Eating Bugs

Insects are more useful than people. They pollinate half the plant kingdom, they eat all manner of waste, they are food to birds, fish, and animals, including us. (If we perish from our folly, insects will be fine and will keep this beautiful world beautiful.) About 2 billion people eat insects. Soon more people will eat more insects because they are delicious and nutritious. Meat production and animal feed currently take 70% of agricultural land, more land is assumed necessary for the hungry humans to come - we'll be 9 billion by 2050. Insects have as much protein as beef, and fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, like iron - iron deficiency is a global nutrition problem. Insects are much more resource-efficient: 10 lbs. of feed makes 1 lb. beef, but it can make 9 lbs. insects. We waste 40% of our food - that loss (and most of our pollution) could be insect food. 

Insects take less area to grow than animals so there is less land destruction. They use less water than animals. They produce vastly less greenhouse gas - ammonia, methane, etc. No need for pesticides. And we don't get their diseases. About 2000 species of insects are eaten worldwide. Fired or roasted insects can taste like shrimp or bacon or nuts or popcorn - crunchy and protein packed. 

Small farms can produce insects and sell them alive, cooked, dried, whole, ground to flour or made into savory pastes or soups or fancy sweets. Anyone can grow them at home! 

Venda, South Africa. The women were fishing around in the holes they'd dug in the tall termite mound for the scuttling termites they would stir fry with tomato and eat whole for lunch. Suddenly it came out that I had eaten scorpions in China. They were shocked. "I would not eat them," Patricia Maphangula said. I said, "The Chinese breed them and raise them in their homes." Stunned silence.