Dr. Jeffrey Cohen receives NSF Grant

September 18, 2019

Dr. Jeffrey Cohen receives NSF Grant

Chapulinera at work

Congratulations to Dr. Jeffrey Cohen for his award of a National Science Foundation grant to study the question, “Can the development of niche traditional diet become a pathway to economic success for rural communities?”  Dr. Cohen’s research takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico, where traditional chapulines (toasted grasshoppers) are a nutritious, wholesome part of a healthy diet for the rural poor. Chapulines are high in protein and easy to produce, therefore providing a low-cost pathway to healthy eating and food security. But can chapulines become a pathway to economic success? Dr. Cohen’s research investigates this in two parts.

First, this study examines how business women (chapulineras) adapt the harvest and sale of chapulines to growing demand by tourists and ethnic restaurants. Second, this study explores the role of chapulines as food and their place in the rural diet.

Shifting patterns of production and consumption have significant implications for the way we think about how new foods, technologies, and foodways are incorporated into the rural diet. Understanding how traditional foods such as chapulines can promote both healthy eating and economic growth for the rural poor is critical to the development of sustainable food programs and fostering food security for ‘at risk’ populations throughout our country and the world.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact Dr. Jeffrey Cohen at cohen.319@osu.edu.

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