Now that you’ve gone full blown locavore, what’s the next logical step? Eating all those things that shouldn’t be local. I’m talking about the invasive species diet.
Ok, so it’s not really a diet, but there are people, including chefs, whoare big on eating invasive species, not just because they’re tasty, but because it’s a way to control them.
“Eating your enemies feels really good. But the real goal is to help people understand invasive species a little better and bring attention to their impacts,” biologist Andrew Deines told Modern Farmer.
Foraging for invasive species, be they flora or fauna, isn’t just reserved to passionate individuals with an interest in odd recipes. Chefs are also jumping on board. “I was already working on evolving sushi into a cuisine centered around more planet-healthy ingredients. The invasive-species thing made perfect sense,” sushi chef Bun Lai told Outside Magazine.
Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Lai forages along the beaches of the Northeast to find things that will not only become delicacies, but that are harming the local ecosystem. Because that’s the thing about invasive species. While many plants have been introduced into new geographic regions, often they find their home and take part in the local community, some come in and without any natural checks on them (i.e. no natural predators), they reproduce quickly and threaten the species around them. Like a bad neighbor that you just can’t seem to get rid of.
Asian carp is a good example. Imported from China in the 1970s, they soon made their way into the Mississippi River Basin and have literally taken over the waters of the Midwest. And this kind of invasive species doesn’t just push out other species, it’s also expensive. The annual cost incurred by invasive species is estimated to be around $120 billion, according to Outside Magazine. That means your invasivore diet is not only environmentally friendly, but economically friendly as well.
But can focusing on invasive species as food be a solution? Maybe if the solutions are big enough to deal with the problem. For example, American Heartland Fish Products, will open America’s first industrial carp processing plant this spring, as reported by Modern Farmer. Overfishing of invasive carp sounds a lot better than overfishing of tuna, doesn’t it?
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