Food of the Past, Present & Future

Don Bugito on Kickstarter & OTG!

Please help Monica Martinez of Don Bugito reach her funding goal! The way Kickstarter works is that it’s all or nothing, so if she doesn’t reach her goal of $40,000, then she doesn’t get any money that has been donated. So, if you haven’t already, I personally and HIGHLY suggest you donate to Don Bugito’s Insect Food Cart fundraising effort on Kickstarter! MiniLivestock is honored to have the opportunity to help Don Bugito prepare for this fundraising and hope it exceeds it’s funding goal. Really, any donation amount helps! Also, please help spread the word! All support is appreciated! Thanks everyone. Let’s make this happen.

Also, Don Bugito will be at Off the Grid at Fort Mason this evening for their second appearance! Don Bugito will be there every other week, so make sure not to miss them today between 5-10pm, otherwise, you’ll have to wait another whole 2 weeks!

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Minilivestock at R/GA Today, May 13

In this R/GA Lecture event Monica and Rosanna will get together and present a brief trajectory of their artistic practice and the development of their interest in edible insects and street food culture.

Monica Martinez is an artist, educator and designer. Her complex sculptural constructions are concerned with urban architectural landscapes, industrial buildings, containers and other objects related to food surpluses.

Rosanna Yau is an interdisciplinary designer based in San Francisco. Rosanna explores ways to make entomophagy (the consumption of insects as food) accessible. She is an advocate of learning through making and sharing—as a result, she is not only interested in encouraging people to try eating insects, but to also be creative and try cooking insects themselves as well. Rosanna will discuss her experiences in raising, harvesting and cooking insects, and her thesis that explored utilizing the familiar as a method to reframe edible insects as food.

Invite your friends to RSVP by emailing or RSVP on Facebook

Friday, May 13 · 4:30pm – 5:30pm
R/GA San Francisco
35 South Park Street
San Francisco, CA

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Beetle Queen on KQED, May 17

On Tuesday, May 17th at 10:00pm (check local listings), the PBS series INDEPENDENT LENS is proud to present Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo.

Perhaps there is no more startling evidence of the cultural divide between East and West than that which is on display in Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, with scenes of Japanese families intentionally bringing large bugs into their homes and children playing with pincered beetles like living action figures. Using insects like an anthropologist’s toolkit, the film uncovers Japanese philosophies that will shift perspectives on nature, beauty and life, and just might make you question if your ‘instinctive’ repulsion to bugs is merely a trick of Western conditioning.

Some of you may remember a few posts I did a while back when the film Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, directed by Jessica Oreck, made its way to SF back last summer. The screening in SF only lasted a few days at the Kabuki Theater in Japantown, so if you missed it, now is your chance to see the debute of Beetle Queen ON TV!

I was excited when Jessica blogged about MiniLivestock and asked me to be a Beetle Queen guest blogger * * * * *. I also had the opportunity to spend some time with Jessica while she was here for her SF screening. We had a good conversation over dinner about or varying projects and passions, made a trip to Paxton Gate, and did some hanging out in the Mission District. Overall, good times with a passionate, down-to-earth person with an interesting and beautiful film that I highly recommend.

Also, keep a look out for Jessica’s upcoming films “The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga”, “Pipe Fire”, and “Venus”:
Myriapod Productions trailers

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Visit our table at the SFUM on Feb. 5!

MiniLivestock will be selling some take-home insect goodies at the SFUM between 11am-4pm this Sat, Feb. 5! This will be our first time tabling at the SFUM and hopefully not our last. We will have your insect snacks ready for you just in time for the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day. If you’re not into those things, no worries—just get out of the house, eat some tasty foods and support your local vendors. See you there!

If you have never been to the event, don’t forget to sign up as a free member. You only have to do it once, and they just want to make sure you understand that the food products sold at this event may be produced in people’s homes, and not always in a commercial kitchen.

San Francisco Underground Market
Saturday, February 5th
11am-4pm : Take-homeables and gifts
6pm-11pm : Hot food, Music
Location: SomArts, 934 Brannan St, @ 8th (right behind the Trader Joe’s building)
Admission: $5
Sign-up to be a member
Drinks Will Be Served

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Brazilian Tradition of Eating Ants

Içás, or queen ants, taste like mint? Maybe the Girl Scout Association should look into making some special edition Thin Mints, yeah? It’s interesting that although many Brazilians enjoy eating içás, many are embarrassed to admit that they do eat them because the food is often a tradition reserved for poorer families. On the opposite side of that perception, in northern Colombia, locals are exporting their “hormigas culonas” or big-rear queen ants, to France, Britain and other countries, where they are dipped in chocolate. Although some residents in Brazil say they could use the money, they are also concerned about preserving tradition and the ant population, which they believe does not involve shipping their food to other interested countries. Read the rest of the article here: Pesticides Threaten Ant-Eating Tradition in Brazil.

Mr. Ferraz, 72, says he receives almost daily phone calls asking him to start delivering ants to far-off towns. He said he looked into exporting them at some point but gave up because the Brazilian export laws for food are too complicated. Beyond that, he said, “I don’t think making deliveries would be good for the quality of the tradition.”

He grew up eating içás at home and taught the tradition to his children. Then, 20 years ago, he held an içá festival that drew more than 400 people. The festival’s success inspired him to create an arts and crafts center dedicated to the tradition.

Today he shows off table mats, dishes, cups, his apron and paintings on a wall of his restaurant that all feature the queen ant. Other artists are designing toys.

Slowly, Mr. Ferraz was able to help break the stigma that used to surround eating içás, which had been seen as a tradition reserved for poorer families. “Many people would say they were embarrassed about eating içás,” he said. And yet, he said, every October and November “the entire town would smell like frying ants.”

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Bugs in San Diego

So I am Sans Diego as of Thursday. Got back to SF from the ESA’s 2010 Entomology Conference, which was my first time both attending and presenting. Stay tuned for more updates on the presentations later, but here’s a quick photo recap of my trip:

I was surprised to run into Cheryl from the UCB Entomology Museum in the exhibition room…or rather, I shouldn’t have been since the insect world is so small and all.

I also spent some time at the San Diego Zoo with David Gracer, and got some behind the scenes action at the Insect Zoo thanks to Kerri, Isabel and Chris. Thanks for the tour, guys!

Walking sticks are one of my favorite insects. This particular one was pretty awesome. She has eyes on the top of her head! Here she is playing dead. *Edit this is NOT a walking stick, but a type of grasshopper (thanks, Lou)!

A tapir!

…and an armadillo!

Also, big thanks to Peggy+Zak and Kip+Alexi for taking me into their homes. I actually didn’t realize that I liked San Diego until this week. Tasty food and company. Thanks, guys.

See more images of my trip here.

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ESA’s 2010 Entomology Conference or Bust

Hey everybody, I am leaving tomorrow to San Diego for the Entomological Society of America’s 2010 Entomology Conference. I’ll be giving a presentation this coming Wednesday, Dec. 15 on the role of design in the entomophagy movement titled “Design & Entomophagy: It’s Not Just Another Pretty Face”. The entomophagy session will be lead by none-other than David Gracer and Florence V. Dunkel. Make sure to add MiniLivestock on Twitter to receive updates from the event. Good times shall be had. Obviously, I will be flying and not walking like in the map above (Google maps says it will take me 6 days and 22 hours to walk from SF to SD if I take the CA-25 E and 7 days and 1 hour if I take the CA-33 S…maybe one day). Anyways, wish me luck!

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Join MiniLivestock at the CalAcademy tomorrow, Nov. 18!

Hello ML followers. Sorry for being M.I.A., but I’ve been really busy doing behind-the-scenes things like redesigning the ML website, prepping for my presentation with the entomophagy crew at the 2010 ESA Entomology Conference in San Diego, and prepping for the Cal Academy of Science and KQED’s “A Taste of NightLife” event that’s happening tomorrow…night!

MiniLivestock will be joining several others on this food-themed night with a variation of the Nutritional Insects exhibition. Make sure to come by for a sampling of salted, dried crickets and mealworms. If you need even more reasons to go, KQED will be screening the films The Botany of Desire and Black Gold. There will also be food demos from local SF organizations like 18 Reasons, TCHO and Madecasse.

“A Taste of NightLife”
Thursday, November 18th
Must be over 21

See you there.

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FAO Edible Insects Website Launched

Earlier this year, I received an email from Professor Arnold van Huis from Wageningen University, Netherlands. Prof. van Huis was gathering information for the “World Inventory of Activities on Edible Insects for FAO” because the United Nations has been seriously considering exploring insects as a sustainable food source, and wants to start formulating a strategy to promote human entomophagy in both developed and developing countries.

With this newly launched website, we will be able to stay informed and learn from such entomophagy-related efforts such as the “Edible Forest Insects” project in Laos PDR, which is currently headed by the Forestry Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The site provides some basic information on the use and potential of edible insects and interesting links, which include the proceedings of the workshop “Edible Forest Insects: Humans Bite Back held in 2008 in Chiang Mai”, and an information flyer promoting the contribution of edible forest insects in assuring food security. Thanks Prof. van Huis and his Phd student, Joost Vanitterbbeck, for the update!

Check the website out here:

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MiniLivestock Luncheon

Here is a long, overdue post of images from the MiniLivestock Luncheon from earlier this year. More images in the MiniLivestock Luncheon album on FB. Bon appetite!

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