Bugs and insects = life.
They could be life changing. A game changer in our ever consuming world.
It has been niggling me for years and years. A while ago on a whim, I bought a website domain for when we managed to start a company that could farm insects to feed to animals and humans. Bugs and bees - we need them - more than ever.
It is happening and the march has started.
Insect farms are coming and I want in.
We have been feeding our hens mealworms for years (I just wish they were less expensive so I could feed them all the time - as the eggs are better, the hens are happier and I cant find fault with this wonderful natural feed). I was chased by locusts in South Africa as a 7 year old child. I feed flies to rescued baby birds. The boys catch grasshoppers and crickets as a fun pastime and then feed them to the chickens or let them go and watch them leap. The swallows and swifts dart around catching thousands.
Insects are the backbone of life on earth. Why then do we not use them more? The population of the world is sadly growing. The food we consume will need to increase. We cant possibly all live off meat and the ravages of soya production. We cant trawl our seabeds forever. General fertilisers meant to revive the overused soil are actually killing everything it touches and then goes on to pollute the water courses.
I think there has to be a way that can create food without jeopardising more land all over the world and in turn reduce the need for this mass consumption of intensively raised animals and the removal of fish from our oceans.
There is a way and we have to think smaller to think bigger.
We are top of the food chain so why are we not putting food at the top of our own chain agenda.
With tears in my eyes and anger in my heart, I recently watched the programme on Channel 4 Dispatches which focused on food production in the USA and the mass farming that was on a scale that made me wonder about the sanity of the human race. What is going on? Why do we need so much? The mass farming of meat and grain for food and the knock on effect to the entire world is selfish and it has to stop. We have to find alternative ways to eat. The cruelty of this practice in the raising of animals to supply us with beef, pork and chicken was horrific on every level. This added with the destruction of virgin land for soya cultivation is crushing the very ethos that should be farming. We are raping the ground and all it provided. We should try to grow what we need and no more.
Luckily there is hope - some people are stopping to think.
Some are putting thoughts into action.
Some people are creating change.
The careful farming of insects would be a small step in the right direction that will gain traction as we realise that these small creatures pack a punch, well above their weight.
One particularly promising insect is the larvae from Black Soldier Flies - BSF - these can be fed to animals, poultry, farmed fish and also used for human consumption.
This in turn reduces the reliance on soya based feeds and grains for feed.
These insects can feed off organic waste (unused fruit and vegetables)- thus creating a sustainable cycle.
They have near zero carbon emissions.
The waste from the production of insect farming can then be used as a natural horticultural fertiliser - thus completing the circular economy vision.
Nature rarely leaves as waste product. It is man who creates the waste.
Insect farming could help save the planet if implement it correctly.
I may not be a disruptor (yet) in this market and our 'Little Farm' has little to to do with insects, other than the live & dried mealworms we buy occasionally, but I am teaching the next generation (our boys) that insects could be the lifeblood in a sustainable world and these little farmers could be the generation to benefit and run with it, if we start this engine now.
They are keen and so am I. Are you?
It will take longer for these bugs to get onto our plates directly - but if we start now and think about how we can use them - we will bring about change that will be life creating and all importantly sustainable.