Next Millennium Farms has been leading the insect protein revolution in Canada for the last couple of years. Headed by the three Goldin brothers, Darren, Jarrod, and Ryan, they have now re-branded themselves as Entomo Farms. Jarrod and Stacie Goldin were happy to answer a few questions on where they’re at and what they’ve been up to.
EBF: Firstly, can you tell us a bit about Entomo Farm’s mission and values. What’s a “geoentomarian”?
Our mission statement:
- To make an important contribution to the feeding of an estimated world population of 9 billion people in 2050.
- To establish a new paradigm of perception and desirability as we motivate people across the globe to consume insect protein.
- To achieve excellence in entomophagy with the production, harvesting and distribution of the highest quality of insect protein.
- To create a global awareness of the relevance and socio-political impact of each person’s protein carbon footprint.
- To provide graded feed alternatives to farmers producing healthier and certifiable organic fish and chicken.
- Entomo Farms will be recognized as a world leader in providing protein alternatives in the form of the finest organic and world-class insect proteins with great tasting products and recipes.
- We will be perceived as a leading light – the world authority – in the dissemination of insect farming methods and the marketing of insect protein.
- We will be respected world-wide, for leading the protein revolution with our esteemed values of integrity, trustworthiness and accountability, in everything we say and do.
A “geoentomarian” is a term we coined, literally meaning Geo (Earth), Entomo (insect), and Arian (person). A person who consumes insect protein in order to drastically reduce his or her ecological footprint and contribute towards the healing of the Earth.
Entomo Farms are right at the forefront of Canadian entomophagy. Who are you guys and what is it exactly that you do?
Next Millennium Farms, our earlier incarnation, originally branched off from Reptile Feeders, an insect farm founded by brothers Darren and Ryan about 8 years ago. Older brother Jarrod then joined them to launch Next Millennium Farms in March 2014.
We are very excited about our re-branding as Entomo Farms, and decided on this name very simply because it states exactly who we are and what we do! We breed and raise insects, and prepare them for your plate, either as whole roasted insects, seasoned insects, or insect protein powder. All these items are available for purchase through our website’s store, and we sell both to consumers and wholesale to businesses so they can use our product as an ingredient in their own products. By the summer of 2015, we were the first insect farm across both North America and Europe to receive our organic certification. Since we were the first insect farm for human consumption in North America, we are helping to shape policies and best practices in many different areas.
What made you decide to start farming insects for human consumption? How did it all start?
The idea to raise insects for human consumption began in November 2013. Watching the news, a piece came on about the food issues that we’ll be having when population climbs to 9 billion by 2050. The UN had put out a report that pointed to insects being a sustainable food source and it seemed to be the most logical move for us, being proponents of the environment, and already farming insects.
Why insects? Your products’ slogan is “Protein2050”, so what makes insects the food of the future?
By the year 2050 the global population will reach over 9 billion people. Food scarcity is already an issue in so many areas in this world, and by 2050, if we don’t change our protein habits soon, food scarcity will be a problem of epic proportion. Insects are the ultimate superfood, twice the protein of beef. Already, 40 percent of our land is taken up by agriculture, and 70 percent of that land is used for growing feed for cattle.
Insects, being cold-blooded, are a lot more efficient at converting feed into protein than cattle are. For example, crickets need 12 times less feed than cattle to produce the same amount of protein. Insects also take up virtually no physical space and can be fed on organic waste streams. They are rich in protein and good fats. They also are a good source of calcium, iron and zinc. Many companies are now using our cricket powder / flour in their protein bars. They claim that cricket flour has more iron than beef, almost as much calcium as milk and is high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating insects is good for the environment. Raising insects will ultimately slow the environmental degradation process. Crickets, for example, are so much more sustainable as a protein than beef. A single cow can produce up to 132 pounds of methane a day (~60 kg), roughly equivalent to that of a car. Crickets, however, will produce 80 times less methane than cattle per unit weight.
So I mentioned in a talk once, that you guys feed some of your crickets apple and cinnamon to enhance their flavour. Why, specifically, and does this actually work? How do they taste?
Crickets naturally have a nutty, earthy taste. When roasted, they become crunchy and very nut-like. A neat thing about crickets is that they can end up having undertones of different flavors depending on what you feed them. We have done some experimenting and research; feeding the insects different ingredients to see how they work in different recipes. For example, crickets fed with basil, then roasted, were then tossed into a salad for an extra savory flavor, and crickets raised on cinnamon enhancements were ground into powder then used in pancake mix for a nice cinnamon undertone in the pancakes.
You currently farm crickets and mealworms, right?
We offer frozen crickets, whole roasted organic and gluten-free crickets and mealworms, seasoned roasted crickets and mealworms (our Bug Bistro line) and regular, organic and gluten-free cricket powder. We specialize in crickets and mealworms now, but we also farm waxworms, hornworms and superworms. I’m sure we’ll do others in the future. “Entomo” in our new name represents our commitment to insects as a collective, and their role in nutrition, food and feed, not just to crickets and mealworms.
What kind of products do you your bugs end up in?
Whole roasted insects are used in a variety of dishes; trail mix, granola, tacos, salads, or on their own as a snack. We sell the powder wholesale to many different companies who are producing their own lines of entomo-enhanced foods. The powder is used for many different recipes, including but not limited to protein bars, protein powder, shakes, granola, and pet treats.
What do you guys do in the way of entomophagy advocacy?
We, along with you guys and over 120 other “entopreneurs”, are members of the International Entopreneurs Community (IEC). Together, we are organising World Edible Insect Day (WEID) – the first of its kind will be on October 23rd of this year. Jarrod is the media point person for Canada for this group of other entomophagists, and entomo companies.
We also have a large community of followers as Next Millennium Farms on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, and we get out to as many events as possible, including farmers markets. This year we are doing the Royal Winter Fair, where we will have over 20,000 students visiting our booth, so we plan on educating them as much as possible about entomophagy.
We’ve also entered into several different contests, including Bear’s Lair in Peterborough Ontario (we won), and we also just won the Start Up Canada award in the innovation stream. We know that education will be one of the largest aspects of this journey to getting people to embrace entomophagy!
What’s the growth of the industry like in Canada? Is it getting more popular?
The market is actually ridiculous – it is expanding exponentially, and new entomo start ups are being added month on month. Check out this Ento Inc’s site for a list.
What’s next for Next Millennium Farms? Any exciting plans for things coming up?
We’re very excited about the re-branding! And our new website!
We plan on doing as much outreach as we can over the next few years, bringing delicious samples out to as many people as possible so they can see there is nothing to shy away from.
We are also expanding to 60,000 square feet of farm space, and currently raise over 936,000,000 crickets annually.
We feel so fortunate to be part of something so revolutionary, and something that can actually make a difference, not only to the health of people, but to the planet as well… and to die-hard environmentalists like we all are in the company. That means a lot to us.