can eating insects save the world

Can Eating Insects Save The World?

can eating insects save the world

Last night I caught an interesting documentary on BBC4 – ‘Can Eating Insects Save The World?’ – and it provoked lots of interesting discussion in our house about eating insects.

Presenter Stefan Gates travels to Thailand and Cambodia, where the consumption of spiders (including tarantulas) and insects is not only commonplace, but often a delicacy which commands high prices.  Yet here in the West if insects are found in a restaurant it’s a call to Environmental Health department of the local council.

It is estimated that thee are 40 tonnes of insects to every human (which if you do the maths is an incomprehensible amount of insects!), yet billions of people on earth are starving and malnourished.  At the same time the farming of livestock for meat for the rich diverts thousands of tonnes of grain out of the food chain, further exacerbating global food inequalities .  Stefan asks if the solution is for everyone – the British included – to start eating insects too.

We personally thought that eating insects would be no different to eating prawns – both are arthropods – and are low in fat and full of protein making them healthy alternatives to meat.  Insects are less likely to be contaminated (as in the recent beef/horse meat scandal).  Insects also lay eggs in massive quantities, and have short breeding hatching and growing times – in the case of crickets it takes 45 days from egg to fully grown cricket – meaning it is possible to generate huge quantities of insects in very short timescales compared to livestock, in a much much smaller and less resource and labour intensive manner.

However, and it’s a big however,  like many I’m really not keen on spiders (after an unfortunate incident – I’ll spare you the details in case you’re squeamish!), and can’t imagine ever having the guts to give eating insects a go!

What do you think?  Should we as a nation get over our fears and start eating insects?  Would you personally eat insects?

gardening with kids

Gardening With Kids

gardening with kids
As the Easter holidays are nearly here, I thought I’d share a few fun activities to do with your family.  The first one of these is gardening with kids – a great cheap and easy activity that kids love. 

This Easter I have my fingers crossed for good weather.  You see, I’d really like to get out into the garden with my daughter and start growing some vegetables with her.  Although only a toddler, I believe that it’s never too early to start showing children where the food we eat comes from, and helping her to get a first grasp of biology in action.  I’m also desperately hoping that growing her own vegetables will help stave off that common hatred of anything vegetable based!

Although you don’t need any fancy gear to get out into the garden with your kids (in fact, the older the clothes the better!), some basic kid-sized hand tools (and gloves if you’re going to get them involved in weeding) are a must, as well as some seeds!

Here are a few things I have my eye on that would be great for gardening with kids:
gardening with kids ideas
From clockwise:

Kids Trug (£9.95) – from What You Sow – Perfect for harvesting their bounty (or for weeding, if you can rope them in to that!).  Not an essential by any means, but really rather lovely.

Bug Hotel (affiliate link) (£15) – from John Lewis – A bug hotel attracts bees, ladybirds, lacewings and other minibeasts to your garden, helping to naturally eradicate any hungry aphids that might want to eat your precious vegetables, and also pollinate your vegetables too.  Children will adore looking for ladybirds and other minibeasts.  And top tip – if you don’t want to buy a bug hotel, you can also create your own bug hotel by leaving an area of the garden wild and unweeded, with logs and stones piled up.

Kids hand tools  – from What You Sow – great for small hands. Seeds – I’m a fan of growing easy vegetables like carrots and peas, and also flowers like sweet peas and sunflowers with kids.

Allotinabox have a nice selection of seeds or try your local garden centre.

Kids Gardening Gloves  (£5.95) – from What You Sow – to protect little hands from thorns and other garden nasties.

 

If you’re as keen as I am to get out in your garden and do some gardening with your kids this Easter then Netmums has some great tips on gardening with kids, and this guide from Grow Veg is also worth a read.

I plan on growing fast-sprouting veggies like lettuce, radishes and carrots, and the flowers I enjoyed growing the most as a kid –  sweet peas and sunflowers. I have some raised beds to make planting easy for my little’un, but you could also use tubs or trugs, or even just dedicate a small area of your garden for planting.

Even if you don’t have a garden, there are plenty of things you can grow in window boxes and on your windowsill.  Fresh herbs are quick, simple and cheap to grow – this is a nice post about growing herbs with kids.  Chili’s work well indoors, as do avocados (which are a lot of fun to watch growing), and there are always the old favourites like cress and mustard, which only take a few days and can be eaten in egg sandwiches or in salads.  I also heartily recommend growing snow pea shoots.

If you have any advice on gardening with kids, or other suggestions of what to grow then do let me know in the comment below!

Keep an eye out this coming week for some more children’s themed posts.