Could Cricket Farming Be the New Bingo?
Written by Plant With Purpose on October 13, 2010 in General
by Aly Lewis
One of my favorite things about Plant With Purpose is the sheer creativity and ingenuity of the people with whom we partner. Our staff works with local community members to implement creative, sustainable solutions to pressing problems such as water shortages, limited income opportunities, and land that isn’t producing like it used to.
My favorite new project is taking place in our program in Northern Thailand. Commercial logging threatens the livelihoods of hill tribe farming families as they are forced off their ancestors’ land in the name of commercialization. Forest resources—critical for medicine, food, and construction—are declining in availability as land is taken over for conservation or expanding crop production.
Plant With Purpose is partnering with farmers to generate alternative enterprises and make the most out of the resources they do have. And what new resource did I just learn they are looking into utilizing? Crickets! That’s right, our staff is hoping to work with elderly farmers to raise the hoppy, jumpy, (if-you’ve-ever-eaten-chapulines-in-Mexico-you’d understand) oh-so-crunchy delicacy and cousin to the grasshopper commonly known as crickets.
I know it sounds a bit wacky, but the genius part of the project is that it addresses a real need in the community. Farmers make their living by working the land. For us suburbanites it’s easy to forget that farming, especially on steep hillsides with limited access to machinery, is really hard work. Elderly farmers have few options to sustain themselves or contribute to household income as it becomes increasingly difficult for them to work the land. In a creative blending of indigenous knowledge with keen business sense, the project will provide elderly folks with a less labor-intensive way to bring in income.
Now that sounds even better than bingo to me!