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Fried Insects are already available as street food in Germany 
By Wilhelm Thomas Fiege / insektenwirtschaft.de - Own work
CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65265722

There's been a strange push lately to get people to eat bugs. Bill Gates has talked about it many times on social media, and many news outlets have attempted to convince people that it's completely normal to munch on crickets.  Nicole Kidman is among the latest in the attempt to normalize eating bugs. She sat down for a segment with Vanity Fair in which she was served a four-course meal of bugs, many of which were still alive. [By the way, eating live bugs is not recommended as you could get a parasite.  All the experts I read advised to cook the bugs thoroughly.]

First let’s address the conspiracy theories surrounding this. Conspiracy theories abound in today’s world—in fact, so much so that we have conspiracy theories about concept of conspiracy theories. Some say those who label other people’s opinions “conspiracy theories” are propagandists whose goal it is to discredit the truth for their personal gain. I prefer instead to call what some might label as “conspiracy theory” merely an opinion that some, often those in power, disagree with. In fact, over the past 10 years many stories, once labeled “conspiracy theory” by the media have been proven to be true.

It is no surprise that conspiracy theories abound concerning the issue of the very real push in the media to normalize the idea of bugs for food in our western culture.  By the way, this push by the media and the Establishment is very real. You can verify for yourself by searching on the Internet.  I found examples of it that go back as far as 2012—ten years ago.  When I searched “push to normalize eating bugs”, I got 5,620,000 results. Some people are saying, for example, that the rich will be forcing the poor to eat. insects while they (the rich) eat prime rib. If you look at the price of the few insect food products on the market today, you can easily see the fallacy of that. Some rich folks may not even be able to afford this cuisine, much less the poor.  For example, a 5 oz. bag of Chirps Cricket Protein chips sells for $17.99.   At Walmart you can purchase ten 1oz packages of Lays classic potato chips for $4.99.  Ten ounces of a snack for $4.99 or a 5oz snack for $17.99?   The market for this new cuisine is most definitely the rich.


1. EATING INSECTS IS NORMAL IN OTHER CULTURES—2 BILLION HUMAN BEINGS EAT INSECTS EVERY DAY

First of all, according to the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) estimates, every day about one third of the Earth's population, or more than 2 billion people, eat insects.

 

2.  THERE IS A GREATER AVAILABILITY OF INSECTS TO ALL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE OF EDIBLE PROTEIN

Estimates of numbers of edible insect species consumed globally range from 1,000 to 2,000. These species include 235 butterflies and moths, 344 beetles, 313 ants, bees and wasps, 239 grasshoppers, crickets and cockroaches, 39 termites, and 20 dragonflies, as well as cicadas. 

 

3. EATING INSECTS INSTEAD OF MEAT COULD GREATLY HELP TO SAVE OUR PLANET FROM ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION.

Agriculture is the top source of worldwide deforestation (40%), and among the top commodity-drivers of deforestation, beef holds the first place. Overall, beef is responsible for 36% of all agriculture-linked forest-replacement. It is estimated that for each pound of beef produced, 200 square feet of rainforest are destroyed,

Cows produce 100x the Greenhouse gas emissions of crickets. Cows eat 10 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of meat. Crickets only eat 1.7 pounds.

Insects are far more environmentally sustainable to raise and harvest.  For example, one pound of cricket protein and be produced with just one gallon of water, while the same amount of protein can be made with about 2000 gallons of water from beef. 

Approximately one third of the world’s cereal production is fed to animals. Think about the huge impact it would have if most of that was used for feeding people, instead. Also, insects have less waste: 80 percent of the body is considered edible compared to 40 percent for beef. Because of all this, insects tend to have a better “feed to food” conversion efficiency ratio than livestock. There are many other benefits to be gained for the planet and humanity for choosing insects as your choice of protein. 

 

4. INSECTS ARE MORE PROTEIN EFFICIENT THAN BEEF OR OTHER MEAT

Farm-raised crickets, for example, contain double the amount of protein in chicken, more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach.

 

INDUSTRIALIZATION OF INSECTS FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION IS STILL IN ITS INFANCY

Checks and balances need to be established to ensure native species are not over-harvested, thus upsetting a natural balance that has taken millions of years to achieve.

Also, eating insects is not for everyone as eating bugs could trigger allergic reactions in some people. According to several sources, those with an allergy to crab, lobster or shrimp should steer clear of foods containing insects. 

But things are moving forward.  In May of 2021, a European Union panel voted to approve the sale of an insect-based food for humans for the first time in the union’s history. The French company Agronutris had put in the application to sell dried yellow mealworm, a maggot-like organism “ said to taste a lot like peanuts”  when dried; with EU regulatory approval, the company hopes to sell the mealworm as a flour-like powder.

One of the early efforts in the USA has been funded by Mark Cuban.  The product is called Chirps chips. The chips are a line of high-protein snacks made from cricket flour. The other ingredients include corn, beans, and chia seed.

 Chips made with flour milled from crickets priced at $17.99 fir five ounces.

 

CONCLUSION AND SPECULATIONS

If you ate the bugs that showed up in your garden, there would be no need for pesticides* (and as a gardener, think of the satisfaction that might come with eating them—revenge, not to mention the last word with them).  However, I’m not advocating eating raw bugs. Applying high heat, such as baking or boiling, is the only way to ensure there are no parasites on the insects.

I doubt that I will ever be the person who pops a whole chocolate grasshopper into her mouth.  That is far too close to the source for my comfort.  I will likely be the coward who eats food products such as Chirps Chips which is made with cricket flour [provided they bring their prices down from the ionosphere.]  Still and yet, this is food that has been highly processed, so it comes with all the same negatives as any processed food.

Setting aside my mistrust of our government, the media and celebrities such as Bill Gates and Nicole Kidman (both of whom are cheerleaders for insect cuisine) and neither of whom I trust; and regardless how disgusting and repugnant the idea of eating insects is to me, I’ve decided that eating insects instead of steaks and pork chops is a worthy undertaking.  [Although I likely won’t start doing this tomorrow.]

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*Note if you are an avid gardener who visits the garden at least once a day, there is no need for pesticides--just kill them with your bare hands and don't forget to put a notch in your belt..

 

 

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Jul 26 @ 2:28 pm
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Libraries are great places where knowledge is stored and shared with communities.  In the past few years the concept of library has been expanded.  We now have free little libraries all over most of our cities. People build them and put them up in their yard. I know of  at least three right here in Garland.    Typically, they look like the photo above.  However, the one we have at the Garland Community Garden is unique.  It was donated by the folks in the nearby Flamingo neighborhood. It was crafted from a metal box that once dispensed newspapers. The concept is a 24/7 library right in your neighborhood where you can come and get books and also leave books that you have enjoyed. One of the principles of the Little Free Library is that by providing greater, more equitable book access in neighborhoods worldwide, we can strengthen communities and influence literacy outcomes.  Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota.Their mission is to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries.  There are over 150,000 little free libraries all over the world.

BOOKS ARE GOOD TO SHARE AND HERE ARE THREE LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES THAT SHARE OTHER THINGS:

1.  SEED LIBRARY

Audrey Barbakoff and other members of her community wanted a place for people to share and donate vegetable, flower and herb seeds.  Barbakoff who works as a librarian on Bainbridge Island, Washington,  thought that the public library was the perfect place to house a seed library.  In 2014 the group and the library staff teamed up to build a seed shed right behind the Bainbridge Branch Library.  Residents bring their seeds to the library and the staff organize, label and store them in the shed where people are free to take what they need.  According to Audrey, the seed library is sustainable in all ways because it encourages people to grow locally and connect with what they eat.  It's socially sustainable because people are coming together to pool resources.  Borrowing something is also economically sustainable. 

 

2.  LITTLE FREE FOOD PANTRIES

Darla Bradish, a property manager in Bremerton, Washington heard about the Little Free Library movement and imagined a similar concept, but with food.  It's hard for some seniors to get to food banks so why not make food available in neighborhoods she thought.  She got her program, 'Kitsap Neighborhood Little Free Pantries" by her county public health department She then created a Go Fund Me account and a Facebook page to solicit donations and volunteers.  The success of her project led to the local corrections department offering to build her more pantry boxes.

 

3. TOOL LIBRARIES

Liz Matthews loves taking on do it yourself home improvement projects but doesn't like buying tools and only using them once. She turned to her neighbors and decided that everyone could save a lot of time and money if they shared tools.  She created a Facebook group where 400 of her neighbors exchange tools such as drills, weed whackers, pressure washers and more.  "Not only have I found every tool I've ever needed, but I've also been able to share with others and meet some new lifelong friends," she says.  "It encourages safety and pride in our 'hood, and that's what this is really all about."

 

I think I will build a seed library for the Garland Community Garden this fall. 

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100+ Temperatures and Thinking Fall Garden?

Yep!  I am!

All the garden books I read tell North Texas gardeners to start planting seeds for your fall garden now.

A week ago I planted cantaloupe, Kombucha squash and spaghetti squash seeds.  I also bought some seeds for butternut squash.

Although I like to eat them, I gave up trying to grow yellow and other summer squash types because the squash bugs get them before they are even fully mature. Summer squash is characterized as being soft-skinned, making it more tender and moist overall and likely more attractive to pests. In contrast, winter squash is considered to be more hard-shelled, making it ideal for storing throughout the cold months (hence why it's called winter squash).

Kombucha, a small round squash, about the size of a cantaloupe, is delicious and my favorite.  It has the deep orange color of a pumpkin but tastes closer to a combination of a pumpkin and a sweet potato.  Like most winter squash, its rind is hard. Kombucha is also hard to find in the grocery store and tends to be pricey.  Usually you can only find them in the expensives stores and only around Thanksgiving.  Spaghetti and Butternut squash also belong to the category of winter squash.  This squash seems to be more resistant to insects than the summer squash, however, it tends to like cooler weather and that presents a challenge.  I planted it a week ago at the same time I planted the cantaloupe and spaghetti squash seeds but it took 4 days longer to germinate.  The Spaghetti squash and cantaloupe germinated in only 3 days.

Above are the Kombucha seedlings.  I didn't know what to expect as these seeds were from 2019.from a squash I had grown from Baker Creek seeds. but they germinated just fine--almost every seed I planted.  Whenever you can, it is best to use seeds from healthy plants that were grown in the area where you live because those plants have a proven track reord for being compatible with your climate.

Spaghetti squash already has seedlings that have the beginning of their true leaves.  I'll dig them out one by one with a spoon and transplant to individual containers that I'll put in trays for easier management--transferring them from early morning sun (until about 11 am) and evening from 6 PM to dark. until late August when I'll transplant them into the garden.

Above is the cantaloupe.  I'll transfer them to the garden the first of August as they are more heat tolerant.

BABYING. YOUR PLANTS DURING THE HEAT

Ideally in 100+ heat most vegetable plants need to be watered twice a day--in the early morning and evening. Tender new plants and seedlings need to be protected through the hottest part of the day with a shade covering.  For small tomato plants it' s easy:  Put a tomato cage over the plant and cut up an old sheet to drape over the cage from about 11 AM to 5PM daily.  Use large safety pins or clothes pins to attach the cloth to the tomato cage.

Above is the set-up for my three pots of seedlings;  Four tomato cages support a twin bed size sheet (one on each side of the two end pots).  I use clothes pins to attach the sheet to the top of the cages.  You want to make sure the cloth is at least a foot to 18 inches above the plants so as to ensure good air circulation.  You don't want to create a hot box for the plants.

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If you want to put transplants in your garden now, two of your safest bets for survival are okra, cantaloupe, and peppers.