Shambala’s insect cafe – will you take the plunge?

Thanks to documentaries like Cowspiracy, the meat industry is in the spotlight like never before. The animal agriculture industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions that the entire global transport industry.  More than 90 percent of the Amazon rain forest that’s been cleared since 1970 is used for meat production. Every six seconds, an acre of rain forest is cut down for cattle farming. The earth’s oceans are predicted to be devoid of fish by 2048. Bleak.

Here at Shambala, we’re committed to being the most responsible festival on the planet. We want the party to carry on forever, which is why we decided to go meat and fish free for 2016.

We floated the idea of having an insect cafe on site, after hearing insects were being hailed as THE sustainable super food of the future – and the more research into this we have done, the more excited we’ve become. As much as the squeamish amongst us may balk at the thought of a cockroach canapé, the reality is that 80 of the world’s cultures regularly eat insects – when you think about it, it’s actually far less gross than the over processed, poor quality, factory farmed meat in a supermarket chicken nugget. Perceptions do shift – the food landscape is constantly changing, and people’s tastes adapt swiftly to new world foods, we just need to push past the ick factor.

There are currently at least 5 edible insect farms under development in the UK, and, should this industry take off, this could offer a much needed secondary income stream to our struggling British farmers.

So why exactly are insects being hailed as the planet-saving super food of the future?

  • There are estimated to be forty tons of insects to every human, and they reproduce extremely quickly
  • They are naturally sustainable, and not reliant on a resources-heavy grain diet, unlike animals raised for meat
  • They are also extremely nutritious – indeed the Guardian recently reported that ‘many edible insect species do contain higher levels polyunsaturated essential fatty acids and minerals such as iron and zinc than traditional meats
  • It takes up to 1,000 times less water to raise the same quantity of edible insects vs meat.
  • The ammonia emissions associated with insect-rearing are far lower than those linked to conventional livestock such as pigs

But, stats aside, we’re not going to get anywhere with this if the critters on offer don’t look a) visually appealing or b) taste delicious. Which is why we have scoured the land for an insect cafe to join us at Shambala that is doing much more than just deep frying piles of crickets.  We’re particularly keen to side step the squeamishness traditionally associated with entomophagy (fancy name for eating insects) by finding dishes that incorporate insect flour into a range of delicacies. From EggyBuggyBread to chickpea and cricket pancakes, take a gander below at the menu we have in store for you – sounds surprisingly appealing, right?

So, Shambalans – will you take up our challenge, and make like 2 billion other people on the planet, by chowing down on some expertly prepared, beautifully seasoned crunchy critters? We dare you!