Why Bugs Are the Next Big Thing to Feed People


The main source of protein in the typical American diet is usually meat, poultry, fish, more meat, lots more poultry—maybe with a few beans or some tofu now and then. But if you’ve ever had the cricket tacos prepared by the students in anthropology professor Bill Schindler’s “Food, People, and the Planet” class, you know that bugs as a protein centerpiece can be delicious and nutritious.

Insects provide an alternative foodway that conserves energy, reduces waste, and promotes nutrition. And while other cultures have always had bugs on the menu, it takes some new thinking about food and foodways to make entomophagy—the eating of insects—palatable in our Western culture. It’s this alternative thinking and doing that’s the focus of “The New Face of Farm to Table: Insects on the Menu,” a connected series of events Feb. 15-17 that will change the way you think about food.


cricket taco

The series will examine entomophagy starting with a global perspective and ending with an opportunity to entice your own taste buds with insects. It launches with back-to-back screenings of documentaries approaching the topic from different perspectives and will culminate on day three with a cooking contest in Hodson Hall and a talk by the principal of Entomo Farms, a global leader in the production of roasted crickets, cricket flour, and other insect protein bases. All events are free and open to the public, except where noted below.

• Feb. 15: A documentary screening of “Bugs: A Gastronomic Adventure with Nordic Food Lab.” The documentary follows a team from the renowned Copenhagen-based Nordic Food Lab, made up of chefs and researchers Josh Evans, Ben Reade, and Roberto Flore, as they around the world to learn what some of the two billion people who already eat insects have to say. The team forages, farms, cooks, and tastes insects with communities in Europe, Australia, Mexico, Kenya, Japan, and beyond.7 p.m. in the Norman James Theater, William Smith Hall. See the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/162505800.


Jarrod Goldin

• Feb. 16: A documentary screening of “Bugs on the Menu.” This documentary examines food security issues, health issues, flawed food production systems,and the challenges of feeding the world, landing on insects as the answer. The film examines other cultures that historically have thrived on insects as protein and continue to do so, the health benefits of entomophagy, and how new business models can incorporate inset protein into restaurant menus and food production. See the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuKiDHJZIMQ. The screening will be at 7 p.m. in the Norman James Theater, William Smith Hall.

• Feb. 17: The discussion gets real in a cooking competition in Hodson Hall. Several teams of students will put together a healthy and palatable dish that incorporates insects, and the winning dish will be chosen by panel of judges including Dining Services Director Don Stanwick, Bill Schindler, and Jarrod Goldin, the co-founder of Entomo Farms. At the Pantry, Dining Hall, Hodson Hall 4:30 to 6 p.m. While students are cooking up a dish for the judges, Schindler will be cooking up hand- made cricket tacos for all to try. Students, faculty, and staff can use their normal card swipe, and those from the community are welcome to join in and try a cricket taco and all you can eat buffet in the dining hall for $11.75 per person.

The cooking contest winner will be announced after a presentation by Jarrod Goldin about Entomo Farms and the business of growing and marketing insect-based products. Histalk, “Entomo Farms and The Emerging World of the Incredible Edible Insect,” will discuss how insects are beneficial not only from a nutritional standpoint, but also for environmental sustainability and economic reasons, and will examine how to incorporate insects into the modern Western diet. Goldin’s talk will start at 7 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall.

This series is sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society, the Eastern Shore Food Lab, Washington College Dining Services, McLain Program, Department of Environmental Science and Studies, the Student Environmental Alliance and the Iota Chapter of Kappa Alpha Omicron, and the William James Forum.

For more information contact Jamie Frees at jfrees2@washcoll.edu or 410-810-7162 or visit https://www.washcoll.edu/live/events/13179-the-new-face-of-farm-to-table-insects-on-the-menu.

Write a Letter to the Editor on this Article

We encourage readers to offer their point of view on this article by submitting the following form. Editing is sometimes necessary and is done at the discretion of the editorial staff.