Edible Insects and Insecticides

Edible wasps“Indeed, it is ironical that many international and non-governmental organisations try to save crops that contain no more than 14 percent protein by killing another food source (insects) that may contain up to 75 percent high-quality protein.”

Julieta Ramos-Elorduy in “Ecological implications of minilivestock“, red. Maurizio Paoletti, 2005.

See also: “Edible forest insects: humans bite back!!” (.pdf 4MB), Patrick Durst, Dennis Johnson, Robin Leslie, Kenichi Shono, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2010. Summary at the edible forest insects FAO-website. Previously: mass insect-farming.


Fences of Fruit Trees

fences of fruit trees

“Almost anyone who has a backyard or garden would do well to plant fruit trees for the years ahead. Most fruit trees, though, take more years to mature than most of us have to prepare, and take up more space than most of us have in cities or suburbs. Luckily, only a few centuries ago master gardeners developed a way to cultivate fruit in narrow spaces – one that yields more fruit, more quickly, and with a longer growing season.

Espalier is a method of growing a dwarf fruit tree along a wall or fence, binding it for support, and bending the branches to follow certain lines, as Japanese artists do with bonsai trees. Most gardeners started espaliers with a “maiden,” a one-year-old sapling that had not yet forked, and tied it to a staff of wood to keep it straight. Then they tied the desired branches to the fence or wall as they emerged, bending and pruning aggressively as the tree grew.

With the tree’s natural growth concentrated into only two dimensions, it creates many spurs looking for a chance to spread, creating more flowers and fruit than their conventional counterparts, and earlier in the trees’ life. The fruit can be picked casually while standing or sitting, with no need for the ladders or devices needed to pick many other fruit trees, and no risk of injury. Growing a tree against a south-facing wall has another advantage; not only does the tree receive maximum light and heat, but the thermal mass of the wall absorbs the heat and provides shelter from the wind. In this way trees get a longer growing season, and can grow in cooler climates than they would ordinarily tolerate.”

Read more: Fences of fruit trees. Related: Irish hedgerows.

Mass Insect Farming

Crickets 2 “He refused to try anything. I thought it was very poor … eating a langoustine or prawn is just like eating a lizard or insect, one just lives in the sea and one on land. Ecologically we will have to start getting our protein from other sources as our population increases as the planet cannot support our growing demand for meat. Our rainforests are suffering as we slash and burn to grow animal feed and we deplete our oceans of fish.”

“Edible insects are rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins and are being actively promoted by the United Nations as the secret weapon in averting a worldwide famine. According to a recent UN report: Edible insects constitute high-quality food for humans, livestock, poultry and fish. Because insects are cold-blooded, they have a high [pro rata] food conversion rate—crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein. Only a few countries “farm” insects, and the UN is now spending millions of dollars to investigate mass insect production.”

Read more. Illustration by Nicole Antrobus. See also: Edible Insects and Insecticides / Insects as a Sustainable Feed Ingredient in Pig and Poultry Diets.


Waste to Meat Recycling

“If pigs are fed on residues and waste, and cattle on straw, stovers and grass from fallows and rangelands – food for which humans don’t compete – meat becomes a very efficient means of food production”. Read. Via Energy Bulletin.

Modern Day Flintstones

A modern-day Stone Age subculture is developing in the United States, where wannabe cavemen mimic their distant ancestors. They eat lots of meat, bathe in icy water and run around barefoot. Some researchers say people led healthier lives in pre-historic times. Read. More here.