Crickets and the Future of Food!

By Christine McPhail

Last Thursday, I ventured out in the rain to attend a great networking food event at the Centre for Social Innovation-Annex (CSI Annex) location. For those of you who haven’t heard of CSI here is how CSI describes themselves.

“The Centre for Social Innovation is a social enterprise with a mission to catalyze social innovation in Toronto and around the world. We believe that society is facing unprecedented economic, environmental, social and cultural challenges. We also believe that new innovations are the key to turning these challenges into opportunities to improve our communities and our planet.

We’re a coworking space, community, and launchpad for people who are changing the world, with three locations in Toronto and a location in New York City. We provide our members with the tools they need to accelerate their success and amplify their impact. Together, we’re building a movement of nonprofits, for-profits, entrepreneurs, artists, and activists working across sectors to create a better world.”

After learning more about CSI, I could not wait to attend this event! CSI-Annex holds monthly networking events call Six Degrees of Social Innovation. These events fill the CSI-Annex location with members of the social change community, all eager to discuss the topic at hand and meet new people. This month’s topic was food and the speaker was Dr. Aruna Antonella Handa. She is a food philosopher and entrepreneur and she gave an amazing talk on Eating Innovation: Cultivating the Future of Food. She talked about many ideas in relation to de-centralizing the food system, growing your own food, supporting urban agriculture, and supporting local producers and growers.

Most importantly she talked about the sustainability of our food system and how eating bugs could be a real solution! Many cultures already incorporate insects into their diet and it is certainly a growing phenomenon. What is really exciting about eating insects is that they are great sources of protein, iron, and other important vitamins and minerals and they require much less water than say the average cut of meat, making them a more environmentally friendly food source. It’s also easier to keep crickets in an urban setting in comparison to chickens, cows, and pigs. Crickets in particular have about a 12 week lifespan and can then be harvested. They can also be harvested earlier and then freezed. Insects naturally slow down in lower temperatures and become dormant so this can be a more humane way to kill the crickets if need be. To show everyone just how great eating insects could be, a local Toronto chef Cookie Martinez served up Cricket Falafel, Cricket Thai Spoons, and Cricket Brittle and they were all….delicious! The crickets were supplied by Big Cricket Farm. I began imagining all the different ways crickets could continue to be introduced into our local food system…can you imagine a Toronto with cricket farms? How exciting!

This was a wonderful and engaging event and CSI really is a wonderful place for people to brainstorm ideas, make things happen, and change the world!

Here is a video of Dr. Aruna Antonella’s talk:

If you are interested in learning more about the Centre for Social Innovation or want to get involved visit

To learn more about cricket farming you can visit  Big Cricket Farm’s website




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