While American culture embraces aquatic arthropods like shrimp and lobster, an outdated taboo has prevented us from enjoying their terrestrial cousins. Terrestrial arthropods like sour ants, crunchy grasshoppers, and even creamy tarantulas are delicious and nutritious staples in cuisine around the world. With 2,000 flavors and textures to play with, cooking with insects can be as fun as it is beneficial to local and global health. Many insects can be farmed vertically and sustainably, without antibiotics or hormones. Some can even transform food waste into clean new sources of protein, iron, and calcium. Curious about broadening your palette? Join us for a discussion of changing food norms, ancient traditions, and new opportunities.
Chelsea Thomas is the head of the Amphibian Conservation Program at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. She studied Environmental Psychology at Oberlin College, focusing on how exposure to nature affects children’s wellbeing. After college, she became the primary animal caretaker at an educational farm in Canton, GA. Unsatisfied with the environmental impact and other aspects of most pelleted animal feeds, she began growing edible insects as a safe and natural protein source for pigs and chickens (as well as her pet reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates). She soon learned that many humans eat mealworms too and discovered they taste like pinenuts! Years and several transitions later, Chelsea continues to find the idea of feeding herself and her animals with home-grown proteins exciting and empowering. She has spoken about edible insects through various Atlanta forums such as the AtlSciFest, Atlanta Science Tavern, Dahlonega Science Cafe, UGA Insectival, WREK, Adult Swim, and Atlanta Magazine.