Insects, food and insects as food

As you may have noticed, there has been a lot of bee-related coverage lately.

I wrote about bees twice last year, once about the Bee Cause and the other about saving the bees with useful petitions on the subject, and there was a FOE stall at last year’s London Green Fair to spread the word about them too.

This continuous “bee talk” is due to the fact that further evidence has been found on the sharp decline in bee numbers.

According to an extract from Friends of the Earth’s report on the UK’s bee decline “Professor Simon Potts, said:

“The way we farm and use land across the UK has pushed many rare bees into serious decline. I’m calling on the Government to act swiftly to save these iconic creatures which are essential to a thriving environment and our food supply”.

How could let this happen? If bees are essential, how can we use farming methods that put them in danger?

Sandra Bell, Friends of the Earth, said:

“These bee species are in real trouble. But people across the UK can help change all that with simple practical actions and by urging their MPs to play their part. We need a Bee Action Plan now.””

Another article on the Guardian, US honeybees threatened as 31% of colonies died out in 2012 really highlights the direct effects that bees’ numbers decline is having on farmers right now:

“The heavy losses of pollinators also threatens the country’s food supply, researchers said. The US Department of Agriculture has estimated that honeybees contribute some $20bn to the economy every year.

$20bn is a huge amount of money, so surely someone is doing something to stop bees’ decline…right?

“In a report last week, the federal government blamed a combination of factors for the rapid decline of honeybees, including a parasitic mite, viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition and genetics, as well as the effects of pesticides. But scientists and campaign groups have singled out the use of a widely used class of pesticides, which scramble the honeybees’ sense of navigation.”

Great, let’s ban these bee-killing pesticides then!

“The European Union has imposed a two-year ban on such pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, to study their effects on bee populations. However, the US authorities say there is no clear evidence pointing to pesticides as the main culprit for honeybees’ decline.”

So what can we do?

Fortunately we can get straight to the point: there are many petitions to help bees, such as ones that focus on banning these above mentioned harmful pesticides that contribute to the bees’ decline, neonicotinoids. Simply go on Change.org to do your bit with a quick online signature to help.

Otherwise, on the FOE (friends of the Earth) website you can donate to have your bee kit with seeds to grow flowers loved by bees, a bee guide, a garden planner or just sign a petition to ask David Cameron to make 2013 the year of the bee.

There are some upcoming Bee-friendly events and you can check them on this Friends of the Earth link.

Have you noticed the decline in bees lately? I hardly see any at all 😦

Bee saver Kit

Bee saver Kit – foe.co.uk

Talking about insects… I read another interesting article: “UN urges people to eat insects to fight world hunger

According to this UN report, eating insects would increase nutrition thanks to insects’ high protein, fat and mineral content (caterpillars have more protein than minced beef).

In addition to that, they are more sustainable: “Insects are also “extremely efficient” in converting feed into edible meat. Crickets, for example, need 12 times less feed than cattle to produce the same amount of protein, according to the report.”

The only time I tried eating insects of any kind was in Beijing in Wángfǔjǐng, famous for having just about anything on a stick.

Wangfujing's Delicacies

Wangfujing’s Delicacies – Chubby bugs and scorpions – Jul ’07

Insects are a common ingredient in many countries, so if you aren’t used to eating them, would you consider trying them? And if you already eat them, what do you think of people who find it odd or even repulsive to eat insects?

Wangfujing's Delicacies

Wangfujing’s Delicacies – Feb ’09

Eating scorpions in Wangfujing - July '07

Eating scorpions in Wangfujing – July ’07

I tried scorpions, deep-fried, and they’re actually pleasant and tasty!

~

On another meat-free note, tomorrow is the start of National Vegetarian Week! A great opportunity to try new, more sustainable meat-free meals.

Most of my posts are about vegetarian or vegan recipes but there are many other great websites I can recommend:

Vegetarian = Sustainably Tasty

Vegetarian = Sustainably Tasty

Are you planning to try some meat-free dishes during National Vegetarian Week?

Where do you get your food inspiration from?

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Insects, food and insects as food

  1. How interesting, we have lots of bees here, I am going to see if I can get a back of seeds to attract bees. They are lovely to have in the garden, they just leave you alone and get on being busy bees . They love the wisteria and the rosemary.
    I would eat insects, there is a restaurant in London that has them on the menu. I must admit they do not look very appetising in your photo all lined up, but I would definitely try them.
    Happy Vegetarian Week. I am having pasta with feta cheese, chopped up chilli tiny bits and herb oil.
    Christine x

    Like

  2. Sono stato molto contento di aver trovato questo sito. Voglio dire grazie per il vostro tempo per questa lettura meravigliosa! Io sicuramente mi sto godendo ogni post e ho gia’ salvato il sito tra i segnalibri per non perdermi nulla!

    Like

  3. Posso solo dire con sollievo che ho trovato qualcuno che sa realmente di cosa sta parlando! Lei sicuramente sa come portare un problema alla luce e renderlo importante. Altre persone hanno bisogno di leggere questo e capire questo lato della storia.

    Like

Leave a comment, I would love to know what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s