Eating bugs vs. mass production

While insects are a good source of protein, commercial production would shift a social ecological system.

> … food security and business strategists say the hype butts up against real concerns over sustainable food sources – that we might just be trading one destructive food system for another.

> Joshua Evans, a Canadian PhD candidate at Oxford University and co-author of On Eating Insects (Phaidon, 2017), argues that the “solution narrative” – the marketing of insects as a panacea for health, resource and climate challenges – is misleading.

> “We have gotten into a bad habit of talking about specific organisms as ‘sustainable’ or ‘unsustainable,’ ” Evans says, “But sustainability is not a property of organisms. It is a property of systems. If we think insects will suddenly change the catastrophic effects of monoculture and mass production, we will be sorely disappointed.”

> Based on his research, he believes that once production of edible insects is scaled up, the impact of feed, energy, processing and transportation will make bugs no more sustainable than conventional protein sources.

> Evans argues that we placed the same expectations on soy in the mid-20th century, only to see that crop turned into a patentable product, “causing massive deforestation of the Amazon to plant vast monocultures whose yield is then shipped elsewhere so that we can continue to produce very cheap beef. Swap out soy for insects, and you have a version of the story that currently unfolds.”

A bowl of frozen crickets. Many large companies are investigating whether they can be a sustainable and profitable protein alternative.

“Why eating insects won’t end world hunger” | Corey Mintz | Feb. 4, 2018 | The Globe and Mail at