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Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Why You Should be Eating Bugs and Other Gross Things

By Jason Drevenak

Tags: wild foods, food foraging, insects, West Virginia, Jason Drevenak,


When we go to a grocery store and think about shelling out big bucks for a lobster or crab, or grabbing some plastic-wrapped chicken cutlets for that matter, we are stepping on and driving around a lot of food. Whether it's roadkill, weeds or insects, our western culture has taught us to eat all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons.  I'll give you three reasons you should be eating grosser food, but let's also think about the reasons we shouldn't eat the shiny, hermetically sealed, marketed and processed stuff that's at the supermarket.  There are always exceptions, if you're willing to put out big bucks, you can get meat that isn't factory farmed in horrible conditions or pumped full of chemicals and hormones.  You can get vegetables that aren't saturated with insecticides and fertilizers.  You can even find potato chips without elephant-endangering palm oil.  Those things are great but quite expensive and there are very good arguments that terms like "organic" and "free range" aren't necessarily what we think they are.  "But," you are about to say, "roadkill, crickets and weeds? Nasty!"  

Reasons you should eat grosser food:

 At my school we teach a very popular Wild Food Weekend that introduces people to foraging and gross cuisine.  There are tons of arguments for eating wild, like not wasting road kill protein or eating lower on the food web that I also find convincing.  In the end though, my draw towards wild food is not intellectual.  I feel better knowing where my food comes from.  I know where I got it, what it looked and smelled like, what I did with it after collecting it and there's a connection from me to my food and to its food that goes on and on.  It's so hard to have that feeling in the deli section of the Food Lion staring through a sneeze guard at overpriced marine bugs.

Please Note: Collecting wild food and roadkill requires some expertise.  There are things you absolutely need to know before heading out.  You should take some classes, read some books, and check your state and local laws.