Dr. Dossey and his team are creating some of the highest quality Finely Milled Whole Cricket Powder in the industry, and at a large scale.
So without any further ado, let’s dive into the interview with Dr. Dossey!
I’ve always been fascinated by insects. I’m a life-long, self taught Entomologist (and have worked as a professional Entomologist for the USDA 2010-2012, though my Ph.D. is in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology). Since high school I have kept an insect collection and raised over 100 different species in captivity, and for years have had an insect photography hobby. In fact, even in my Biochemistry career I always aspired to incorporate insects and other invertebrates into my professional work – exploring insects as sources of new natural products, drug discovery, biomedical and agricultural applications, etc.
Around 2010 I had been reading about the concept of insects being efficient and a potentially sustainable food source. I had always thought of them as a very diverse source of compounds and knew their miraculous biodiversity and behavioral adaptations. I’ve long referred to them as “low crawling fruit”. So, I was already quite primed to understand that they could also be a very efficient and valuable bioresource.
I began to learn about how various species are eaten and even farmed around the world. So I began to incorporate the concept of insects as a food ingredient (in addition to a source of new compounds) in my research plans floated to some of the over 100 faculty position applications I had submitted.
In 2010, at the Entomological Society of America’s conference (where I gave a talk on my insect chemistry work) I met a group who had given talks on insects as food. Early in 2011, one of that group, Dr. Frank Franklin (a nutritionist University of Alabama at Brimingham), forwarded a grant announcement from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to many of us in the small insects as food community. The topic was: to do something to alleviate malnutrition in children.
Dr. Franklin thought this was right up the alley of insect as a sustainable protein source. So, I submitted a 2 page anonymous application (which is the ideal format for all grant applications by the way!). Later that year the Gates foundation called and said the were very interested in my grant. However, since I was “only” a postdoc at the USDA, and postdocs in the US are not usually allowed to have/control their own grants (even if they write them and drive/conduct the research), I had applied with my affiliation as “independent”.
The Gates Foundation said that one option to qualify for the grant and do the project was that I could hurry up and get a faculty position at a University. The second option given was that I could work at a company or other organization capable of doing the project.
I asked if that included a new company (which I could found immediately), and they said yes.