This is How Eating Bugs Helps the Food System

Eating bugs is incredibly, um, we’re going with filling, right now. Flour made of bugs, flavored, crispy bugs—it’s all super on trend. But does eating bugs actually help curb climate problems?

While some people think a bug-heavy diet is sustainable, there’s another camp of researchers who think eating lots of bugs may not be all that helpful after all.

But can we learn valuable eating habits from people who incorporate bugs into their overall diet?

Yes. We can.

It’s about variety

Josh Evans, traveler and researcher for Nordic Food Lab, eats bugs, but unlike others in the American bug-eating community, he doesn’t think bugs are the protein-packed answer that will save the human race from starving. The researcher thinks if humans consume too much of one thing—even bugs—people will still be in big trouble.

“If we’re growing one thing, sooner or later we’re all f!cked,” Evans bluntly says. “And it doesn’t matter if that one thing is corn, or soy, or crickets. If the one thing is crickets, we’re still f!cked.”

However, Evans does think that humans can learn from people who routinely eat bugs and incorporate them into our overall food system.

“Eating well means different things in different contexts precisely because the kinds of foods that we can produce well and the kinds of organisms that we can collaborate with well differ depending on where you are,” Evans says. “Starting with that attention to diversity is super important.”

In Evans’ opinion, anything that’s mass produced—even crickets—is problematic. People should focus on growing and harvesting food that reflects the ecological and biological diversity of the Earth. “To strive for a single overarching system is to miss the point entirely,” Inverse reports.

Learning about food systems

Evans arrived at this realization while filming “Bugs,” a film that examines food systems all over the world. He discovered that cultures who regularly eat bugs have something in common—they also eat a varied diet.

“One recurring theme was that, when we went to a place, thinking that we were going investigate a bug—a specific species—it very quickly unraveled into this whole web of other species that could also be bugs but also could be fungi or plants or animals or humans or a whole constellation of them,” Evans adds.

We all could stand to learn from Evans’ experiences and incorporate that holistic approach into our eating habits.

If you want to discover more about edible bugs and products made from them, Barnraiser has a whole collection!

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Image of bugs via Shutterstock