'Minilivestock' Farming: Who is Farming Edible Insects in Europe and North America?

Rhoda M. Wilkie (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


An innovative food sector is emerging in North America and Europe: edible insects. Eating insects is not new; farming insects for human consumption is novel. This article provides an overview of entomophagy to contextualise this upsurge in ‘minilivestock’ farming. It also charts the rise of ‘feeder’ insect farms, because their ability to mass rear invertebrates – for exotic pets, reptiles and other insectivores – is of much interest to those starting and intensifying edible insect farms. A descriptive characterisation of frontier farmers will be provided by preliminary profile findings from 17 semi-structured pilot interviews with people with varying experience of rearing feeder and/or food insects. Since conventional livestock workers were the ‘forgotten pillar’ in agricultural research, this article affords timely insights into the socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle interests and farming experiences of ‘entopreneurs’ shaping this new ‘insect industry’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-537
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number4
Early online date12 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • edible insects
  • entomophagy
  • ‘minilivestock’
  • cricket farming
  • ‘entopreneurs’


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