SmallStock Food Strategies LLC began life in January 2009. The name highlights the new focus of my endeavors: to create a steady supply of foods derived from farmed insects. It’s time for LIVESTOCK that’s SMALL.
The many logical underpinnings for this approach to animal husbandry don’t need to be explored here. The activities that typified my previous company — Sunrise Land Shrimp, SLS — will continue under SmallStock. These include: educational programs and tastings; some catering; some sales of food products. My agenda will be to add to these activities, and I am actively seeking partnerships to accomplish the new agenda items, which mostly concern insect production.
Although over the past few years I was always happy to explain the name of my previous company, I decided in the end to invest that explanation energy elsewhere. Yet it’s still true: insects ARE the shrimp of the land, and anyone allergic to shellfish [meaning, crustaceans like lobster, crab, and shrimp] will be allergic to insects — it’s the very same allergy. Yet those crustaceans are quite popular in supermarkets and restaurants. Why not insects too??!
Ultimately, entomophagy is more about robust critical thinking skills than it is about eating insects. My work is all about promoting insects as a part of a healthy, sustainable diet.
We explore the myths and facts surrounding insects as food.
Since most of humanity has eaten insects for most of our history on the planet, not eating insects is more unusual than eating them.
And by the way, eating insects is a lot better for the planet, so there’s that to think of too.
Entomophagy might seem really radical. Eating cows, chickens, etc. has always been the norm for us; leaving them behind (in favor of bugs!) could sound pretty ridiculous. But if one were to study what’s really going with food-production, human population, and resource use these days, he or she would see that eating insects isn’t so crazy.
Basically, the larger an animal is, the more wasteful it is with resources like water and grain. All the facts are there (and this website will include those facts in the near future.) When the Spanish arrived at the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, they were in awe; the city was larger and much cleaner than anything in Europe. One reason was that the Aztecs didn’t raise cows and pigs; they ate smaller animals, the production of which didn’t involve massive amounts of waste.
Entomophagy allows societies to live more sustainably on the planet. That’s why it’s a good idea. These days nearly everybody knows that petroleum-powered transportation is problematic. Eating animals that don’t process resources efficiently is not so different from driving the large and especially wasteful SUVs and Hummers that are pretty popular.
As for how I got started: In 1999 I got some Larvettes as a birthday present. They’re flavored mealworm snacks. They didn’t taste great, but they made me curious. I’d already known that insects were popular around the world, and I figured there were good reasons why. So I started learning about entomophagy.
Soon after this, David George Gordon, a well-known edible insect advocate, cooked insects at the local zoo. I was impressed; it was clear that eating insects – nutritious and easy to mass-produce – made a lot of sense. Now I give the presentations, and I’m always the first one to taste the bugs.
As discussed elsewhere, some people are allergic to insect consumption. Other concerns could include the environments in which the insects live. Most of us wouldn’t eat an urban cockroach, yet potential contamination can be less obvious. More research is needed regarding the extent to which insects might retain such poisons.
There isn’t much available from U.S. companies in terms of food-insects, but there are other options. You could raise your own insects, and there are resources to help with that. You could buy them live from pet stores (that these bugs are intended for lizards, frogs, and tarantulasmight bother some people.) There are also a few companies whereone can purchase exotic edible insects, and some ethnic markets offer packaged imported insects as food.
There are good reasons to eat insects. First of all, you have a chance to find out for yourself whether or not insects are gross. Secondly, you can finally see how much of the world eats, since many billions of people still eat insects.