Jude Tallichet, Adam Chad Brody
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In conjunction with Home Sweet Home: Is a Home a Sanctuary? on view in the Cynthia C. Wainwright Gallery, Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA) presents Love Crickets, Save the Planet, a live cricket farm installation in the Bridge.
This site-specific installation invites visitors to explore the question “what is a home?” by considering how we might invite bugs into our homes as friends instead of foes. Artists Jude Tallichet and Adam Chad Brody believe that it is vital to expose young people to the idea that bugs not pests — rather, they are an essential part of our ecosystem and food systems. Love Crickets, Save the Planet will showcase functioning cricket farms, original animations that explore cooking with crickets, kinesthetic cricket dancing with larger-than-life cricket projections, and participatory cricket concerts. This installation will give visitors the chance to observe these insects at a level of intimacy that few will have enjoyed before. Visitors will be able to view crickets up close, examine various cricket habitats and feeding systems, learn about the benefits of utilizing crickets as an alternative source of nutrition, and even dance with larger-than-life cricket projections. This installation is invested in a culturally situated approach to ecological revolution whereby crickets become kin, housemates, collaborators, and entertainment, in addition to being a food source.
Are we connected to our food in a meaningful way, or are we simply raising food in order not to starve? Love Crickets, Save the Planet will foster a new understanding, not only of what young people eat, but of how our food factors into a larger system.
Join the conversation with the hashtag #LoveCricketsSaveThePlanet!
Learn More About Crickets!
Crickets as food?
Insects are widely consumed as food in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. However, most people in Europe, the Middle East, and North America think that eating insects is weird and gross. It’s simply a matter of what we are culturally accustomed to. Our ancestors ate a wide variety of insects — in fact, eating locusts is mentioned in both the Quran and the Judeo-Christian Bible.
How are crickets farmed?
Crickets are farmed indoors. They are provided with large, clean, enclosures with fresh water and food, including vegetables and grains. Once crickets reach maturity at 5-6 weeks of age, they are gathered and refrigerated. This refrigeration process puts them into a state of dormancy, as would occur in nature during the winter months. Next, they are put into a freezer, which finishes the harvesting process. It is an incredibly humane process. Afterwards, they are rinsed in clean water to remove any dust or dirt. Finally, they are roasted in the oven and ready for use as a snack or in a wide variety of exciting recipes.
What are the health benefits?
Crickets are composed of 65% protein — that’s three times more protein than beef and two times more than chicken! They also contain a higher percentage of vitamins, minerals, and fiber than traditional animal protein. Crickets also contain more calcium than milk and three times more iron than beef.
What are the taste benefits?
Crickets can be cooked in a variety of ways. They can be roasted like seeds or nuts with a bit of olive oil, resulting in a taste that is reminiscent of pumpkin seeds or even popcorn. They can also be roasted and ground up into a flour and used in cakes, cookies, burgers, sauces, or falafel. Crickets take on the flavor of both their food and their environment. For example, if crickets are fed cumin and coriander, they will taste spicy.
What are the environmental benefits?
One of the major stresses on the environment from farming beef, lamb, and chicken is the food that must be grown to feed these animals. Not so with crickets! To produce one kilogram of beef requires 10,000 grams of feed, while a similar amount of cricket biomass requires only 1,700 grams of feed. The water required for conventional farming is also a massive strain on the environment. One kilogram of beef requires 22,000 liters of water. Guess how much water is needed to produce one kilo of crickets? Less than one liter! Because crickets can be raised anywhere, in any climate, the environmental impact of shipping food long distances is eliminated. And, lastly, crickets produce only one gram of greenhouse gases per kilo, compared to 2,850 grams from cows.