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Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle
|No matter the case, real, unprocessed food is better for you than food that’s been chemically modified. At our store, you won’t need to be convinced of what you’re buying. You’ll be buying real ingredients. Learn more||in.gredients is a collaborative effort between business, community, and consumers with the goal of eliminating food-related waste while supporting local businesses and farmers. Learn more||There’s no waste in nature. Waste is a human invention. As good stewards of our environment, our top priority is to reduce the amount of waste we produce and reuse what we have. Learn More|
Little Herds Celebrates Eating Insects and a Sustainable Future of Food at the 9th Annual Bug Eating Festival Part II on Wednesday, July 13th
For the second year in a row, in.gredients is hosting the Bug (Eating) Festival – a celebration of entomophagy and the future of food organized by Little Herds, an Austin non-profit working to promote the use of insects for food and feed as an environmentally sound and economically viable source of nutrition.
A large crowd of local bug-enthusiasts gathered at in.gredients for Part I of the 9th Annual Bug (Eating) Festival on Saturday, June 4 to sample insect-infused treats, listen to live music by Josh Buckley and learn more about the role of bugs in our food system.
“It went great; we probably had 200 people there,” Little Herds President Robert Nathan Allen said. “We had booths for PEAS, Delysia Chocolatier, Slow Food Austin, Aketta, and Crickers Crackers. There was a kids’ activities table and a bunch of different treats like cricket rice krispie treats and cricket oatmeal cookies. Chef Rick Lopez from La Condesa did a cooking demonstration of how to make chapulines salsa.”
Due to the severe weather conditions during Part I of the 9th Annual Bug Eating Festival, Little Herds is holding a second Bug Eating Festival this year on Wednesday, July 13 from 5-9PM at in.gredients. The 9th Annual Bug Eating Festival Part II is an opportunity for insect-novices to taste bugs for the first time and for entomophagy enthusiasts like RNA to gather and share what they love about insects as a food of the future.
RNA’s initial interest in insect eating was sparked by a video on entomophagy that was sent to him as a joke, “I took it way too seriously,” he said. A year later RNA had gathered together a group of friends who were interested in eating bugs and raising awareness of the environmental and nutritional benefits of insects as an alternative protein source. Within six months, by December 2013, Little Herds had become a 501c3 non-profit committed to edible insect education.
“We should be thinking about our food before it hits our plate,” RNA said. “Little Herds’ mission is to educate our community about the benefits of eating insects – it addresses the broader questions of how we fix our broken food system. We are interested in insects as food and as livestock feed, and we are focused on our local community and global community. Austin was the perfect birthplace for Little Herds; there are a lot of cultural influences on our food scene. Austin already has a big paleo community, a big gluten-free community – there are a lot of people who want to keep it weird when it comes to what we eat here.”
Raising insects requires significantly less resources – water, space and feed – than the production of other forms of livestock. When RNA learned of the environmental sustainability and nutrient content of edible insects, he began experimenting with cricket flour. He brought one of his first batches of cricket cookies to the 5th Annual Bug Eating Festival.
“The festival was founded by Marjory Wildcraft. She started nine years ago with some friends and families who wanted to try bugs for the first time. They had such a blast they did it again, and more people showed up the next year, and it grew,” RNA said. “I got involved with this idea at the 5th Annual Bug Eating Festival; I brought some cricket flour cookies I baked and just fell in love with the idea. Since then I’ve helped organize the festival. Originally it was a way to get people together to try bugs, and now it’s grown as a way to see insects as a resource and to celebrate all the good work that’s happening in Austin around food and sustainability.”
Little Herds has gathered together a group of local bakers and chefs – Chef Rick Lopez from La Condesa, Aketta Cricket Flour, Crickers and Delysia Chocolatier – to bring insect-enriched treats to Part II of the 9th Annual Bug Eating Festival on Wednesday, July 13 for curious eaters to try. Taste the future of food and sustainable protein in the form of gourmet cricket cookies and chocolates, spiced mealworms and cricket salsa.
“One of the great things about edible insects is that if you don’t want to see them, you don’t have to – you can grind them up into flours,” RNA said. “It’s not a one-to-one replacement of regular flour, but you can sub in a portion of the flour in recipes, and you’ll still get that additional protein, iron and calcium that weren’t there before. Crickets have really good omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; they have fiber. It’s just mind-blowing how healthy they are, and we’ve just been missing out on it.”
Since Little Herd’s inception in June 2013, they have focused on educating children about entomophagy and getting kids excited to eat bugs. “We have educator kits designed to be taught at schools around Austin that can be catered to any age group,” RNA said. “If we get 1% of kids in Austin to eat insects, we can show how much water is saved and how much greenhouse gas is saved from just a small number people.” Part II of the 9th Annual Bug (Eating) Festival will feature even more activities for kids to learn about the benefits of bugs and how to eat them.
“Parents know it’s nutritious and environmentally beneficial, and kids don’t have built-in taboos,” RNA said. “Trends change throughout history. We’re trying to change the mentality that insects are gross food.”
Little Herds is part of a larger movement to repopularize eating insects as a sustainable protein alternative. Although entomophagy is practiced throughout the world in countries like Mexico, the idea is relatively new in the United States.
“It’s a cultural taboo that’s built up over time for a variety of reasons. As our ancestors moved up north from the equator and bugs got smaller, people stopped eating insects. Due to agriculture, bugs weren’t needed as a food supply,” RNA said. “There are a lot of places where eating insects is traditional, but for younger generations it’s starting to be seen as something your grandmother did. If we make eating insects part of our modern food culture it won’t have that effect. In Mexico, eating insects is still celebrated as a traditional food. There are restaurants throughout the country that serve traditional Oaxacan chapulines.”
Little Herds has three “core principles” it recommends to anyone interested in trying insects for the first time: be safe, be kind (to other eaters, insects and the planet) and be curious.
“It’s fun to surprise people but we want to make sure people are safe; if you have a shellfish allergy you may be allergic to insects,” RNA said. “If someone doesn’t want to try, that’s okay. Everyone has a food they don’t like, and they don’t need someone bullying them about it.”
Little Herds works to promote ethical insect farming that does not disturb local ecosystems. Insects can be safely and humanely harvested through freezing, “lowering their temperature like they would hibernate in the wild.”
“Be kind to the animals; insects are living creatures and sentient beings,” RNA said. “We are not saying go in your backyard and try bugs; you don’t know where those are from. If you harvest bugs from the wild they may have parasites or your neighbor may spray pesticides. Part of being safe is knowing where your food comes from – you should want to know where your food is grown and the way it’s processed. You want to know that it’s safe for animals.”
This summer, Little Herds launched a crowdfunding campaign through Barnraiser to expand their programs in Austin and abroad. Rewards for donating include a jar of Cricket Bolognese Pasta Sauce, a grow-your-own mealworms kit (that comes equipped with a mealworm cookbook and farm) and a cricket-chocolate making class with Delysia Chocolatier – make sure to donate and claim your reward before their crowdfunding deadline of midnight Friday, July 15.
“The first day we received an anonymous matching donation for up to $4000 if we reached our first goal by the following Saturday. The community rallied, and we hit our goal by Friday,” RNA said. “We have some really great stretch goals that are going to be impactful for the local Austin community.”
Little Herds is still working to meet their third fundraising goal of reaching $25,000, which will allow them to host the second ever “Eating Insects” conference in the U.S. next year in Austin. RNA attended “Eating Insects Detroit,” the first conference in the U.S. devoted to insects for food and feed, and came back inspired to do the same in Austin.
“The conference gave me a huge injection of energy and ideas,” RNA said. “Over 150 international business founders joined the conference along with insect farmers and experts leading research looking at the psychology and marketing of eating insects. There were film screenings, a pop-up insect dinner and a food truck-serving insects. The conference was a snapshot of what people are doing all around the world, and how this can apply to Austin. We were just blown away by how this conference went for its first year; bringing it to Austin next year just makes so much sense. We can make it coincide with the 10th Annual Bug Eating Festival.”
Similar to Part I of the 9th Annual Bug (Eating) Festival, Part II will have an Ento Raffle benefitting Little Herds Barnraiser campaign with insect cookbooks, edible insect t-shirts and tote bags, and baking ingredients like cricket flour and Delysia chocolate. The event is open to the public and entrance costs a suggested donation of $10 to Little Herds (kids are free!) – purchase tickets in advance online or at the door.
First time trying insects? Little Herds encourages people to check out their website for resources on how to eat insects safely.
A Plant-Based Diet
We agree with food writer Michael Pollan when he said, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” While most folks think of summer as the time for grilling meat, we’re pretty jazzed on the abundance of warm-weather veggies currently coming out of our farmers’ fields. To highlight these seasonal offerings, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite recipes from Austin-based food blogger, Jeanine Donofrio of Love and Lemons.
- 1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped
- ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 medium zucchini, spiralized or peeled into ribbons
- 1 ear of corn, grilled, kernels sliced off cobb
- 1 avocado, pitted and diced
- 12 to 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cubed
- ½ cup coconut “bacon” (recipe below)
- 1½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1½ tablespoons tamari
- scant 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 3 to 4 hours, preferably overnight, drained and rinsed
- ½ to ¾ cups fresh water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt
- In a blender, combine the cashews, ½ cup water, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Blend until creamy, adding more water if necessary. Taste and season with additional salt as needed. Chill until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the coconut flakes along with the tamari, maple syrup and smoked paprika on the pan and toss gently to coat. Spread in a thin layer on the pan and bake until dark golden brown and slightly crispy, about 10 minutes.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tofu cubes on the pan and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and generous pinches of salt. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
- In a serving bowl, assemble the salad with the romaine, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, corn, avocado and tofu. Top with the coconut “bacon” and serve with the dressing on the side. Store any extra dressing in a sealed container in the fridge.
- 1 small Japanese eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped summer squash (yellow, pattypan, or zucchini)
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ avocado, diced
- handful of cilantro
- 1 serrano pepper, sliced (optional)
- crumbled cotija cheese (optional)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup store-bought or homemade tomatillo salsa
- ¼ cup pepitas
- ½ avocado
- handful of spinach
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- squeezes of lime, to taste
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chopped eggplant, squash, red pepper and tomatoes onto the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper and roast until golden brown around the edges 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make your sauce. In a food processor, blend together the tomatillo salsa, pepitas, avocado, spinach, olive oil, lime juice and pinches of salt and pepper, to taste. Chill until ready to use.
- Assemble the tacos with the black beans, roasted vegetables, diced avocado, cilantro, serrano, cotija (if using), and a generous scoop of the avocado tomatillo sauce. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
- Store extra sauce in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- salt & pepper
- 2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced into 4 long slices each
- ½ cup red onion
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes
- squeeze of lime
- 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
- salt & pepper
- yellow mustard
- 4-5 hot dog buns
- optional: ketchup on the side
- optional: 1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
- In a small bowl, mix together the chopped red onion and sliced tomatoes. Add a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper. Stir and set aside.
- Preheat your grill or grill pan. In another small bowl, mix the marinade ingredients together (olive oil, balsamic, mustard, salt & pepper), and brush onto the portobello slices until they’re coated.
- (Note: If you’re making the macaroni salad, make it now and grill your mushrooms last).
- Grill mushroom strips on each side until grill marks form and mushrooms are tender and juicy (about 3-4 minutes per side). Place 2 mushroom slices into each hot dog bun. Top liberally with onion & tomatoes, some serrano slices, and a swirl of mustard.
- ½ cup walnuts
- 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- tiny pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons cold butter (I use vegan earth balance)
- a few teaspoons flour*, if necessary for the crumble
- 4-6 peaches
- ice cream (I used coconut, use what you like)
- Make the crumble by crushing the walnuts together with the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. I did this in a plastic bag using a wooden kitchen mallet, a rolling pin would also work. Add the butter and, using your hands, crumble it into the mix until just combined. If it’s too moist and not crumbly, add a bit of flour.
- Slice your peaches and grill for a few minutes on each side.
- Serve the peaches with some of the crumble and a scoop if ice cream.
Stephanie Ciancio lives in San Fransisco but insists on taking a trip to in.gredients every time she visits her best friend in Austin. Stephanie’s commitment to living a zero waste lifestyle and changing how she shops has led her to start Nesting So Hard, a service that helps people reorganize their kitchens and commit to zero waste habits.
in: How did you hear about in.gredients?
SC: I think maybe Pinterest or Facebook, it was something that friends of mine shared. My best friend Suzanne lives in Austin, when I came here I asked her, “Please take me to this place!” That was a couple years ago, and when I’m back in town I’m like, “Let’s go to in.gredients again!”
in: So you always come to in.gredients when you’re in Austin?
in: What do you like about in.gredients?
SC: I love that it’s a cute little shop that helps people buy exactly what they need and not what they don’t – which is the food that you eat and not necessarily a bunch of extra packaging.
in: Do you try to live a zero-waste lifestyle?
SC: I’m a little obsessive about it. My husband is very understanding. I won’t actually throw away clear plastic. I collect it and take it to the one place it can be recycled; so I try not to get it in the first place. We live in San Francisco, and we compost. And I miss composting when I travel. I had to go on a restricted diet for my digestive health, and I started cooking a lot. And that’s when I got into shopping for bulk foods like quinoa and millet. I get a farm subscription for the produce. It’s a fun thing to play at, to get to the zero waste lifestyle. I like to approach it like a game, like how do we get more of what we want and less of what we don’t want rather than demonizing anything. I grew up shopping at Publix, but it’s so much more fun to shop at a pretty place that approaches food from a different angle and has farm relationships and local sourcing.
in: What is your advice for people looking to live a zero waste lifestyle?
SC: That’s a great question because that’s what I’ve just started doing as a service. I help people makeover their kitchens. And the starting point is, what do you like to cook? What do you like to eat – can you cook that? What ingredients do you use a lot of? And how can you streamline getting ahold of those ingredients, whether it’s a CSA delivery or having a system of containers that you always have. It’s so great to know that we can eat most of our meals at home and that most of what we need can be purchased in bulk. I had a commitment to my health that had me cook and eat in a different way. I no longer went to the grocery store when I remembered, it was part of my lifestyle to procure the food that I prepare and eat. You can create a system where you have containers in your car trunk. Or you can create a system where you have a bag of containers ready to go and you create a shopping list, and when you realize there are a lot of things on your list you grab the bag and you go. For me it was a progression. I still buy things I wasn’t planning on buying. But if you look back 5 or 10 years ago, no one every brought their bags, and now it’s like “Oh I forgot my bags this time.” So there’s been a shift already.
in: What’s the name of your business?
SC: Nesting So Hard. I do one-day kitchen makeovers, and I focus on using Mason jars and getting people really acquainted and familiarized and falling in love with their local bulk grocer.
Read more about Nesting So Hard on Stephanie’s blog.
Photo by Suzanne Pressman, Pressman Studio
Unsure of what to get dad for Father’s Day THIS Sunday, 6/19? Get him the official title of Austin’s Greatest Dad! Tag a photo or drawing of your dad with the hashtags #AustinsGreatestDad and #ingredientsATX and a caption about why you love your pa by Friday, 6/17. Win your dad the title of Austin’s Greatest Dad and prizes for you to share (like matching t-shirts, an in.gredients growler or money to spend in.store), and make your pa proud for once.
Interested in getting your hands dirty and learning how to garden? Join us for our Garden Volunteer day this Saturday, 6/18 from 9-11:30AM! Email Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Farmer Sue White Shares History of in.gredients Garden and Tales of Farming in Austin
Almost every day, among a buzz of butterflies and bees, Farmer Sue White can be found planting, weeding and harvesting the in.gredients garden. Out in front of the store and in our produce case, you can see (and taste) what Sue has worked to build over the last four years.
Sue began gardening 40 years ago when she was living in Clarksville next to a vacant lot.
“I squatted on it – I just started to garden there,” she said. “Nobody noticed; nobody threw me out. I had a giant garden.”
When Sue moved to Cherrywood, she continued to garden – growing a wide range of produce without the use of chemical enhancers or toxic pesticides. Four years ago, Sue expanded the size and productivity of her garden with the help of Urban Patchwork, an organization working to create small farms on underutilized or abandoned spaces throughout neighborhoods in Austin with the goal of increasing local food production.
“I got involved with Urban Patchwork – we were a group in our neighborhood of people who wanted to create a patchwork farm of several backyards together. We produced kind of like a CSA,” Sue said. “We had members, and some of the members contributed their land, their backyards, and some contributed work, and some contributed money. We harvested and shared the harvest among all of us; there were about 12 members.”
Urban Patchwork initially helped build the garden in front of in.gredients to act as a community space that exemplified sustainable growing techniques and water conservation. The Urban Patchwork team chose to create a hugelkultur garden because of its ability to retain water, even during times of drought.
“You have to dig a deep trench,” Sue said. “You have to dig down quite deep and dig out the soil, and then put in logs. The logs absorb and hold onto moisture, and the roots get down into the rotting log and get the moisture that’s being held in the logs. On top of that you have to put some nitrogen source to counteract the carbon breaking down, and then you pile your soil along with your soil amendments on top of that. It should be between 18 inches and two feet deep; it won’t work if your trench is too shallow. The soil here does seems to stay moist for quite a long time, and that’s also due to heavy clay content. I have the drip irrigation set up on a timer, and during a rainy period I come and turn it off.”
Urban Patchwork helped in.gredients complete the garden in April 2012. Initially, a team of Urban Patchwork volunteers maintained the garden, but after about a year Sue took over the responsibility of caring for the space.
“Most of the members were on the other side of the neighborhood, so they didn’t have enough people willing to come by and keep it up – but I live right down the street, and in.gredients wanted it to become more of a provider for the store,” Sue said. “Since I had been part of that group, they asked me if I would take it over. That’s how I ended up doing this. I sell to them from the garden the same way I sell from my own backyard garden.”
Sue supplies in.gredients with hyper-local produce grown in our front yard and in her garden just down the street.
“I can harvest food every single day, and that’s how fresh it’s going to be,” Sue said. “There’s no transportation of the food. You can come in here and buy produce that was harvested ten minutes ago, at the most 24 hours ago, and it’s really good. It’s so fresh. Food, the fresher it is, the more nutrients it has in it. It’s not possible yet for everybody to eat locally, but the advantages are that you really cut down on the transportation of the goods, your carbon footprint. There’s always the possibility and probability that we’re going to have transportation interruptions in the future. It could happen any time, so the more we depend on things locally, the better.”
Sue helps set the price of the produce she sells to in.gredients, which has allowed in.gredients to have its own in.house supplier of affordable, chemical-free, hyper-local produce. Produce loses its nutrient content over time after being harvested, so freshly-harvested, local produce has a much higher nutrient density than produce that was picked in other states, or in other countries, weeks in advance and then shipped in, as is the case with most grocery store produce. Sue believes fresh food also just tastes better.
“If you compare my broccoli that I grow in my backyard to the broccoli you buy at most grocery stores, it’s so much greener,” Sue said. “It has long narrow stems like broccolini, and it’s so green and tender; you hardly have to cook it. And the spinach is just incredible. It’s the most delicious spinach you’ll ever eat. It’s just so fresh, and it makes a big difference. Also I know how organic it is. I can’t label my stuff as organic — it would cost way too much to get organic certification — but I know that I am way beyond organic certification.”
Sue starts most of the food she plants in the in.gredients garden from seed at her house. When planting, Sue utilizes companion planting strategies to create natural pest deterrents, and she always keeps the health of pollinators in mind.
“I rarely buy seedlings; I can’t afford that. Sometimes I’ve had some seedlings donated,” she said. “You have to plant some veggies directly from seeds. The carrots that are growing there now are from the seeds that were on the carrot flowers on the carrots growing last year. I let them go to seed because they’re really pretty flowers, and bees like them. They make giant flowers, and the seeds just fall all over the place, and they just grew.”
Volunteers have had a huge impact on the in.gredients garden since its start, helping with everything from initially building the garden boxes and beds to repairs to the never-ending contest with the weeds. When the “wicking bladder,” a structure buried deep within the garden boxes designed to retain water, collapsed, a group of volunteers helped Sue re-design and rebuild a sturdier structure.
“We decided how we were going to rebuild the box and decided we wanted rocks in the bottom. We went to my house and got old pieces of concrete I saved when my neighbor’s concrete driveway was replaced and dragged those over here, filled up the bottom, and rebuilt the box,” Sue said. “The really cool thing was that in that group of people we had one person in their twenties, one person in their thirties, one person in their forties, one person in their fifties, one person in their sixties and one person in their seventies. There was one person from every decade.”
Beyond helping supply in.gredients with affordable, delicious, local produce, Sue believes that there is a lot that volunteers can gain while working in our garden.
“I think it’s just plain interesting, and it’s fun. You can enjoy your food more when you see it growing,” she said. “Just seeing it growing, you appreciate the earth, and you may come to learn how important it is to take care of the earth. It’s hard work, which is good. Hard work is good. I mean people go to the gym for hard work, why don’t they just start a garden instead? It makes you appreciate how much creative work and gentle care go into growing vibrantly good food, and then you’re willing to pay the price that it really costs to produce good food.”
SXSW Eco Panel Picker for this Fall’s conference is live, and we’re in the running! We’ve invited two European package-free grocers – Unpackaged and GRANEL from the UK and Spain, respectively – to join us for a discussion about the future of the growing trend. This is an important conversation to have as more and more “package free” and zero waste grocers are opening up across the globe. Now we need your help! Please VOTE FOR US. Registering is quick and free. Learn more about our proposed international panel and help us win here.