Speaker: Paolina Lu - (New York University - USA)
Dates: 28th April 2023 – From 2:00 pm until 4:00
Venue: Online

Cricket Farming amid the Cornfields


This talk is a presentation of my research into the movement to produce more sustainable futures through food systems innovation. It approaches the topic through the lens of the burgeoing insect agriculture industry, and more specifically, from the perspective of a niche market of cricket farming and consumption that is emerging in the American Midwest, the “heartland” of American industrial agriculture. Through the story of Shelby Smith, the owner and operator of Gym-N-Eat Crickets, a business in central Iowa that raises, processes, and sells crickets for human consumption, I explore questions about land use, multispecies labor, and social imaginaries of the future as they are taking form through the creation of this new food system. In doing so, I complicate narratives about what it means to pursue “sustainable food futures” by showing how cricket farming is working in this context as a low-tech “techno-fix” for a cultural crisis in the American Midwest.


Paolina Lu is a PhD candidate in American Studies in the Department of Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University. An interdisciplinary ethnographer, she works across the fields of histories and anthropologies of food; environmental studies of capitalism; race, gender, and labor studies; and critical theories of taste, eating, and embodiment