Insects are an often-overlooked food and feed source. In many areas of the world, they have been eaten for centuries. Where insects are not typically viewed as a food source, people often have an internal aversion to eating them. Insects make sense as a food and feed source for many reasons. First, there is huge precedence already. Insects have been eaten for thousands of years. Second, insects are very nutritious—high in protein, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Third, eating insects makes sense from an environmental point of view. Insects have a high feed conversion efficiency, meaning that a high proportion of the feed and water they are fed is converted into edible matter. Fourth, insects need very little space, so they can be raised even by those with little access to land. Many insects thrive in close quarters. And finally, raising insects has potential to be an income-generating endeavor. This article will give a brief overview of insects for food and for feed. It will describe ways to obtain and prepare insects, and will outline some of the challenges that exist when it comes to eating insects.
In September, ECHO’s Global Farm in Florida faced a fairly direct hit by Hurricane Irma. In the aftermath, one thing is abundantly clear – some things fall down and some things don’t (see our short video, After Hurricane Irma). This fact is relevant to our efforts to promote resilient farms and landscapes. Natural disasters come in many forms and often wreak havoc due to flooding, rain, landslides, and building collapse. When recovering from natural disasters, one important step is to evaluate, remember, and promote the plants and structures that were most resilient.
Over recent years, greater attention has been given to critical links between agriculture and nutrition. Are you interested in learning and discussing ways to leverage agriculture practices – whether for home gardens, production fields, or agroforestry plots – to consider the nutritional and health needs of the community in which you work? You don’t have to be an expert on nutrition to understand the importance of nutrition to well-being in the community. If you are focused on education, a great deal of research shows strong links between adequate nutrition and positive learning outcomes for children.
The following question was asked at ECHOcommunity Conversations (ECHO's new forum):
"I'm looking for recommendations for a certain type of crop that might allow me to keep livestock out, but would not overrun crops near it. Anybody have some suggestions?"
Network member Roy Danforth shared his recommendations and experience in Central Africa. Please share your own experiences, ask questions and connect with others through ECHOcommunity Conversations at https://conversations.echocommunity.org/.
Tamarindus indica, also known as Indian date or tamarind, is a tree with seed pods traditionally used for fruit juice, chutneys, curries, and desserts in South Asia. But it is also a drought resistant source of livestock fodder, firewood, timber, and bee forage, and its lacy canopy (Figure 9) provides medium shade for other crops. Cover crops like cowpea and horse gram can be grown in its shade for erosion and weed control; so can vegetables like tomatoes that are susceptible to sunscald. Tamarind is a low-maintenance tree with no significant pest or disease problems. It grows in a wide range of soil types and between sea level and 1500 m elevation.