Interview with Josh Galt, founder of EntoVegan
Tell us shortly how you got interested in the edible insects world
In early 2016 as I was researching vertical farming methods, and looking for potential ideas around sustainable food production within cities, I ended up on a google deep dive on that topic that led me to a random article about farming insects in an abandoned warehouse.
There was some mention about sustainability and nutritional benefits, so I followed that rabbit trail from article to article, and – no joke – within 2 hours I was on the street excitedly buying fried crickets and mealworms to taste!
The more I researched over the course of the year, the more I talked to locals, and the more I just kept sampling different insects, I realized that there are a lot of good reasons why a large percentage of the planet eats bugs regularly.
The obvious question: could a vegan eat insects?
I believe so, but of course then it wouldn’t be strictly “vegan” – thus I coined the term Entovegan to describe what it actually is.
Similar to a Vegetarian who eats fish going by the label Pescatarian, a Vegan who eats insects and other arthropods (known as Entomophagy), but no animal meats or by-products (eggs, dairy, oils, etc) would be considered an Entovegan.
Words have meaning, so technically the answer is “no, vegans can’t eat insects, because it’s an animal, not a plant”.
From a health perspective, I think it’s much more rational to eat insects alongside a vegan diet and be an Entovegan instead, for the added protein, vitamins, and minerals.
From an ethical standpoint, I haven’t heard a dogma-based argument against eating insects that holds up against a logical examination.
So I made up my own framework and called it Entovegan – and so far I’m still convinced it’s the healthiest way forward for people, and the best way forward for the planet.
Do you think that most of the vegans have the same opinion?
I’ve been asking every vegan I’ve met for the past year and a half about eating insects. I find the response is usually “well, I’ve never really thought about eating bugs, actually…I guess if my life depended on it I might, but…gross.”
I’ve found that because it’s a new question that both touches their ethics and their phobias in ways they’ve never really faced before, most people won’t give me a definitive answer in the moment.
How can you convince a vegan that eating an insect is different from eating a cow?
The reality is that eating insects is very much in line with what makes up a large portion of the vegan worldview, setting aside for the moment they’re in the animal kingdom: environmental sustainability, nutritional benefit, global variety, and local economic gain.
Do you think that in general entomophagy will be soon a normal food habit also in the West?
I’m optimistic, but I think we have to be realistic as well.
Edible insects have been present in many cultural diets around the world, for millennia. Now, they’re meeting modern technological food innovation – and that’s going to bring about some beneficial and environmentally-friendly changes for the human diet, along with positive economic impact in the developing world.
Personally, I feel better than I have in years eating insect protein instead of animal protein, and thanks to my time with Chef Melgarejo in Mexico, I’ve learned that insects really can taste delicious.
It’s just a mindset, a change of attitude.