A Sustainable Food Source Everyone is Chirping About

Photograph by Kyoko Hamada. Styled by Todd Knopke. Photographer’s assistant: Jonah Rosenberg. New York Times

Many Canadians bristle at the thought of eating insects. When I brought home a packet of dried crickets to try over the holidays, many friends and family were very reluctant to try insects, and some flat out refused.

Although the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that two billion people consume insects as part of their standard diet, it is still largely shunned in the Western world; they are considered by the population as dirty, pests, and carriers of disease.

But as the world population is predicted to increase to 9 billion people by 2050, it makes it ever-more important to focus on sustainable ways to feed the growing population and decrease the ecological footprint of food production. Insects as a sustainable food source may be one of the solutions.

Visualization of water and grain required to grow 1 kg of protein for crickets, chicken, pork, and beef.

These are some of the pros to consuming edible insects:

  1. They are great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals (An amazing source of vitamin B12, iron, and omega-3’s!)
  2. They require less feed to produce the same amount of protein as animal sources (To produce 1 kg of insect, only 2 kg of feed and 5 liters of water are needed!)
  3. They emit less greenhouse gases.
  4. They can be grown on organic waste.
  5. They require less land to produce than other animal protein sources.
Land use for different sources of protein to produce 1 kg of beef, pork, chicken, and crickets.
Joel Lorentz-Maynard: @Entophoria

6. They are delicious!

Insects can be eaten whole or blended into powders to incorporate in bakes goods or snacks. If you are intrigued and wish to try insect products, there is a local Edmonton company called Camola that offers a variety of products such as Bugscotti cookies, Crick Chips made from cricket flour, as well as powders and pancake mix.

Volunteer Submission from the RDP Team
March 10th, 2020

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