Do you want grasshoppers with that?

Ladysmith Secondary School grad Afton Halloran explores the world of entomophagy, or the consumption of insects.

  • Jul. 2, 2013 8:00 a.m.

Entomophagy — what does that mean? For one Ladysmith Secondary School (LSS) graduate, it means world travel, a lot of hard work and realizing a dream.

Afton Halloran grew up 10 kilometres outside of Ladysmith, and graduated from LSS in 2005.

She says she always had an idea of what she wanted to be but did not know exactly which path it would take her down. When she left high school, she was interested in sustainable diets with low environmental impacts, and she toyed with the possibility of becoming a dietitian.

When you think of a sustainable diet, do you think of consuming insects? That is exactly what entomophagy is, the consumption of insects as food, and that is exactly what Halloran has become involved in since her graduation.

“Currently, I’m a consultant for the Edible Insects Programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,” she said.

However, that definitely was not the first stop in her journey, which has seen her travel the world while completing her education.

After graduation, Halloran moved to Vancouver to attend the University of British Columbia and obtained her Bachelor of Science.

“From there [UBC], I worked in Tanzania, and after, that I started my master’s degree in Copenhagen, at the University of British Columbia,” she said.

Tanzania and Copenhagen were only the beginning of Halloran’s very exciting academic and professional journey.

Thanks to her studies, she has been able to live, work and research in many different countries. She has been lucky enough to conduct research in Ghana, Uganda, Malaysia and Tanzania. She has also attended universities in Denmark and Norway.

It was on one of these trips that Halloran discovered the world of edible insects.

“When I was living and researching in Uganda, I got to eat some delicious grasshoppers and ants,” she said. “They are considered a delicacy in Uganda and can fetch high prices. This was my first exposure to edible insects, and I was sold!”

Halloran and the group she works with at the UN have just released a book called Edible Insects: Future Prospect for Food and Feed Security, “which has been really exciting,” she says.

The book is receiving a lot of positive attention. This has Halloran very busy speaking with media from all over the world and addressing questions from around the globe about how to get involved with the world of edible insects.

Halloran’s next goal is to begin her PhD. She is looking forward to continuing her research, which she hopes will contribute to solving the pressing global issues of our time.

Halloran believes many people in Ladysmith would be curious to try entomophagy. She says eating insects is more about overcoming psychological barriers than consuming the insects.

“If you think of it this way, a lot of people eat shrimp … a grasshopper, for example, is basically a ‘shrimp of the sky,’” she said. “I don’t think we should impose something like this on people’s diets. But, that being said, two billion people who eat insects as a part of their diet can’t be wrong.”

Halloran practises what she preaches.

Her favourite insect dish is grasshopper with chili, salt and lime, a common dish in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Just Posted

VIDEO: World-renowned urban planner encourages Cowichan Valley to ‘benchmark with the best’

CVRD welcomes Gil Penalosa, founder and chair of 8 80 Cities, as part of Place-Making Speaker Series

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP member poses as construction worker to catch distracted motorists

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are taking action on distract driving this year and… Continue reading

VIU’s Cowichan campus promotes mental health awareness with new bench

Friendship Benchs visible at schools across the country

Save-On free $25 gift cards can go to Ladysmith Food Bank

Save-On-Foods is offering a $25 dollar reward to customers that they can… Continue reading

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

UPDATE: City of Nanaimo senior manager dismissed

Chief operations officer Brad McRae no longer employed by the city

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read