Following the back-to-nature simplicity of 2009, and adventurous concoctions by means of molecular gastronomy in 2010, what we may see in the upcoming year is a delicate balance between the two.

While the world ponders the finality of our planet’s natural resources and the already discernible effect on agriculture due to climate change, organs such as UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization are contemplating insects as nutritious, low-fat, protein-rich and environmentally sustainable nourishment.

Deemed by Western societies as an exotic taboo or a trendsetting exploit, it is far from a novelty in many societies and could possibly become a necessity in undeveloped nations.

UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization reports that there are more than 1000 edible insects: beetles, butterfly and moths, bees, wasps and ants, grasshoppers and crickets, termites, true bugs, and cicadas. Reliable figures mention the consumption of 250 insect species in Africa, 500 in Mexico, 180 in China, and 160 in the Mekong area. Although Japan is not a tropical country, a number of insect species are popular food, in particular wasps.

More from FAO, and further explanations: UN.

More from NGM: beetles, grasshoppers.

Great article from Treehugger.

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