Monday, June 7, 2010

Expedition News, June 2010 - Solve World Hunger: Eat Bugs

Overcoming the “Yuk” Factor

(excerpted from Expedition News)

Editor’s Note: One of the advantages of writing a book on expeditions and adventures is that you meet fascinating people on the road during book tours. Such is the case with Dave Gracer, 45, founder of SmallStock Food Strategies LLC, Providence, R.I. Taking us aside in Cambridge, Mass., after a talk to the New England Chapter of The Explorers Club, he pitched us the idea that insects are the best food for an overcrowded planet. While we’d prefer a porterhouse ourselves, we see some merit in the concept, despite the very real “yuk” factor. Gracer explains:

“As a boy I was a picky eater, but I eventually outgrew that: now I eat insects frequently (the practice is known as entomophagy). What’s more, I encourage my fellow Americans to do so. There are very good reasons to do this: insects are extremely nutritious – not only are they high in protein, but their little jointed bodies also contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, making them an almost perfect food source.

“Their resource requirements are much smaller than those of the mammals and birds we usually eat, and insects are much better at capturing the energy from their food – 10 lbs. of feed will yield one pound of beef, but almost 9 lbs. of cricket. That’s a huge difference, especially since you can eat every part of the cricket.

“Beyond this, insects produce far less waste, and cannot host diseases or pathogens that can ‘jump’ to humans. Taken together, that’s a very impressive roster of advantages. Insect-based foods can be developed for both high-end cuisine AND for those at risk of starvation.

“We all know that many cultures enjoy insects in their cuisine, even when many other foods are available. In some marketplaces, insects fetch higher prices than our standard food animals. Given our global overpopulation and possible fresh water shortages, insects are very likely to play an increasing role in our future. As indicated, they’re far more sustainable than cows and pigs.

“I’ve been advocating for entomophagy for many years; in 2008 I spoke at a UN-organized international conference on edible insects in Chiang Mai, Thailand. After the conference I took a driving tour north, and watched tens of thousands of cave swifts streak the evening sky near the Burmese border. The birds were seeking insects for their dinners. Insects do a great deal of work: when we observe the results of their work, we say, ‘isn’t Nature amazing?’

“There will likely be obstacles to introducing insects into human diets, but we must press on nonetheless.”

In order to further his passions, Gracer is a part-time college adjunct instructor. His goal is to create five facilities in five different countries, each of which will produce the quantity and quality of processed, insect-based food that will meet the nutritional needs of 50,000 people for two days straight.

But before that, his next project is to complete a guidebook on entomophagy.

You can reach Dave Gracer directly at 401 286 9065,, or log onto (best link: Gracer appears on The Tyra Banks Show, along with a Dumpster diver who spends just $15 per week on food).

No comments:

Post a Comment