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Saturday, June 12, 2021

May contain traces of bugs

Students at Canberra’s Gold Creek High School are combining science, food technology and problem solving by cooking with edible insects.

The students, led by science teacher Dr Daniel White, are learning to prepare meals with edible insects as part of their studies in the area of sustainable and ethical eating.

Dr White says the students are particularly interested in food science, especially questions around where food comes from, ethical considerations and the environmental aspect.

“I used to grow edible insects myself, and I told the kids about it and they said ‘why can’t we do that here?’ The kids hear about this stuff but they aren’t hands on in it,” he says.

“Once you give the kids capacity to make some choices, it’s amazing what they’ll take on board.”

The students breed the crickets in Dr White’s science labs and prepare the meals in the school’s kitchens. So far, they have experimented with choc-chip cricket cookies, ice-cream and nachos. The insects have also made their way into other classes, with psychology students discussing how insects could be marketed to people to get beyond the ‘ick factor’.

“The kids are motivated by that ‘ick factor’,” says Linda Kwong, Gold Creek High School’s food technology assistant. “[The bugs on top of the cookies] allow the eater to understand what the main ingredients are.”

Ms Kwong says insects are also incredibly high in protein, when compared to larger animals.

“To get the same amount of protein from large animals, you’d need a large amount of land to do that.”

“You can grow your own food very close to home in a very small container. All in all, they are a brilliant resource,” adds Dr White.

“The kids are sold on the ethical treatment and the idea of a de-centralised food supply.”

Gold Creek High School is not just stopping at insects. The students are experimenting with growing edible fungi, and have built bee hives, bee hotels and a bee garden on the school grounds.

“It’s all kid driven,” Dr White says. “I just throw some ideas out there and some of them take and some of them don’t.

“We’re very excited about the future.”

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