Doesn’t a cricket stuffed granola bar sound yummy? How about sautéed crickets?
OU Alum, Jason Schuster, thinks this is an idea we should all get behind. “Bugs are the food of the future,” he said. And it is a future he wants to have a large part in.
When Jason was still in his undergraduate degree in marketing, he found inspiration from a TEDTalk by Marcel Dicke.
In this talk, Dicke lays out the compelling argument that we need to start eating insects. They are abundant, healthy, and cost effective—to name just a few reasons. Dicke’s passion for this topic inspired Jason to start a small company that sold cricket granola bars at the Athens Farmers’ Market. His entrepreneurial spirit already peaked, he took an entrepreneurship class. He loved the content but didn’t have any interest in being the CEO of a company. After school he went abroad to China to teach English, putting his passion and interest for the bugs on the backburner for a few years.
Meanwhile a company called Big Cricket Farms was forming in the United States. Kevin Bachhuber had returned from a trip to Thailand where he was introduced to crickets as a food option, and really enjoyed them! After his arrival in the States, Kevin was curious when he found out that it was near impossible to get crickets back home. A few years before, the UN Food and Agriculture report on the necessity of the world population eating bugs was published making a worldwide splash on the subject.
That is what lead to Bachhuber founding the inspirational Big Cricket Farms. In 2010 the startup began in Sacramento, CA, but has since moved to Youngstown, OH. Big Cricket Farms wants to contribute both to the environment and to the community in which it is based. Youngstown, a city with the average family income over $20,000 less per year than the average in Ohio, needs economic development. Big Cricket Farms wants to contribute to the revitalization of this community.
Jason has loved his time at with this company. Working in a startup provides the opportunity to learn a lot of skills very quickly. He described his job as the guy who “catches things that are falling,” working in every capacity to contribute to the farm. He hopes that Big Cricket Farms can establish the industry in America, and move on to consulting with people on how to start their own farms. As a former teacher, Jason wants to move into staff training and curriculum development to build skills and create a sustainable ecosystem for the production and selling of insects.
His time at OU was cherished, and he would extend the offer to any interested Bobcat to apply for an opportunity. His time with the excited professors at OU, who challenged and supported him, created a legacy of leadership and entrepreneurship that Jason has carried on to improve the world through his efforts with Big Cricket Farms.
Want more information? Check out these interviews that have been done about this great company:
Jason is proof that Entrepreneurship Inspires. What will it inspire you to do?