Tell us a bit about yourself and Tomorrow's Harvest.
My wife, Jen, and I started Tomorrow’s Harvest two years ago. We are the first cricket farm for human consumption in the Northeast and one of the first in North America.
When and how did you get started? What inspired you to pursue raising insects for human consumption?
It all started when my son was born in 2013. I basically went online and started reading about how to raise a child, and through the magic of the internet, came across a report that the UN released about edible insects and how they are a solution to both climate change and global hunger. That report started this journey for us, as well as for the majority of companies in this field today. Two years ago I ordered my first batch of crickets and started raising them in a shed in our garage. Since then we’ve converted our basement into a cricket farm, and are now looking to move into a warehouse.
Where do you distribute?
We currently only sell through our website.
How many crickets do you raise?
We have approximately 1 million crickets in our farm right now.
Is it a year-round venture?
It is a full time job for sure. It’s very much farming in that I am constantly feeding/watering/cleaning/harvesting.
What do the crickets on your farm eat?
The crickets are currently fed organic chicken feed. Eventually we hope to develop a feed that is geared directly towards crickets. One of the really exciting aspects of insect farming is that eventually insects can be fed our food waste, which is approximately 40% of all the food we produce and a major contributor to climate change. Imagine being able to take all that food and recycling it with crickets!
In what ways do you hope to grow your business? Are you looking into farming other insects?
We are focused on getting into a warehouse right now. Eventually we would love to start working with other insects. There are over 1 million species of insects, many thousand of which have already been identified as safe to eat.
What’s process of making crickets into cricket flour?
We literally just dry them and then mill them in to a powder. Most protein powders today are made from Whey or Soy and they have to isolate the protein first, which isn’t ideal. Crickets are 70% protein when dried, no isolation necessary, and contain all 9 essential amino acids (which means they are a complete protein). So not only is cricket protein powder amazingly good for you, it’s also the least processed product available.
Why do you think insects aren't on more western menus?
There’s actually a very simple explanation for why Westerners don’t eat insects. Way back when Europeans had access to 13 of the 14 mammals that humans use for food, clothing etc, so they didn’t need to eat insects. Then, when they started conquering other cultures, they ran into native people who ate insects and associated it with being inferior. That stigma continues on to this day.
How do your kids feel about eating insects?
We are raising our kids to not be grossed out by insects, and they love eating crickets, both whole as well as in powder form. They constantly are asking us to make ‘cricket cookies!’ That’s one of the amazing aspects of crickets. We turn them in to a powder and incorporate them in to existing recipes. You can’t taste it at all. Completely out of sight, out of mind.
What's a favorite recipe someone could make at home?
We have some recipes on our website. The cookies are definitely our favorite first timers because everyone loves cookies.
What is the biggest threat to the environment?
Most people don’t realize just how devastating the industrial agriculture system is. Industrial livestock production is the leading cause of water pollution, deforestation, antibiotic use, desertification and the list goes on. The biggest way a person can lessen their impact on the environment is to change what they eat.
What are some steps people can take to protect the earth?
Eat less meat, and the meat you do eat needs to be local and sustainable. And, of course, eat crickets!
Have you noticed any positive trends in environmentalism?
People are becoming more aware of our impact on the environment, especially the younger generation. Unfortunately we can’t wait until they get in to power to start making changes. We need to fix this in the next few years.
Tomorrow's Harvest supports Regeneration Vermont.
Regeneration Vermont is a new nonprofit educational and advocacy organization that is working to halt the catastrophic consequences of Vermont’s adoption of degenerative, toxic and climate-threatening agricultural techniques, particularly within the dominant dairy sector. They are affiliated with Regeneration International, a bold new organization working to educate, unify and mobilize movements around agricultural-based solutions to the world’s climate, hunger and environmental crises.