder and in cocktail bitters to a meat replacement. As cricket and other insect farming grows and becomes the norm, expect to see insect protein as a regular ingredient in snacks.
For Bachhuber, cricket farming isn't just about cultivating and harvesting an underutilized food source, it's about reimagining the role humans play in the health and sustainability of the planet. "It's worth shifting the conversation around insects for human use and, more generally, biomanufacturing," Bachhuber says. "We're in need of new, non-oil-based solutions, and bugs, mushrooms and non-GMO yeast are becoming really significant. I'm obsessed with the idea of shrinking our agricultural footprint and rewilding the land; it would be great to have great plains actually in the Great Plains. I'd love to see forests where forests should be."
With the continued innovations of entrepreneurs and scientists like Bachhuber, insects and the humans who farm (and eat) them could shift the future for our planet.
Author's Note: How Cricket Farming Works
The prospect of eating crickets may still make many Americans squeamish, but the potential environmental and economic impact of integrating this practice (already hugely popular around the globe) is significant. The experts I interviewed really made it clear that cricket eating, and more broadly, entomophagy, isn't just another Instagrammable food trend; it's a practice that could help preserve our planet, provide agricultural jobs where they're needed and improve our nutritional habits. My adventurous streak isn't quite so adventurous, though. While I encourage curious eaters to go out and experiment, my plate will for now remain cricket-free.
More Great Links
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- Alternative Protein - Kevin Bachhuber. Video. TEDxYoungstown. Published on Feb. 9, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tq52cQ4R_20 (June 21, 2017).
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- Bachhuber, Kevin. Personal interview. June 21, 2017.
- D'Asaro, Laura. Personal correspondence. June 21, 2017.
- Evans, Robert. Bachhuber, Kevin. "I Farm Crickets, The Future Of Human Food: 7 Insane Truths." Cracked. Jan. 27, 2016 (June 20, 2017). http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2118-7-weird-lessons-americas-first-gourmet-cricket-farmer.html
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- McCausland, Phil. "How to Breed a Tasty Cricket." The Atlantic. Sept. 24, 2015 (June 24, 2017). https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/americas-cricket-farmers/406843/
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