The Gateway Bug - Film Screening and Q & A

June 18, 2018 | Isabel

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Please join us for the Toronto premiere of The Gateway Bug on Friday, June 22 at 6 pm. This delectable documentary will be shown as part of the Friday Evening Films series at Toronto Reference Library. Join us on the third floor in the Hinton Learning Theatre

The Gateway Bug explores the future of food and the environment. The population of the world is expanding past the abilities of the Earth to sustain it. At the current rate of growth, our population will balloon to nine billion by 2050. To feed everyone, we will need to double our food production. Our current farming practices are unsustainable. Climate change will only exacerbate these problems. Not to mention that our methods of food production are some of the leading causes of carbon emissions and climate change in the first place! Can we continue to feed ourselves without destroying our planet? Filmmakers Johanna B. Kelly and Cameron Marshad think so, if we start eating bugs.

Beondegi, or silkworm pupae: a Korean street food. Photo by Travis, used under CC BY 2.0.

They are not alone. In a 2013 report (PDF), The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) outlined the benefits of entomophagy, the practice of eating bugs. Insects need much less land and emit fewer greenhouse gasses when farmed than cattle or pigs. They are an excellent source of protein, iron and healthy fats. An estimated two billion people already include insects in their regular diets. There's plenty of bugs on the menu in Mexico, particularly fried grasshoppers, or "chapulines." 

guacamole and chapulines (crickets)
Guacamole with chapulines. Photo by César Rincón, used under CC BY / Cropped from original.

Fried bamboo worms are a Thai delicacy and in China you can sample the infamous scorpion kebab.

Scorpions on a stick in Beijing
Scorpions on a stick in Beijing. Photo by Jack Zalium, used under CC BY 2.0.

After the film there will be a Q&A with Dr. Aruna Handa and bug chef Cookie Martinez. Here is some information about them from the filmmakers:

Dr. Handa is a Toronto artist and founder of the Future Food Salons. Her Salons have toured North America and her art has been featured in festivals like Nuit Blanche and in Canadian and international press. Handa is currently preparing the next Future Food Salons, finishing a cookbook-memoir and creating the Anthropocene Kabaret. There will be bugs.

Colombian bug chef Cookie Martinez started cooking with crickets and other edible insects as part of the Future Food Salons. Developing several recipes using crickets she also stocks insects at her shop at Market 707 where she offers Cricket Empanadas, Mealworms and Silkworms.

Sadly, many people in North America find the idea of eating bugs disgusting. I have to admit, going through the Gateway Bug’s Instagram feed (@thegatewaybugfilm) made me a bit nauseous as well. There's something about lemon cake with ants that throws me. Fried worms do look delicious, though.

Cooked worms and insects at a market in Thailand
Cooked worms and insects at a market in Thailand. Photo by Oliver Laumann, used under CC BY / Cropped from original.

I think I’ll start by getting some cricket powder from my local supermarket.

The Gateway Bug explores the growing North American edible insect industry and the people like Dr. Handa and Ms. Martinez who are trying to broaden our ideas about food.If you can’t make it to the showing, the film is available on DVD and streaming video.

Want to put more bugs on your plate? Check out these tasty essays and cookbooks!

On Eating Insects Eat the Beetles

Edible  The Insect Cookbook

Eat Grub  The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook