Tiny Livestock – Raising Locusts for People Food

Why breed your own insects for food? Why not? Around 80% of the world’s population already eat insects, and the only real barrier in Western society is a mental one.  Granted, that mental barrier is HUGE.  We tend to think of insects in association with death and decay, not as crunchy snacks. I like to think of them as land-shrimp, or a special variety of soft-shelled crab, although they taste more like almonds than seafood.

Farming cattle is very inefficient compared to raising tiny livestock like mealworms, grasshoppers and locusts. Insects require less space and less feed, and are high in protein and mineral content.  Here’s what grasshopper nutrition looks like when compared to beef:

beef vs locust

(Image source: http://www.dw.de/beef-vs-bugs/g-16941415)

There seems to be a pervasive deniability in our society about where our food actually comes from, after all, it’s easy to ignore maltreatment of livestock when you can buy your cow already neatly ground and packaged in the meat aisle at the supermarket. This entomophagous experiment seeks, in part, to reconnect me with the source of my nutrition.

It’s also important to note that collecting insects from the wild is a bad idea.  At best, you could collect insects from which to start a colony, but I wouldn’t advise eating wild insects simply because you don’t know where they’ve been.  This sounds silly, but it’s a real problem – with the common use of pesticides in the home garden you could end up ingesting poison along with your insect du jour.

Which leads me to breeding my edible insects in a closed environment – I know they’ve eaten nothing but grass and veges and haven’t been exposed to any poisons. There are no hormone treatments here, and I can harvest and kill my livestock humanely (locusts are killed by placing them in the freezer – their metabolism slows and they die, just as they do in winter here). Hell, they’re even kosher if you’re worried about that kind of thing.

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One response to “Tiny Livestock – Raising Locusts for People Food

  1. Pingback: L is for Locust | The Balsamean·

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