On Thursday, Feb. 14, MSU hosted the 31st annual Bug Buffet in the SUB with a diverse selection of edible bugs, created by David George Gordon and Amber Wivholm. The dishes were made with traditional ingredients and different types of bugs, ranging from insects to larvae. They varied from fried rice and salad, to banana bread and savory pancakes. Everything provided was safe for consumption, regardless of the type of bug used, and was overseen by MSU’s sanitarian Dustin Schreiner.
As well as dishes containing bugs, a few local companies were also present, selling and providing information about their products that were created from bugs such as honey and silk. One such present was Belgrade company, Cowboy Cricket Farms, the only edible bug farm in Montana, who sell a variety of products from plain crickets to “chocolate chirp cookies.” On Friday, Feb. 15, MSU offered educational field trips to visit the cricket farm to see what goes into raising and preparing these little insects for consumption. Cowboy Crickets was founded as a direct result of previous bug buffets.
According to nutrition.org.uk, “Insects are reported to emit fewer greenhouse gases than cattle, and require significantly less land.” The same study states “edible insects are reported to be good sources of iron,” which makes them a new favorite among certain western societies for their environmental and health benefits, although some may be rather repulsed by the idea of eating the little creatures. The purpose of the bug buffet is to raise awareness about these facts and reduce the carbon footprint created by typical agricultural practices. Being that agriculture accounts for around half of Montana’s income, in order to keep this state as pristine as it has been for years, the bug buffet intends to show the public the benefits of eating bugs as opposed to other forms of protein, namely cattle.
Although the bug buffet is prepared by the MSU Food Service and occurs on campus, members of the community were more than welcome at the event. MSU reported that more than 1,000 guests were present last year, and hope they reached a similar mark this year. For more information about the bug buffet, visit montana.edu/ehhd/thebugbuffet.html. For more information about Cowboy Crickets or to purchase their products, check out cowboycrickets.com.