If you can’t control ’em, eat ’em. Conventional conservation efforts haven’t halted the spread of kudzu, snakehead fish, feral hogs, and other so-called “invasive” species not native to the continental United States, so a coalition of environmentalists and chefs are spearheading efforts to deplete their numbers the old-fashioned way: hunting them down and serving them for dinner.

Nancy Matsumoto’s comprehensive profile of the invasive-species-as-food movement forĀ The AtlanticĀ runs the full gamut from conservationist groups attempting to put a foodie spin on their environmentalist cause, to high-profile chefs like Philadelphia’s Marc Vetri who couldn’t care less about the do-gooder benefits of their latest dish. Along the way, Matsumoto offers some pretty mouth-watering descriptions of invasive cuisine, including deep-fried Cajun bullfrog legs, sauteed soft-shell green crabs, and snakehead smoked in green tea and served with garlic chili and soy sauce.

The article also surveys the obstacles to the invasive cuisine approach to saving the planet. There’s plenty of regulatory snags to hunting and distributing certain species, not to mention the problem of marketing certain rarefied-sounding foods to a large enough audience to make a dent in the populations. But for the most part, advocates seem confident the idea could catch on enough to make it on a national scale. The full article is absolutely worth a read, but the gist is simple: adding good food to environmentalism makes the cause a hell of a lot more appealing.

[via The Atlantic]