E360 Film Contest

The Three Cricketeers: Betting on Bug Food to Help the Planet

A family in Minnesota wants to put crickets on your dinner plate. In the First Runner-Up in the 2022 Yale Environment 360 Film Contest, they explain how the insects are a high-protein food that can help reduce the massive emissions produced by livestock and large-scale farming.

2022 Yale Environment 360 Film Contest

For Claire Simons and her husband, Chad, it all started when their son brought home a snickerdoodle made of cricket flour one Earth Day. The cookie was delicious, and the next day the Simons — long concerned about the American diet and the destructive impact of industrial farming — began building a cricket habitat in their basement. A year later, in 2016, they launched their cricket farm, and by 2018 they were cranking out cricket goodies at an urban farm in a Minneapolis warehouse.

In “The Three Cricketeers,” the First Runner-Up in the 2022 Yale Environment 360 Film Contest, filmmaker Sue Williams tells the story of the Simons’ efforts to raise countless crickets and turn them into chocolate-covered crickets, cricket snacks, and cricket powder used in baking, all under the 3Cricketeers brand. (The third cricketeer is their son, Maddox.) As the film notes, eating insects, or entomophagy, is common in many parts of the world, and Claire Simons touts the food as having anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-hypertensive properties.

Crickets, she says, require “just a fraction of the land, feed, and water [of] other sources of protein.” And raising crickets, Simons says, generates virtually no greenhouse gases. “So climate change is our mission,” Simons tells Sue Williams. “We feel very strongly about it, and it does allow us to get up in the morning and know that — it’s not the answer, but raising crickets is a piece of the puzzle.”

About the Filmmakers: Sue Williams is an award-winning producer and director whose films have aired on television in dozens of countries, including on PBS in the United States, and played in festivals around the world. Her most recent documentary, Denise Ho: Becoming the Song, was a New York Times Critics Pick. Christina Kelly is filmmaker and visual artist whose works have been screened at the New Festival, Brooklyn International Film Festival, Animation Block Party, and Paris Short Film Festival. Sam Shinn is an Emmy Award-winning producer and director of photography for documentaries, television programs, and independent features.

About the Contest: The Yale Environment 360 Film Contest honors the year’s best environmental documentaries, with the aim of recognizing work that has not previously been widely seen. This year we received 490 submissions from six continents, with a prize of $2,000 going to the winner.