Let Them Eat Bugs

January 29, 2024



Employees sort out crickets for size at Smile Cricket Farm at Ratchaburi province, southwest of Bangkok, Thailand, on Oct. 3, 2019
Employees sort out crickets for size at Smile Cricket Farm at Ratchaburi province, southwest of Bangkok, Thailand, Oct. 3, 2019.


Dear Friends of the Constitution Party,

The link/article below was brought to my attention by Missouri State Representative Holly Jones, founding member of the Freedom Caucus.  Rep. Jones was a guest speaker at the Spring 2023 National Committee Meeting featuring keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Malone. While this farm is not in her District, she did admit that if it were, she’d be in their face every day!

Are bugs listed on our food labels?

Is there a cricket farm near you?

Cindy Redburn, Donna Ivanovich & Rep. Holly Jones
Cindy Redburn, Donna Ivanovich & Rep. Holly Jones

This is not just talk, It’s reality.


WILDWOOD — A Fenton-based startup that is pioneering the use of crickets as a protein source is trying to cultivate its own crop of chirpers in Wildwood.

The Mighty Cricket, founded in 2018, was awarded a grant this month from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to collect food waste from local restaurants and grocery stores on which to raise the six-legged crew and fine-tune their flavor.

The inclusion of insects as a dietary choice — aside from the 2 pounds of bug bits people consume unwittingly each year — is still rare in the United States. But as attention turns to sustainability and health, palates are broadening.

Vegan burgers are on the menu at fast-food chains. Two companies producing lab-grown meats earned Food and Drug Administration approval in June. The U.S. market for protein alternatives surged 60% between 2019 and 2021, according to Nielsen data, though that stemmed mostly from products made of beans and legumes.

Bugs-as-nourishment can be a difficult concept for Americans to swallow, even as options are multiplying.

“It’s not just grasshoppers on pizzas,” said Jeff Tomberlin, an entomologist who teaches at Texas A&M University. “You don’t ever see the insect.”

In many parts of the world, mealworms, beetles and ants are not a novelty but a staple. About 2 billion people — mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America — regularly put insects on their plates. The market is expected to reach $9.6 billion worldwide by 2030.

“The U.S. is behind the curve,” Tomberlin said. “The Western world is catching up to the rest of the world.”

Two years ago, he co-founded the Center for Environmental Sustainability Through Insect Farming with two other universities to study how to advance insect production for animal and human consumption.

Bugs aren’t burdened with the same environmental baggage as the big three meats: beef, pork and chicken. Livestock emits methane, a gas that contributes to atmospheric warming, and takes up more than two-thirds of the globe’s agricultural land.

“I think if people knew where their food came from, it would be very enlightening,” Tomberlin said.

Crickets, while saddled with an unsavory reputation, are a model of efficiency. Their space requirements are almost as small as they are. They don’t need much food or water. And they grow quickly: The population turns over in six to eight weeks.

When the nocturnal jumpers reach their final day, they get popped into the freezer where they slide into a state of hibernation called torpor, just like they would during the cool nights of late autumn. After 24 hours, they die.

“It’s really lovely,” said Sarah Schlafly, the owner of Mighty Cricket.

The crickets are then blanched, roasted and milled. The powder is blended in Mighty Cricket’s Fenton warehouse into bags of oatmeal — apple cinnamon, dark chocolate and coconut cream — or protein supplements in plain, vanilla and chocolate.

For five years, outside suppliers have provided the Mighty Cricket’s eponymous ingredient. But they weren’t always reliable. Some went out of business. And the taste could be inconsistent — sometimes mild, sometimes earthy.

The only way to get exactly what she wanted, Schlafly thought, was to farm her own team of tiny omnivores and tinker with their diets until she landed on the right menu. She applied for a $131,500 Small Business Innovation Research Grant in October and found out in May that she got it. It allowed her to bring on another full-time employee, purchase equipment and rent space for research and development at the Helix Center, a biotech incubator in Creve Coeur.

Schlafly knows precisely what she is chasing: a batch she sampled a couple years ago that has never been equaled.

“They were amazing tasting,” she said. “Exactly like pistachios.”

With some reverse engineering, she’s trying to replicate the inputs that will elicit the same nutty quality.

A cricket farm is not a complicated operation. Schlafly is starting with 10 plastic bins inside her garage. Her initial herd — or to be precise, orchestra — will number about a thousand. The inch-long scavengers will snack out of little dishes and drink from the same automatic chicken waterers used in coops.

The variable is what they will eat. Schlafly has contacted local grocers and restaurants, such as Whole Foods and Companion bakery, to rescue their discards: carrot tops and wilted greens, stale bread and potato peels. Then she will experiment until the crickets embody her sought-after flavor.

Once she can standardize the feed, she hopes to scale up, first for the Mighty Cricket line and then selling to owners of exotic animals, pet food companies and zoos. That will likely be years down the road, Schlafly said, and will require another infusion of money.

Despite the slow process, if small businesses like Schlafly’s “remain engaged and persistent,” said Texas A&M’s Tomberlin, insects will enjoy a status boost.

No longer just basement pests, he said, but vitamin B12 providers. Mineral powerhouses. Environmental superheroes.

Mighty crickets.

Share this link on Social Media: https://constitutionparty.com/eat-bugs/


Questions or Comments?

Click here to contact Donna Ivanovich, Assistant to the National Chairman