Julie Lesnik is a biological anthropologist who has done a lot of research on insect consumption, by ancient hominins, living humans and living non-human primates. Now she has begun a project, “Entomophagy Anthropology”, with a research objective to understand the breadth and nutritional role of insect eating in human societies today.
Today’s post puts her work into the context of current discussions about nutrition and sustainability worldwide: “The UN Said What? A Statement By The Food And Agriculture Organization Supporting The Prospect Of Insects As Food And Feed”.
The biggest push for insect cultivation is that it is a more environmentally-friendly to raise these "mini-livestock" than it is to tend our current go-to sources of protein, cattle and pigs. We need more hard evidence. The truth is that we don't have an example of insect-rearing on the industrial scale, so we can't compare it to what we know after decades of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs, or feedlots). More research needs to be done to model the environmental impacts of mass-rearing insects.
If I were tasked with drawing up alternative futures for humanity, giant insect ranches would be one of the more fun scenarios to consider.