Marc Dennis, Founder
Marc is an internationally recognized artist, professor of art at Elmira College, a small liberal arts college in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York, where he teaches all levels of painting, drawing and computer imaging. He is also a Holocaust researcher and lecturer on the subject of clandestine art made inside concentration camps. In addition he is creator and editor of “Creative Footprint,” a PBS WSKG blog project, a member of the New York Entomological Society, a volunteer for Frogwatch USA, an avid birder, writer, and a wannabe chef. His paintings are in many private and public collections. He is represented with Hirschl & Adler Modern Gallery in New York City. Marc received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA and his Master of Fine Arts from University of Texas at Austin. He lives with his wife and daughter in both Ithaca and Brooklyn, NY.
Since 2005 I’ve experimented with roasting marinated crickets, smoking cilantro seasoned grasshoppers, frying curried caterpillars with scallions and garlic to making cricket flour and making meal worm flan. When considering all the benefits of entomophagy it amounts to a viable means of solving a wide range of ecological, economic and health related issues and concerns. There are an estimated 1,462 recorded species of edible insects and in all likelihood hundreds if not thousands more that simply haven’t been sampled or perhaps not even discovered yet.
And insects definitely have nutritional value. First and foremost according to the Entomological Society of America they generally contain more protein and are lower in fat than traditional meats. In addition they have about 20 times higher food conversion efficiency than traditional meats. In other words they have a better feed-to-meat ratio than beef, pork, lamb or chicken, not to mention other less traditional meats such as goat, horse, buffalo, ostrich and alligator.
Insects reproduce at a much quicker rate than cattle, are much easier to raise and need far less living space and are able to feed off of much less feed than traditional livestock require. A cricket for example can feed off whole grain oats and within three days be for the most part certifiably organic. Healthy organic farm raised insects is certainly a possibility.
In February 2008, a United Nations Food and Agriculture conference in Chang Mai, Thailand promoted insects as a food source. The conference titled, "Forest Insects as Food: Humans Bite Back," advocated for greater economic development of insects as food sources. The UN estimates at least 1,400 species of insects and worms are viable food sources in over 90 countries.
If you’re interested in the multi-faceted field of entomophagy, join the cause and get involved. Learn about ways of educating, informing, and enabling others to find out about it and do what you can to get them past the gross out factor. We foresee a bright and fruitful future.
Jason Hamilton, Advisor
Jason is an Associate Professor of Biology and core faculty member of the Environmental Studies Program at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. He received a Ph.D. in computational quantum mechanics and a second Ph.D. in plant ecology from U.C. Santa Barbara. He did post-doctoral research in ecophysiology, global change biology, and plant-insect interactions at the University of Illinois before joining the faculty at Ithaca College in 2001. In addition to teaching and research, Jason is co-chair of Ithaca College Natural Lands and faculty manager of the Natural Reserves. He is co-founder of the Ithaca College Sustainability Group and advisory board member and instructor for the Ithaca Wilderness Mentoring Guild/Primitive Pursuits. He is also co-founder and chairman of the Board of Trustees of New Roots Charter High School, the first school in the U.S. to be designed for sustainability education from the ground up. As faculty curator of Ithaca College's living arthropod collection, Jason visits local schools with tarantulas, scorpions and other creepy crawling creatures introducing young people to the world of insects. He lives with his wife and son in Ithaca, New York.
Dave Gracer, Advisor
Dave is a front runner in advocating for entomophagy; he has been passionately dedicated to educating and informing others as to insects as a food source since 2001. He is the founder of SmallStock Food Strategies LLC
, a company that focuses on creating a steady food supply derived from farmed insects. His objective is to promote insects as part of a healthy sustainable diet. He has appeared on a number of media venues, including The Colbert Report and a television program titled, “Bug Eating Man” on Animal Planet. Articles on him have appeared in numerous publications most notably The New York Times. He received his B.A. at Bard College and two M.A. degree’s at the University of Wyoming, both in English. He teaches composition, literature, and public speaking at Community College of Rhode Island. He is also an accomplished writer and devoted naturalist. He finds waxworms, ants, stinkbugs, and numerous others to be quite tasty. He lives with his wife and daughter in Providence, Rhode Island.
Jeff Stewart, Advisor
Bringing a wide breadth of knowledge in global gastronomy Jeff has been a culinary and hospitality educator for more than a decade. He is founder of Creepy Crawly Cooking
, which regarding Entomophagy, endeavors to change minds – one bite at a time. Bringing a wide breadth of knowledge in global gastronomy, wines and management, he has kept busy over the years by teaching at Niagara College and the University of Guelph in addition to having worked all over the world. With experience on 3 continents, he has worked in Canada, The U.S, France, Peru and Russia. In industry, Jeff has been involved in training and consulting for hotels, tourism attractions, restaurants, food manufacturers, hospitals, correctional facilities and as a guest lecturer. He also has spent time in the south of Peru developing curriculum, training faculty, industry and students to help establish a school for the extremely impoverished communities in the outlying mountainous deserts around the city of Arequipa, Peru. In his quest for innovation and creativity he has worked in Canada, United States, France, Peru and Russia. He is a red-seal certified Chef, with an under-graduate degree in Commerce and has an M.B.A. He teaches at Niagara College and the University of Guelph. He is also very involved in special education advocacy and Autism Ontario. He lives with his wife and three children in Ontario, Canada.
Lou Sorkin, Advisor
Lou is a Board Certified Entomologist in Urban and Industrial Entomology, specializing in forensic studies and Senior Scientific Assistant in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City since 1978, working primarily on the arachnid and myriapod collections. He has been a board member of the New York Entomological Society for many years and in the past has managed The New York Entomological Society Centennial Banquet at the Explorer’s Club in New York City. He received his M.S. in Entomology from the University of Connecticut. His interests include systematics, taxonomy and behavior of arachnids as well as natural history of arthropods in general, and for the past few years, bed bugs have become more important as a study animal. Articles on him have appeared in several publications most notably The New York Times. He lives with his wife and daughter in Rye Brook, New York.