Posts Tagged ‘local food’
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.
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 email@example.com to sign up.
LOCAL WISDOM FROM COMMUNITY LEADERS IN FARMING, FORAGING, & HOMESTEADING
SUNDAY MAY 31ST FROM 10:00AM – 2:00PM
in.gredients and Go Texan present a day of learning about local food, seasonal eating, and homesteading. Meet experts in the field of agriculture, foraging, and seasonal cooking with hands-on activities and useful tips and tricks to leading a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Enjoy live music, free food, and community interactions while building stronger and more personal relationships with Austin’s finest local foodies.
Join us for special presentations and meet and greets with Cat Spring Tea, Texas Farmers Market, JBG Organics, Logro Farms, and Kate Payne’s Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking.
Schedule of Presentations, click on the links below to find out more information about each presenter.
10:30am – 11:00am: Cat Spring Tea
11:15am – 12:00pm: Kate Payne’s Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking
12:15pm – 1:00pm: Logro Farms
(times subject to change)
The United States is the world’s largest producer of strawberries, accounting for 29% of global production according to AgMRC, and while our state may have some competition, Texas is definitely not lacking in strawberry pride. Spring is the onset of Texas strawberry season and small towns like Poteet have been supporting and creating a strawberry fan club since 1948, the first Poteet Strawberry Festival. Today, many small towns in and around Poteet are responsible for producing some of the most flavorful and sweet strawberries around, selling locally in order to preserve a fresh and flavorful taste.
Since we’re committed to seasonal eating and local sourcing, you’ll pretty much only find strawberries in our produce section when Texas strawberries are available, so you can imagine how exciting this season is for us. We’ve been known to carry Poteet strawberries, but right now we’re very excited to be sourcing some delicious berries from Fruitful Hill Farm in Bastrop, TX. This small family operation prides themselves in harvesting their berries mere days before delivery, and also chooses not to wash their berries, as this decreases their shelf life and deteriorates flavor. Fruitful Hill Farm practices sustainable agriculture, utilizing organically approved pest control methods only when necessary.
Aside from pies, jams, and salads, a common trick to draw out a strawberry’s natural juices is to macerate your strawberries by adding a touch of sugar and setting aside for 10-15 minutes. If your mouth is already watering, try this overnight breakfast mousse listed on Food 52 and provided by Lisa @ Healthy Nibs and Bits.
⅓ cup oatmeal
⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup yogurt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
jar or airtight container
*3 large strawberries, sliced
Except for your strawberries, mix together oatmeal, almond milk, yogurt, cocoa powder, chia seeds, and agave nectar or honey, adding more sweetener to your liking.
Place the mixture into ⅓ of your jar and top with sliced strawberries. Cover this layer with more of your oatmeal mixture and repeat with another layer until the jar is full.
Cover, refrigerate overnight and enjoy the next morning!
*For an additional burst of flavor, you can macerate your strawberries using brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, or balsamic reduction, setting aside before layering into your oatmeal, chocolate mousse.
Thank you to everyone who came out on Sunday for our workday in celebration of our garden’s third anniversary. We repaired a number of our raised beds and planted two varieties of sweet potatoes. Shout out to our friends at Joe’s Organics, Third Coast Coffee, and Yard to Market Coop for providing the compost, coffee grounds and chaff, and soil, respectively. Those sweet potatoes are going to be really happy! Thanks as well to Dripping Springs Ollas for providing an olla for one of our other boxes.
With an abundance of kale in our garden right now, Farmer Sue recommended taking advantage of the final days of harvest with one of her favorite snacks, the kale smoothie. After experimenting with kale from our garden and a few other signature ingredients sold in store, we created the Kale, Avocado, Ginger Smoothie! For those of you who weren’t able to taste it on our porch yesterday, here’s the recipe so you can create the magic in your own kitchen. Cheers!
Kale, Avocado, Ginger Smoothie
splash or two of almond milk
Two spoonfuls of White Mountain Organic Bulgarian Yogurt
Three tablespoons of Eden Organic Applesauce
½ an avocado
1-2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons of honey
1-2 ice cubes
Wash your kale and cut off the stems, leaving only the leafy greens for blending. Place in a blender with the grated ginger, almond milk, yogurt, lemon juice, avocado, honey, and ice cubes and blend on high until the kale is completely blended into the smoothie.
Today we are thankful for cooking. Thanksgiving is a holiday based in homemade dishes, and hours spent in the kitchen with the ones you love. Since the mid-1960s, home cooking has fallen by half. Did you know that the average American spends 27 minutes preparing food, and only four minutes cleaning up? We, as a country, have fallen into the habit of letting the industry take over our meals, which has led to disastrous results. While these statistics are bleak, we are thankful for people like Michael Pollan who uncover, research and share information about the current state of our food system.
Pollan has dedicated the last 25 years of his life to researching and writing about the topic of nature and food. While discussing his most recent book, Cooked, for the The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), Pollan explains how cooking can change your life.
We have discussed the importance of knowing where your food comes from, and the ramifications of industrial food. We know that buying local is important, but what we haven’t touched on is how interacting with your food (cooking your food) is a crucial step in the process. Studies have shown that the rate of obesity decreases when people cook at home. In order to make shelf stable food, the processed food industry relies on three key ingredients: fat, sugar and salt. And while these ingredients can be layered to taste good, there is little to no nutritional value. A diet filled with processed foods means you take “once in a while foods” and turn them into “everyday foods”. It’s no surprise we live in a time where 1 in 3 kids (and 2 in 3 adults) are considered overweight or obese.
The shift to diets rich in processed foods happened when the industry coerced American families into thinking cooking at home was drudgery. During WWII, the food industry worked with the military to develop shelf stable food for the troops. When the war ended, they saw a market with the everyday American family, and had the technology to create a fast, processed and convenience based food culture. A famous KFC billboard in the early 1970s showed a giant bowl of their infamous fried chicken with the words, “Women’s Liberation”. They took homemaking and cooking and put a negative spin on it. And while Pollan has gotten flack for his book being “anti feminist”, his point was simply that the industry saw an opportunity to insert itself into the American family. Too busy working? Cooking wasn’t worth the precious time, and if the industry could cook for you, why bother?
Fast forward to today and you have an epidemic of obesity, heart disease and a general disconnect with where food comes from and how to prepare it. So today (and every day you can) spend time in your kitchen. Go grab real food and start exploring. There is so much joy in making a big meal with and for the people you love.
We want to acknowledge that we live in a society where some families have to work multiple jobs to ensure their family can even eat. This opens a whole other can of worms in regards to what’s broken with our food system, but we think there’s still time to cook. The average American spends over 30 hours watching television. And while there’s nothing wrong with unwinding after work, perhaps it would be worthwhile to take an hour or two away from technology and put it towards making food for yourself and your family.
Take the momentum from cooking Thanksgiving and translate that into your everyday life.
Today we are thankful for Alice Waters and local food. We’re in an exciting time where food is in the spotlight and people are realizing that local tastes better. This shift towards farm to table restaurants, grocery stores (woo hoo!) and food trailers is in part thanks to chef Alice Waters. Back in 1971, Waters decided (with no prior chef experience) to open a restaurant.
In an old house in Berkeley, CA, Waters opened the doors of Chez Panisse, and has been helping shape the local food movement ever since. Her inspiration came from studying abroad in Paris during the 1960s. As she traveled around the country, she realized that the best flavors came from what was made, grown and sourced from France.
Taking this idea of local food tasting better, Chez Panisse menu consists of simple, local food prepared with a lot of love. Since opening, the restaurant has grown and fostered relationships with growers in California. Using weekly trips to the farmers market as inspiration, the menu is shaped by what’s available and what’s in season. And while Waters acknowledges the challenges of eating local (where are the bananas?), she urges people to get creative, “Eating locally is so particular. You have to accept that fact and celebrate what does really grow.”
Waters has taken the idea of a local, sustainable diet and moved it from the restaurant into the classroom. Seventeen years ago, Waters teamed up with Neil Smith, a principal at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School to transform an acre of asphalt into an Edible Schoolyard. They then added in a kitchen element, and by year five, the teachers at this public middle school taught ten 90-minute classes a week in both the garden and the kitchen. Since then, they’ve added chickens to the land, and now grow more than 100 varieties of seasonal vegetables, herbs, vines, berries, flowers and fruit trees. Best of all? They have served over 7,000 students. The work they are doing for the farm to school movement is huge, and if you’re seeking inspiration, go check out the multiple projects they’re working on to bring real, local food to the classroom.
Alice Waters is an inspiration. As a business whose ethos is to bring local, sustainable and seasonal food to our community, it’s not surprising that Waters was one of the main influencers for opening in.gredients. Last year at the Think Beyond Plastic award ceremony, one of our founders, Christian Lane, got the chance to meet Alice Waters. While discussing local food, Waters congratulated us on the work we’re doing, and encouraged the growth and expansion of in.gredients. To say we were flattered is an understatement. It’s not everyday you get kudos from a national local food leader.
When we look into the work of Alice Waters, our hope is restored. She’s living proof that with a lot of work, a lot of love and a strong passion and commitment to what you believe in, you can change the way people view and value their food. This Thanksgiving, raise your glass to individuals around the world who are bringing local back to the table.