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Six-Legged Allies:
How insects are shaping food futures

Incorporating more insects into the human diet could fight climate change  and help  feed a booming  global population. In Latin America, this future food is already here and has deep ancestral roots. But can culinary activists fight skepticism and change palates in time?

“This is exactly what we believed to be fighting for in the FARC: the peasant communities and their well-being. Only here it is without weapons but with fish and insects.”

– Former FARC fighter

According to the organization Our World in Data, “the expansion of agriculture has been one of the greatest impacts that the human race has left on the Earth (…) If we combine pastures used for grazing with land used to grow crops for animal feed, livestock accounts for 77% of global farming land. While livestock takes up most of the world’s agricultural land it only produces 18% of the world’s calories and 37% of total protein”.

Scientists call proteins the building blocks of life.

0 %

of the world’s human diet food protein supply comes from livestock meat.

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In July 2021 2,095 km² was deforested in the Brazilian Amazon.

80% more than the same month in 2020.
The main cause: cattle grazing.
0

gallons of water are needed to produce 6 grams of beef, 19 grams of chicken and 71 grams of cricket.

0 %

of farming land is devoted to extensive cattle raising and only 20% to agriculture in Latin America.

1 tablespoon of cricket contains 15 grams of protein

Crickets provide as much protein as beef, as much iron as spinach and more vitamin B12 than salmon.

There are more than 12,500 species of ants in the world. In Mexico, 973 species of ants are distributed, almost 8% of the world total.

For all these reasons, one of the recommendations made by the FAO to reduce the environmental impact of livestock farming is to focus on protein diversification. 

 

This can be achieved through sustainable production and consumption of insects, their flours and derivatives to feed ourselves, the animals we eat, the animals we domesticate or even to protect other endangered species. 

 

But can people conquer their prejudices against eating bugs?

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This is a cross-border story written by
Melissa Castaño, Michelle Morelos, Mayra Prado Torres and Daniela Mejía Castaño

Illustrations by
Neha Vaddadi 

Edited by
Purple Romero

Multimedia Production & Creative Design by
Gabriela Ramirez

Editor- in- chief
Tina Lee

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