Email from FAO to Gene DeFoliart

February 17, 2010


FAO  believes that the specific role of edible insects, and their potential, in food security, dietary quality, and poverty alleviation is severely underrated.

For that reason, FAO has given an assignment to the external experts, Arnold van Huis and Joost van Itterbeeck, to make a global inventory of current activities dealing with insects as food. This will be the start to formulate a strategy to promote human entomophagy in both developed and developing countries. 

Your cooperation in this effort, by answering some questions below, would be highly appreciated.

Prof. Dr. Ir. Arnold van Huis  (

Email from FAO (Food & Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) to Gene DeFoliart

March 16, 2010

Dear Prof. De Foliart,

Thanks very much for your response. For us you are the godfather of edible insects. Your Food Insects Newsletter was an excellent initiative. We will see how we can build further on your commendable work. We are glad that FAO as international organization is taking this up.

We have four tasks at FAO:

– write a policy paper for FAO

– make an inventory of publications and persons (we have used the Food Insects Newsletter, but this was of course partly outdated).

– help FAO to organize a congress in 2012 or 2013

– write a publication for FAO covering most issues.

We will certainly keep you informed. We are at FAO until the end of this month. Then we will be back in September for finalizing our work.

Sincerely yours,

Arnold (van Huis) and Joost (van Itterbeeck)

Email from Jenny Holland (Nat’l Geographic) to Gene DeFoliart

April 27, 2010

Dear Dr. DeFoliart:

Greetings, Professor! I’m a writer on staff at National Geographic working on a short piece about edible insects for our Departments section (front of the magazine). I’m thoroughly enjoying reading up on this subject and was hoping to get your input.

I have found your chapter in Insect Potpourri as well as books by Julieta Ramos-Elorduy and others on this topic–so I’m getting a decent background. But it would be great to get some current thoughts from you about the value of insects as food around the world and how feasible you think it is that this will ever become more than just a delicacy in the West. Seems to me it is environmentally a great “crop” to grow, especially when compared to land hogs like beef, etc. For once, we “modern” folks should be taking cues from the developing world, no?

Could we either chat by phone or may I send you some specific queries by email for your thoughts? Again, I’d love to have your voice in the piece as a long-time expert on the subject.

Many thanks,


Jenny Holland

Email from Gene DeFoliart to FAO

April 28, 2010

Dear Dr. VanHuis:

I am forwarding a letter that you might find of interest. It is from a National Geographic reporter and she has obviously given herself a good background on the subject of insects as food. Is it alright when I call her to give her your contact information?

By the way, I hope to start sending you the information that you requested from me earlier within a couple of weeks.

Best Regards,

Gene DeFoliart

 Email from FAO to Gene DeFoliart

May 2, 2010

Dear Prof. DeFoliart,

Many thanks for the information. She contacted me already on my Wageningen e-mail. I check the FAO mail address only several times a week. We are back in the Netherlands, but will be back in Rome in September. We really enjoyed

being in Rome and are setting up a database of relevant information that we hope to make available through the FAO website.

Looking forward to your information. Besides the worldwide evaluation of activities, we assisted FAO to formulate a policy on edible insects, and to prepare a world conference in 2013.

We recently received the book of the Food Insects Newsletter. This was really an excellent activity in connecting the experts on this issue. We will see how to follow this up.

My very best regards,

Arnold (van Huis)