Julie Lesnik is a biological anthropologist and author of Edible Insects and Human Evolution (2018). As a world leader in the insects-as-food movement, Lesnik argues that this nutritious resource has been consumed by billions of people all over the world for millions of years and that the western bias against the idea is a vestige of our colonial past whereby it was branded something only ‘savages’ would eat.
As the world looks to find more sustainable ways to feed the growing global population, the cultivation of insects such as crickets can contribute to the goal since they use fewer resources than traditionally raised livestock. In 2016, Lesnik organized and hosted Eating Insects Detroit, the first conference in the United States dedicated solely to edible insects, gathering scholars, entrepreneurs, and activists from a dozen countries to discuss the path forward for making this resource more widely accepted and available. This conference met again in 2018 in Athens, Georgia and will run in conjunction with the Insects Feed the World conference in 2020 in Quebec.
Lesnik is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Wayne State University and has received support for her work from the Leakey Foundation, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Additionally, Lesnik is committed to public scholarship, making the commitment to communicate her science to broader publics. She has given countless talks and interviews with various media outlets including podcasts such as Ologies and local and national news sources such as Detroit Free Press, National Geographic, and NPR.