First of all let me make one thing clear, I have nothing against crickets as a source of protein or the 2 billion people who make insects part of their diet*. As a chef I would embrace the challenge of serving up a plate of tasty crickets, probably tempura battered with a garlic aioli or ginger soy sauce, but I digress. The issue I have is that the cricket and other insects seem to be a popular proposition in the rhetoric of the “foodies” as the world prepares to feed nearly 10 billion people in 2050**. I confess I don’t have any ready solutions only more questions on how, with so many of the population today suffering from food insecurity, we will be positioned to handle what projects to be an even greater crisis of starving and malnourished masses. The issue I have with the cricket is that, not unlike let’s say starting a colony on Mars after we have depleted the Earth of resources, it is a justification, an out, excusing our current behavior as if there are no apparent consequences for this generation. Eat all the beef, pork and chicken you want today because our grandchildren will have plenty of crickets to go around tomorrow.
Before we invest more time and more money into ventures that allow us to pay far too little for and over consume the monoculture driven outputs of our current food system today; why not adjust behaviors that could drive change? Today roughly 2% of the current farmland in the US is dedicated to the growth of fruits and vegetables***. That seems like a good place to start. How about doubling that in the next ten years and every ten years after that. What would the food system look like in 2050?
I have identified three areas where small changes can make a positive impact today and on future generations of eaters by educating today’s children****. We will address them all separately using our real-world experience at Philips Academy Charter School as an example: Reform how school lunch is approached. Model responsible behavior in schools. Cook.
* Call me old fashioned I cannot and will not ever endorse lab grown meat. If the time ever came where lab meat was the only animal protein available I will wrap my arms around a vegetarian future.
**UN Report June 2013
***Union of Concerned Scientists October 2013
**** My motivation goes far beyond limiting the need for my children and my children’s children to rely on cricket protein. It is the right thing to do. The recommendations are driven by the economics of common sense. I need to point only to the EcoSpaces tagline – Nourishing, Mind, Bodies and Communities, today, while creating a sustainable food system that benefits EVERYONE EVERYWHERE.