Being a bug farmer is not what I had in mind when I said I wanted to be a farmer. Perhaps I should have been a little more specific when I prayed to the universe, but I kinda like that the universe surprised me and helped me find my niche. Bug farming isn’t glamourous, but it is wonderous and beautiful in its own way. When I peer into the bin full of mealworms, I see a microcosm and I feel as connected to the ecosystem as I would if I were farming chickens or vegetables.
Any type of farming is like a marriage and requires a deep level of commitment. Healthy, regenerative farms are born of great effort, but I am nervous about this whole endeavor. I am struggling as I explore my relationship with commitment and have a lot of fear towards committing to a great many things. I am afraid of being responsible and depended upon because what if I fail? What if I am not good enough? What if the grass is greener on the other side? What if I am vulnerable? What if the deepest purest expression of myself is not met with love? When I actually get these worries out of my head they seem commonplace, but I spent my twenties feeling the crushing enormous weight of these worries and now have only begun to let go and commit to what I love despite fear. Scott Peck, a psychologist said that “love is effortful.” It just occurred to me that having my own personal ceremony where I commit to being a bug farmer and entomophagy educator may be a powerful way to solidify my commitment. It sounds silly, but as with a marriage commitment, there’s a sense of security that goes along with it. As long as I put forth my best effort and keep trying no matter what, it’s okay to fail and it’s okay to not be good enough. I am ready to inspire, educate, and learn; come what may.
So with that said, allow me to introduce you to my tiny friends!
I ordered them online and had them delivered to me through the mail. Following directions I read in a book and online, I put them in the refrigerator to slow them down while I prepared their new home which is a plastic 20-gallon container. I poked holes in the lid with a screwdriver which was really easy, and then I filled the bin with rolled oats that I ground up in a blender. This apparently gives them more surface area to live on. After this, I put them in their new home with some fruit and veggies and Matt and I stared at them for a while which was actually quite interesting and fun! I planned on keeping them warm with a heat lamp, but I didn’t feel good about leaving it on overnight due to heat lamps being fire hazards:( So now they live in the bathroom next to the heater which keeps them at the low end of their preferred temperature at 70 degrees. I hope that as it warms up they’ll be happier and friskier and will make more babies! Now I am just waiting for magic to happen. In a week or so they will morph into beetles who will then make babies that will turn into mealworms and start the whole process over again. I’ll keep you updated on this entire adventure as it unfolds.
P.S check out the receipt for everything I needed to set my farm up and the mealworms only cost $11.50.
This fabulous new infographic is by Adam Frost and Paulo Estriga for the Guardian:
Going into the new year, Matt and I decided that we would try and spend money only on things we deemed to be a need which seemed pretty cut and dry at the time. I assumed a need to be rent, food, health related expenses and transportation. I can’t speak for Matt, but I did a really good job, or so I thought until I looked at my spending on Mint.com, which is a free budgeting software program. It turns out that I can justify most everything to be a need. Food is a need, of course, but I spent a total of $507 on groceries, restaurants, and coffee shops. Every time I went out for lunch I told myself that my soul needed it. When I spent money on gas to go to Ashland, I told myself that my soul needed it. When I buy coffee on my breaks I tell myself that my soul needs it. It’s true, my soul needs it, but as I look back over my spending, I wonder what it is my soul is actually needing. Matt pointed out that maybe I get coffee on my breaks because I need the social interaction. I love talking to the lovely people that give me coffee and I love walking over to get it. When I go out to eat, it’s actually a form of entertainment and a change of scenery. So this month as I reset my budget, I need to redefine what a need is, and what my soul is actually needing. I have clearly done a great job at not buying stuff, but when when it comes to food, defining what food is a need and what food is a want is a little tricky! If I can be more mindful of what the definition is I can potentially save a lot of money since I spend more on food than anything else.
Going forward, here are some things I am going to try in order to cut back on money I spend on food for February:
- Buy ground coffee, or tea and make it myself at work and then go for a walk. The coffee shop I go to is closing, so this is a good time to change my routine. Being out in nature nourishes me and maybe on my walk I can find other lovely people to interact with:) Can my social needs be met this way? We’ll see…
- Matt and I talked about only eating out once per week and making a routine of it. It’s easy to forget how much I eat out!
- Since we will be eating out less, that means that I need to be better at preparing my meals at home. This is time consuming, but the money we save will help us get closer to our goals.
- Budget for PMS. Seriously. I spend more money on food the week before my period when I am depressed and ravenously hungry than any other time of the month. If I can anticipate that I will be spending more money on food during PMS, I can use the rest of the month when I am more rational to make better choices and save money on food.
- Budget for fun especially towards the end of the month. It’s easy to be good with money for a few weeks, but then I start feeling deprived so I spend more. Every week I want to have some mad money that I can spend however I want and not feel guilty about. Maybe I take cash out every week and when the money is gone it is gone until the next week.
Well, this seems like enough for me to try this month! I am excited to see how it goes!
As a person with a passion for simple and sustainable living, the act of eating insects resonates with me and gives me so much hope for humans. Our planet isn’t able to support us all if we (especially Westerners) continue to rely on beef, fish, and poultry as our main source of protein, B-12 and DHA/EPA. The farming of insects requires WAY less water and other resources to produce the same amount of nutrition, if not more. I am excited about it because anyone can farm them! Unlike a regular farm, insect farming is accessible to people with a low-income, people without access to land, and people who don’t have the physical abilities that most farms demand. After specializing in sustainability education in Graduate school, I wandered around trying to find my place within the sustainability movement. I thought that getting involved in the earthen housing movement would be an effective way to help people reconnect with the earth and help them understand the burden conventional housing places on the planet, but the more I got involved the more I realized that access to land is an obstacle that most people cannot overcome. I could get involved in helping people learn how to garden using permaculture principles, but what is the point if more and more people don’t have access to dirt? Having an eco-hostel and farm is still a dream of mine, but until I can find a way to acquire land, I want to make a difference and give back to the earth and my community all that I have learned.
In the permaculture world, people often say, “the problem is the solution.” I have wanted a hostel for so long because I wanted people to have a real life example of what it means to be living in a reciprocal relationship with nature. My problem though has been that I do not have access to land. But that is my solution!!!!!!!! I didn’t realize that until recently. I don’t have access to land and neither do most other people. I feel that leading other people into the world of entomaphagy is a way for me to do the greatest amount of good, with the smallest amount of resources. By farming insects in my own home, which is currently a greyhound bus, I can give people a real life example of what it means to be living in a reciprocal relationship with nature. I don’t need land to teach that.
I will keep you posted as a become an insect farmer:) I have taken the first step and have purchased the equipment I need to begin, now I just need to order my Mealworms. (I am starting with Mealworms because unlike Grasshoppers, they can’t escape as easily!).
The title of this post is “A Leader is Simply the Person who Goes First.” Even though I am not the first person to embark on the adventure of insect farming and eating, I am the first person that many of you know to do such a thing. The western world just needs people like me to show them what the rest of the world already knows to be true: that insects are economical, EXTREMELY nutritious, good for the environment, and very delicious.
My two week absence from this blog has mostly to do with Lil’ Sprinty taking up too much of my free time! After a few weeks of getting him ready, I am ready to sell. Selling such large expensive things can be annoying, but here is what I am learning so far:
- The next time I buy anything large, old, and expensive I am going to think about if I will ever want to sell it and if so, ask myself if it will be worth the hassle.
- Treat everyone who is interested in the kindest and most loving way and go over the top with customer service because even if they don’t buy, you never know who they might pass your info to.
- Sandwich the bad stuff between good stuff in an ad. Matt taught me this one:) Thank you Matt.
- Have all the paperwork ready to go. When I bought it, it took me a month to get the title from the owner, who left it in another state.
- Just like when you purchase something, selling takes 3 times as long as you think it will take and will cost twice as much.
- People buy paint jobs. My mom’s ex-boyfriend John taught me this. I washed the exterior so it’s all pretty, and I cleaned the windows and painted the interior. Sometimes all he did when he bought a car to resell it for more money was wash and wax it and shine up the tires.
Even though I am annoyed by the whole process of selling my RV, I am so thankful for the entire experience of having one. A year ago, I didn’t know how to drive a large vehicle, I didn’t know how to install laminate flooring, I didn’t know how to even caulk anything. I didn’t know how to buy a vehicle and I didn’t know how to sell one. I didn’t know what water could do to an old RV. I underestimated winter and didn’t know how to fully appreciate dry weather. I didn’t know much damage procrastination can cause. Most of all I learned something about idealism. Being an idealist is a trait I adore about myself, but it also can lead me to make decisions that may not be in my best interest in the long run. So, friends and family…next time I come to you with a crazy idea, you have my permission to remind me of my experience with Lil’ Sprinty. 🙂