Want to know which are the «Bugs behind Christmas lunch»?

New project promises to bring together chefs, agricultural producers and researchers to talk about the insects and ecological networks that are behind traditional Portuguese recipes

Tagis – Center for the Conservation of Butterflies in Portugal and the Center for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Change are promoting a new project, called “Insetos Atrás do Prato”, which aims to reveal which insects and ecological networks are involved in the production of food used. in Portuguese gastronomy.

One of the activities planned is the holding of webinars «Insects Behind Sunday Lunch», a conversation between a chef, a farmer, a botanist and an entomologist, whose pretext is a menu of a traditional festival previously voted on by the public.

In this season, the first webinar could not but be about the «Insects Behind Christmas Lunch». It will take place online, on Saturday, December 18th, at 17 pm, with the following guests: executive chef António Alexandre, from the Lisbon Marriott Hotel, producer Jorge Cancela, The Landscape Farm, botanist Ivo Meco, from the Portuguese Society of Botany, and also the agronomist and entomologist António Mexia, from the Instituto Superior de Agronomia, who will unveil what is behind a menu chosen by the public. The session will be moderated by Leonor Rodrigues, from the Center for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes – ce00c.

Registration for the webinar and voting for the Christmas menu can be found at next link.

The two promoting entities, Tagis and ce3c, explain that, over the next few months, the “Insects Behind the Plate” project will publicize the importance of insects and biodiversity conservation in our food chain, as well as the link between healthy eating and environmentally sustainable through a series of webinars, videos, school activities and even a cookbook.

“In recent years, there has been an increase in the general interest of society in the way our food is produced, with the appreciation of local, healthy and sustainable products. But how are the ingredients we use produced? Which ecological networks support the existence of food on the plate? What is the diversity of insects involved in its production?”, they ask.

Despite going unnoticed, insects are the group with the largest number of known species in the world and are present in all terrestrial ecological networks that guarantee food production. They are not only responsible for the pollination of a large part of fruit and vegetables, but are also involved in the most diverse environmental regulation services, allowing the creation of soil, decomposition of organic matter, circulation of nutrients or pest control (source).

This project, developed by Tagis – Center for the Conservation of Butterflies of Portugal, in partnership with Caravana AgroEcológica and CE3c – Center for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Change, and financed by the Environmental Fund, clarifies the link between biodiversity. the protection of nature, food production and healthy eating.

In addition to the three scheduled webinars, with the launch of the second season of the participatory science dissemination series “Vlog Insects in Network”, five episodes can be watched on the production method and the insects behind the ingredients used in traditional Portuguese recipes.

The project will also reach primary schools with the action “Bugs after soups and salads in schools”, visiting the cafeteria to give the word to the cooks about the preparation of soups and salads, and a visit abroad to observe and highlight the role of insects in the production of the vegetables used.

Finally, in 2022, the digital edition of the original cookbook “Insects after Portuguese Gastronomy” will be released, focusing on the ecological mechanisms behind the ingredients used, covering the areas of entomology, agroecology, agronomy and nature conservation.

You can follow this project on Tagis social networks: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram e Twitter