WHAT I'M DOING NOW- Josh Galt -
I’ve been based in SE Asia now for more than 4 years, specifically in the capitol city of Cambodia’s Kindom of Wonder, Phnom Penh.
What once caused culture shock, is now the daily vibration that energizes and drives me forward. I’ve traded whitewater rapids and a riverboard, for the flow of chaotic traffic and a bicycle…and I’m just as stoked by every ride.
Frontier Investment Lifestyle
Venturopoly focuses on uncovering ideas + opportunities in emerging markets.
We invest time and resources into long-term frontier deals, while simultaneously maximizing personal growth through challenging outdoor adventures and unique lifestyle experiences.
It’s a vehicle to create positive impact and lasting change while having as much fun as humanly possible exploring this amazing planet we live on.
Venturopoly started out on a different path than I find myself traveling with it now.
Initially, myself and my co-founding partner were going to be creating epic events for a group of frontier investors, in combination with sourcing deals for them to be pitched on in between adventures.
After a year of twists and turns, peaks and valleys, and some rocky times, I wound up on my own needing to find my own focus for it, totally unencumbered.
It’s still evolving, and will continue to do so, but it’s a framework for my life and a filter for projects that I am investing energy and resources into.
I’ve been living and traveling in 3rd world and developing countries since I was born, really. And while I’m perfectly comfortable in any first world city, there’s just something I love about the grittiness of a world in the midst of growth chaos.
Exploration can take many forms – while it used to mean I was looking for whitewater rivers in canyons few humans had been down, now the search is to uncover opportunities in far-flung frontiers, and enjoy the process of making the world a better place for every individual person I can reach.
I’m putting my theories about edible insects to the test on my own body, living on a plant-based vegan diet boosted by sustainable Entomophagy!
This is something I’ve never done publicly before, but I’m publishing both the good and the bad and what I’m learning through the process.
Learn more about the Philosophy of Entoveganism or check out the site for tips on nutrition, workouts, and information regarding living what just may be one of the healthiest lifestyle plans possible!
I never planned on being vegan, and in fact while I love and respect all living things, I despise the collectivist politics that usually accompany veganism.
Anyway, I’ve always been healthy, but always a carnivore, too! Until one day this year a friend convinced me to give up meat for a while, and see how I felt after.
The caveat was that I didn’t want to give up eating insects, since I’d taken a liking to them the previous year, and had jumped fully into the world of entomophagy. So I decided to combine the two.
Thus began my journey as an Entovegan, the word I coined to describe the combination of entomophagy with veganism.
Where it takes me remains to be seen. I believe in the concept fully, though I’ve been reading tons of information that suggests going full vegan instead of vegetarian, is not based in science but simply in politics. So, maybe I’ll end up being Entotarian, I’m not sure. Right now though there’s no denying that overall, I feel stronger and healthier than I have in a very long time. Something’s working.
I’m committed to remaining entovegan through the end of 2017, and I’ll re-evaluate things at that point.
Micro Livestock is an organization founded for the purpose of supporting the world’s insect farmers in rural areas of developing and frontier nations.
We are currently in process of obtaining the necessary legal status as a non-profit in the USA, but we are already operational and have been all during 2017 in Cambodia and Mexico.
Angka Changrit Kampuchea (NGO – Cambodia)
Fundacion Mexicana de Criadores de Insectos Comestibles (A.S. – Mexico)
Start a non-profit? What on earth for? That was my initial reaction to the idea of creating an NGO to help train and support cricket farmers in Cambodia.
I understood the idea of helping people, of giving back. That’s inherent in the person that I am, even though my objectivist worldview does laud selfishness as a virtue.
But practically speaking, one cannot give to others until one has something to give. Be. Do. Have. Give. That’s always been my framework. So I was initially a bit skeptical of what I had to offer, considering I haven’t done much in the world of entomophagy yet.
We do have the ability to give though – and even more, to support the growth of the movement based on using insects as food and feed, from a foundational level: with the insect farmers themselves.
In Cambodia, insect farmers understand that there is a local demand, but are not aware of the outside world. Nor do they have access to the best standards and practices for rearing their mini-herds, sometimes under the same roof where they live themselves.
In Mexico, los recolectores understand that the more insects they collect, the more money they make. But they are not looking at the long-term environmental ramifications of their short-term actions, which at present are endagering future harvests.
Thankfully, I have teamed up with partners who know, understand, and fully embrace the various aspects that go into running charitable organizations. I’m looking forward to having a bonafide outlet to help people better themselves and their situations.
CHEF MELGAREJO / MELBUGS
Chef Mario Melgarejo is one of the world’s leading insect chefs, focused on Entomophagy – or as they call it in Spanish, Entomofagia. Venturopoly has invested in Mario and his vision, and will continue to support all facets of the project going forward.
Along with creating amazing recipes and products under his own brand Melbugs, chef Mario has been traveling all over Mexico teaching at universities and culinary schools about the importance of looking to the past and comida prehispanica, in order to forge a tastier, more sustainable future.
Outside of his role as a chef, Mario is also the president of our non-profit Associacion in Mexico, working on assisting rural insect collectors create and maintain more sustainable insect harvesting practices.
I’ve never spent as much continuous time with another human being as I did during my last 2 month stint in Mexico with Mario.
The fact that we got along great and were extremely productive from start to finish is a testament to the kind of person he is, and how dedicated he is to seeing this project succeed. We both are.
I met Mario the old fashioned way – through Instagram! He was promoting a course he was going to be giving on cooking with insects, and I just so happened to be attending a wedding a few days prior, in the same part of Mexico.
I don’t believe in “coincidence”, but however it cosmically came about we hit it off immediately and have spent much of 2017 shaping the vision for his path as a chef, the Melbugs brand, and the FUMECIC Associacion.
We have great synergy and after so much time spent studying, cooking insects, speaking at universities, and then just sharing life experiences, like playing football and basketball, drinking too much mezcal, and moving rubble from collapsed buildings after the earthquake in CDMX, I’m looking forward to continuing the journey working alongside Mario and glad to call him a friend.
Hopefully one day I’ll actually learn how to cook something, too, instead of depending so much on my blender!
Interested in learning from the Queen of Entomophagy, while having an enjoyable holiday working on Thailand’s model cricket farm?
Ento Tours gets you up close and personal with Dr Yupa Hanboonsong in Thailand, the FAO’s go-to entomologist and one of the world’s leading voices in the field of entomophagy.
You’ll visit a village where people’s lives have been changed by cricket farming, spend a day and night living and working on a real insect farm, and sample entomophagic culinary delights at some of Thailand’s most popular insect-eating hotspots!
The best education is an immersive experience, and through Ento Tours Thailand you’ll learn about the life cycle of crickets and other edible insects, how to grow and care for them, proper harvesting and cleaning techniques, and of course many delicious ways to prepare them for eating.
This work holiday experience is one of a kind, plan for at least 1-2 days of your Thailand journey to be with Ento Tours, and leave with expert, world-class knowledge about entomophagy.
The idea for Ento Tours came about through discussions with Dr Yupa and her protege Kim, the founder of NL Cricket farms, along with my business partner and his philanthropist dad.
Having personally been to insect markets all over Thailand and Cambodia, and having eaten insects from street carts, touristy insect hawkers, and fine dining establishments, I loved the idea of creating a tour that others could experience, learn from, and enjoy.
The world of entomophagy and insect farming is rapidly changing, but this will give people the ability to see and experience a varied cross-section of all things edible insects, from farm to table.
This is one of the coolest projects we have underway.
ENTOMOPHAGY – THE FUTURE OF FOOD
As is probably clear at this point, I’m involved in a few projects related to edible insects and their farming, production, and distribution to the end consumer.
This year I’ve been mostly working behind the scenes in Cambodia, Mexico, and Thailand, but there are quite a few more exciting entities yet to come in early 2018.
Why edible insects? See my post on 8 Reasons Why Eating Insects Is The Future of Food, and my About page on Entovegan.com for starters.
There is much more to come related to eating bugs!
I know, it makes me laugh too, honestly. If you’d have told me at any time in the past that one day I’d be passionately telling people to eat insects, and actually focusing my life on it, I wouldn’t have believed it either.
But the truth is I grew up on farms, growing our own food and while in Canada, hunting our own food as well. So even though I might come across as a refined city boy (ok, “refined” might be a stretch haha), deep down inside I’m kind of a country bumpkin at heart. I like the idea of sustainable self-sufficiency.
And that’s why I ended up going down the google rabbit hole on accident while searching for urban farming possibilities, and getting hooked on the idea that is Entomophagy.
It makes a lot of sense in terms of human nutrition, environmental sustainability, economic advancement in currently impoverished areas, etc.
Really, the only reason it seems like a “weird” idea is that westerners are conditioned to erroneously believe that insects are filthy and disgusting. They’re wrong. I was wrong, heck. But I changed my mindset once I learned the truth, and now I enjoy eating insects on a daily basis.
I really believe this is an industry with massive potential in so many ways, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next few years hold.
KINGS INTERNATIONAL LAB SCHOOL
Invest in one of the fastest growing industries in SE Asia – education!
As the region grows, kids are ambitious to learn but are stuck attending schools based on the western, industrial revolution system of education, one which is good for rolling out assembly line workers, but not very applicable for today’s fluid world.
Kings Lab School will open its first location in late 2018 in Thailand, and is based on the idea of disruptive education, modeled after the best in the business – Khan Academy, AltSchool, and others.
We are currently looking for investment partners for this business. Please contact me for more information, or download the pitch deck below.
Our mission is to inspire children to fully develop and master all their skills, talents, and intelligences. To develop engaged, well-balanced learners through collaborative and caring relationships, all within a high-quality and state of the art educational environment, which will prepare them for the challenges of the 21st century.
This project is actively in search of funding partners.
The school’s founder has the land and facility for the first location, in Thailand, and is looking to open in the fall of 2018.
I have a minor role in this project but because I believe in it so strongly, and also believe in its potential for profitability and ROI, I am assisting in the search for equity partners.
Education is a booming business in Asia, and variations of the ‘unschooling’ philosophy are breaking new ground and generating previously unimaginable results (see: Finland).
Kings has the potential to become a powerful influence in the region, through world-class education not only in STEM subjects, but in educating students for life in a rapidly changing global environment.
What about the past? Well, when I closed the chapter on my whitewater life after 20+ years, I did so fully at peace with that decision.
It was just time. To be honest, if the sport of Riverboarding had offered paid opportunities even just on par with kayaking, I might have kept going. That was never the case in the past, though, and looked highly unlikely in the near future.
I love the sport, love being outdoors and exploring, love the peace I found in the chaos of the rapids…but I have an inherent need to do something bigger with my life than the whitewater industry – and particularly riverboarding – was going to be able to provide.
Plus, it’s just time to do some adulting, be in a more stable situation, stop living out of a bag, and build something lasting. That’s the goal, anyway, of closing that previous chapter and beginning on the next.
Face Level is getting an overhaul and will be managed by someone passionate about the sport and the brand, and I’ve basically given him full leeway to run the company at his discretion.
It’s still one of my favorite creations though, so I’m leaving the door open to possibly doing something with the brand in the future.
The World Riverboarding Association is in good hands, and those guys have been hard at work planning for another World Championship in 2018, in beautiful New Zealand.
The Mekong Tigers – 2015 Cambodian Basketball League Champions! – are on a bit of a hiatus because the people running the CBL are, um- well, I’ll just leave it there haha.
Suffice it to say there’s no CBL in 2017, and it’s unknown when things will resume again, or in what fashion (and thus, if it’ll be worth it to have the team in the league). But I hope it does because we completely redid the logo and uniforms in preparation for this season, so I’m just having to save that cool surprise for the future I guess.
And then there are other business projects from over the years that I’ve been part of, which have failed for a plethora of reasons, and are no more.
They have been learning experiences though, and I do hope I’ve learned the lessons well and never repeat those mistakes. But it’s all part of the game, part of the process of my evolution as a human and entrepreneur.
But at the moment, this /now page is what I’m focused on building. I’m not usually so public with the process, but I’m doing everything I can differently from what hasn’t worked before. So it’s either going to be a success, or it’s going to fail spectacularly and very publicly.
Knowing that is a little extra motivation to stay focused. :)
h/t to the inspiring Derek Sivers for his post The /now page movement.
Many thanks to Darin McQuoid for this background photo, and my eternal gratitude to him and his crew of kayakers for a week of fun in Japan, especially this high-water Kiyotsu day, probably my favorite day on a river ever, for so many reasons…