Eat Your Enemies: Spotlight on Invasivore

Sir-fried carrot and invasive burdock root. Image from Food 52.
In a world of international shipping, plane travel, criss-crossing railroad tracks, and roads, invasive species have become par for the course. In any ecosystem, you're likely to find a number of species that have immigrated from elsewhere; often with detrimental effects to the native population.

Invasivore, a group of people taking advantage of this invasion, promotes the consumption of invasive species as a means of controlling those populations and essentially turning proverbial lemons into delicious lemonade.

From prehistoric times, humans have had an amazing track-record of severely reducing the populations of species we eat.  Indeed, it seems that much of the time we can’t stop ourselves.  The folks at Invasivore believe we can tap that hunger to reduce the impacts of harmful invasive species.

The mission at Invasivore is to be a one-stop guide for devouring Invasive Species, those organisms which have been moved around the world, damaging their new surroundings.  Think of it as reasonable revenge for the harm these species cause.  The word “invasivore” comes from combining “Invasive Species” with the latin for “devour” as in “carnivore”.  Thus invasivore = one who eats invasive species.

Over at the group's website, you can peruse recipes for preparing invasive species (ahem, burdock), as well as exposition and commentary on related topics such as species’ profiles, histories and cultural significance, harvesting tips, interviews with Invasivores-at-large, and summaries of relevant scientific research.

Material for the Invasivore project is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant # NSF-DGE-0504495 to the GLOBES interdisciplinary training program at the University of Notre Dame.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.