Studio IV Blog #7 - The Role of Bugs
This week in studio, we explore the importance and value bugs bring to our planet. This topic is near and dear to my heart. Being a person taught from a young age, the value of all creatures, I learned all things have their place in our ecological society. Granted, humans are the "popular kids" (or bullies perhaps?) in the food chain. Little do some know that we need those "losers" below us to create a sustainable balance.
The past several years, butterflies have been on the decline to the point they are almost endangered. My mom and I each created wild butterfly gardens at our homes, giving up some yard space to provide the nearly endangered monarch butterfly some non-toxic real estate to feed and pollinate. I bought a "kit" online at American Meadows that will ship you 18 full grown plants that do just this. It's incredible to see businesses answering the needs of the environment and making a living at the same time. Crazy concept, right?
Ok, so I guess bug farming is becoming a thing. Outside of butterfly gardens, a movement is a'brewin' where people grow their own bugs to eat. According to some information on the world wide web, bugs are not only an integral part of the food chain, humans can skip some links in the chain and go directly to the bottom and just eat the bugs. Plus bugs are an extremely healthy animal protein, much healthier than say cow meat. In fact, I just sent my mom a text message asking, "Have you ever thought about eating bugs?" I'm awaiting her reply.
Unlike CAFO (confined animal food operations), bugs being in dense populations with very little space is their natural habitat, so it's more ethical. Also, livestock often has to be treated and medicated (also given hormones for growth, etc.). The things given to livestock eventually are consumed by a human, which can have adverse effects especially over a life time. Bugs? They don't require any medications or growth hormones. Pretty neat, right?
But anyways, back to the actual assignment for the week which is to post sites regarding urban insect farming...
Open Bug Farm specializes in creating at-home bug habitats (crickets, grasshoppers, etc.) where you can grow your very own bugs from eggs to the end of their life cycle and eat them while they continually reproduce. So if you grow your own fruits and vegetables, along with your bugs, you've got a full sustainable diet in your back yard and make huge strides in having a neutral impact on the environment.
North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA) focuses on the sustainability, ethical issues, accessibility, and safety of bug farming. It's a litany of resources dedicated to bug farming and focuses on the benefits the environment would receive by "eating smaller."
A good video on YouTube details a beekeeping lab at Ohio State University. It speaks of the danger bees are in by facing extinction, with nearly 50% of their colonies gone. Bees are responsible for producing 1/3 of the food humans eat, making their survival essential to human survival. Sounds like we need bees around. To watch this video, click here.
So no matter what your personal feelings are about bugs, it looks like we kinda need them. And it looks like we need them more than they need us. It actually turns out they don't need us at all. And they would probably be happier if we weren't around. Remember that the next time you find a daddy long leg in your garage.
In the spirit of bugs, here is a website of bug recipes. You can make cupcakes, pizza, soup, etc. If it makes you feel better, you're probably eating these bugs without knowing it anyways. Enjoy!
Until next time,