Will eating insects save our Earth?
Insects as food is a hot topic. Particularly over the last few years, since the UN recommended edible insects as a resource to combat world hunger, they have been heralded for their taste by cooks and gastronomes, for their low ecological impact by environmentalists, and for their nutritional content by public health scientists. It would seem that insects are the new superfood that will fix all our problems of global food security.
For the past three years, a team from Copenhagen-based Nordic Food Lab, made up of chefs and researchers Josh Evans, Ben Reade and Roberto Flore, has been travelling the world to learn what some of the two billion people who already eat insects have to say. In BUGS, film director Andreas Johnsen follows them as they forage, farm, cook and taste insects with communities in Europe, Australia, Mexico, Kenya, Japan and beyond. During their journey they encounter everything from revered termite queens and desert-delicacy honey ants to venemous giant hornets and long-horned grasshoppers trapped using powerful floodlights, which sometimes cause their operators blindness.
Throughout the team’s experiences and conversations in the field, at the lab, at farm visits and international conferences, some hard questions start to emerge. If industrially produced insects become the norm, will they be as delicious and as beneficial as the ones in diverse, resilient ecosystems and cuisines around the world? And who will actually benefit as insects are scaled up?
Are insects a mirror that reflects our broken food systems, or the silver bullet that will fix them?