For Claire Simons and her husband, Chad, it all started when their son brought home a snickerdoodle made from cricket flour on Earth Day. The cookie was delicious, and the next day the Simons, long concerned about the American diet and the destructive impact of industrial agriculture, began building a cricket habitat in their basement. A year later, in 2016, they launched their cricket farm, and by 2018 they were producing cricket treats on an urban farm in a Minneapolis warehouse.
In “The Three Cricketeers,” the first runner-up in the 2022 Yale Environment 360 film competition, filmmaker Sue Williams tells the story of the Simons’ efforts to raise countless crickets and turn them into chocolate-covered crickets, snacks for cricket and cricket powder used in baking, all under the 3Cricketeers brand. (The third cricketer 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-bug properties. inflammatory, antidiabetic and anti-hypertensive properties.
Crickets, she says, require ‘only a fraction of the soil, food and water [of] other sources of protein. And raising crickets, Simons says, generates virtually no greenhouse gases. “So climate change is our mission,” Simons told Sue Williams. “We’re very into that, and it lets us get up in the morning and know that – that’s not the answer, but raising crickets is one 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 performed at festivals around the world. His latest documentary, Denise Ho: becoming the song, was a New York Times critics pick. Christina Kelly is a filmmaker and visual artist whose works have 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 cinematographer for documentaries, television programs and independent feature films.
About the contest: The Yale Environment 360 Film Contest awards the best environmental documentaries of the year, with the aim of recognizing work that has not been widely seen before. This year we received 490 submissions from six continents, with a prize of $2,000 for the winner.