For three days in August, after a group effort of preparation and planning, four friends (a nutritionist, a chef, and two science communicators) and I got to spend most of our waking hours discussing the many complexities of edible insects with people of all ages.
The discussions we had were overwhelmingly diverse - ranging from questions about ethical slaughter, to debates about the political implications of marketing 'traditional' food in a Western context (see Becca's brilliant blog post on this topic), to animated talks between children about the relative benefits of mealworms versus crickets!
Over the course of three days, we spoke to thousands of people about these things, with an interactive backdrop of both live, farmed insects and a free buffet of insect-based snacks.
As well as the snacks, live insects, insect-related games and a few insect-related 'props', we took a bunch of posters and graphics with us to provide information and facilitate discussion.
I've added these posters to this site, on a 'Bug Banquet' page, in case anyone reading this would like to know more.
(And thank you also to the festival organisers - Green Man was a great place to be, and in between all of the insect-related excitement, there was an amazing range of live music to enjoy. Favourite performances would have to be Sun Ra Arkestra and the Deep Throat Choir. Food-wise, I discovered that the Cornwall-based Goan Seafood Company makes possibly the best curries in the entire world.)
NB: Finally, this is an important thing to mention, and became a part of several of our discussions.. Our main challenge in putting on this event was that of preservation. We spent four summer days camping at the festival, and we needed some way to ensure that our insects would not go off. We had no fridge, no smoker, no dryer… So Becky, our talented chef who is more than familiar with all of the restrictions of food health and safety laws, not to mention the logistical problems involved in transporting food over long distances, opted for sugar. She made a variety of sweet dishes - brownies, nougat, even a jelly - and although this meant that festival-goers could not experience insects in the way that they are traditionally eaten - usually fresh, and as part of a balanced, savoury meal - it did mean that we were able to give thousands of people their first taste of insects.