Edible Insects and Aquaponics: A Tour of Two Small-Footprint Food Businesses

Saturday, November 11, 2017, 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Join CUESA for a special tour of two unconventional indoor Oakland farms with a small footprint and a big impact: Don Bugito’s edible insect farm, and Perennial Farming Initiative’s aquaponics system.

Monica Martinez, founder of Don Bugito, will show us how she raises delicious edible insects, preserving ancestral Mexican tradition while providing a planet-friendly protein source with zero waste.

At the same eco-industrial park, Karen Leibowitz and Nathan Kaufman of the Perennial Farming Initiative will lead us on a tour of the aquaponics farm, where they are using food to combat climate change. This is a zero-waste system in which fish waste fertilizes plants grown on hydroponic rafts, while plants feed the worms that in turn feed the fish.

We’ll meet with these impactful food leaders, learn about their paths to food business ownership, and taste their delicious and nourishing products. 

There is no transportation provided on this tour. You are responsible for getting there on your own. The eco-industrial park in West Oakland, where both stops are located, is accessible by public transit. We will meet at Don Bugito (location to be provided to registered attendees), and then walk to the Perennial Farming Initiative’s aquaponics farm

You must pre-register for the tour. Registration closes on November 9th. Space is limited, and we will not be able to accommodate walk-in guests.

Don Bugito is a Prehispanic Snackeria, a company focused on planet-friendly protein snacks, featuring delicious edible insects in savory and sweet flavors. Don Bugito focuses on treats inspired by Pre-Columbian Mexican cuisine and is always working toward re-inventing ancestral food. Their mission is to feature and share the amazing quality of food native to the American continent. They are thrilled to provide opportunities to educate people about sustainable food practices and their health benefits. Despite the fact that edible insects are objectively delicious, for some it requires a bit of bravery to take the leap. Come with us to see how the insects are raised and try for yourself!

The Perennial Farming Initiative is a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating climate change from a culinary perspective. Together with its sister organization, The Perennial restaurant, PFI believes that food is our best resource in the fight against climate change. Among other projects, PFI maintains an aquaponic greenhouse which we will tour with Nathan Kaufman, the Executive Director of The Perennial Farming Initiative, as well as the Director of Living Systems at The Perennial Restaurant, and Karen Leibowitz, PFI’s co-founder and co-owner of The Perennial restaurant.

Tickets include light snacks and tastes.


Please note that transportation is not provided for this tour, but directions will be emailed to all confirmed attendees.

Where to meet: Meet at Don Bugito in Oakland (address will be sent to attendees of the event)

Things to know: Public transit can be unpredictable. Please plan accordingly to be on time. Shoes must be appropriate for a behind-the-scenes tour, closed-toe and preferably waterproof.

The tour is geared toward adults and will probably not be enjoyable for young children. Children who are likely to appreciate an adult-level tour are welcome to come with their guardians. Please call if you have questions.

Bring: A water bottle and an open mind. Optional: a camera and cash for purchases. We will finish by 4:30 pm at the Perennial Farming Initiative (same block as Don Bugito).

Please note: Tickets are nonrefundable but are transferable to another guest for this tour.

A note about price: CUESA is committed to providing accessible food system education to all. If you are interested in a scholarship for one of our farm tours, please email Carrie Sullivan (carrie@cuesa.org) for a scholarship application.

Monica Martinez image courtesy of Marcela Rico.