We should use insects better than we’re using them now. Feed them to livestock, even eat them ourselves.
This is a hot topic at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This week José Graziano da Silva of FAO said that the ‘important contributions forests can make to the food security and nutrition of rural people should be better recognized’.
Prof da Silva urges us to consider forests more seriously. ‘Wild animals and insects are often the main protein source for people in forest areas, while leaves, seeds, mushrooms, honey and fruits provide minerals and vitamins, thus ensuring a nutritious diet.’
Yes indeed. Still, where I’m from we don’t eat insects. Never say never, and I’ve often boasted that I’ll try anything once, but fried beetles? Caterpillars on toast? Oh dear.
I think the posh way to describe what I’m feeling now is that those foods would be ‘culturally inappropriate’. But in many places around the world, they’re very appropriate as I mentioned a few days ago. For people like me who didn’t grow up eating insects, a more attractive option would be to make insects into feed for livestock (on land or in water) or fertiliser for crops.
One way or another, watch the insects. They can be gathered from wild populations, they can be grown in cages, and you probably won’t get a lot of complaints about insect welfare. Talking of which, I value meat and I value the appropriate use of lab animals. Some of you good people who read my blog are vegetarian or vegan. I wonder how you’d feel about eating insects or eating plants fertilised with insects.
[Edit] Here’s more about the value and potential value of insects.
[Edit] My fellow blogger Henricus Peters at Learn from Nature tells us about introducing British children to edible insects. It’s good to watch the film Henricus links to there. As the old saying goes, ‘give me the boy until he is seven and I will give you the man.’ Watching that film, the saying’s true about girls as well as boys. These kids are the next generation who, perhaps, might want to cook cricket canapes.