Green Living Seminar: Eating the Invaders

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Invasive species can cause havoc in local ecosystems, and there often is not a readily available way to get rid of them. So why not eat them?

Next Thursday at 7 p.m. in CSI 121, Ecologist Joe Roman will present the last installment in the Green Living Seminar Lecture Series “Recipe for Success: Can Eating Invasives Help Reduce Their Spread?” featuring special guest Chef Greg Roach, who has prepared food samples made from local invasive species.

On the menu: Wild Boar Meatballs – Asian BBQ Style, Wakame, Seaweed Salad, Lionfish Tempura, Asian Carp and Cabbage mini tacos, Python Pho. According to the lecture series coordinator, Professor Daniel Shustack, Roach will prepare enough samples for 50 people, but if more attend, the food will be shared by all.

Roman is is a conservation biologist, author, and researcher at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont and the Editor-in-Chief of “Eat the Invaders: Fighting Invasive Species, One Bite at a Time,” an online publication dedicated to tackling invasive species through consumption.

“Invasive species are estimated to cause the United States tens of billions of dollars in environmental and economic damage each year,” the paper “Review of harvest incentives to control invasive species” published on “Eat the Invaders” cites. “Management of these non-native species is necessary to protect native species, ecosystems, economic values and human health; however, effective prevention, containment, and control activities often require financial resources and time that are not always available. Recently, incentive programs designed to promote harvest of invasive species populations as a management tool have received significant attention.”

Chef Roach is the current Executive Chef at the Buxton School in Williamstown. Previously, he served as the Executive Chef & Prepared Foods Manager at Wild Oats for eight years.

“After years of wondering what the heck I was doing milling from kitchen to kitchen amongst a cult of egotistical jerks, I figured out a simple truth about myself,” Roach wrote in the now-defunct Greylock Independent. “I cook to make people happy.”

Shustack estimates the lecture will last approximately 45 minutes.

“Throughout the semester, speakers in this Green Living Seminar Series have described the various ecological, economic, and human-health impacts of invasive species,” Shustack said.  “In this lecture and event on April 20, attendees will have the  opportunity to learn about using these  undesirable, invasive species for culinary purposes.  A professional chef, Greg Roach from the Buxton School, will be on hand offering samples and describing recipes for dishes made from invasive species.”