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Jul 18, 2019

Farms for Orphans Inc. July 2019

FFO and partners
FFO and partners

July 2019

Dear Donors,

Thank you for your continued support for Farms for Orphans!  We couldn’t accomplish our work without you.

This past May I was in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, where our current activities take place, and have many updates to share with you.

As you know, FFO has partnered with the Congolese Ministry of Health.  Our primary farm, offices and laboratory are located at the Health Ministry’s National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) complex in the district of Gombe in Kinshasa.  Our farm is thriving and we are excited to begin offering trainings to the Congolese public.  These trainings, as well as sales of our farmed larvae, will help to fund our youth programs.  

We’re growing, again!

Farms for Orphans has partnered with the University of Kinshasa and the Congolese nonprofit Centre D’etude et D’appui Technique aux Initiatives Locales de Developpement (CEATILD).  The University of Kinshasa has generously donated land where we are building facilities for an agricultural research and training center.  Here, cricket and silkworm farming, beekeeping, aquaculture and poultry production are already underway.  We are planning the addition of a palm weevil farm as well as mushroom cultivation.  Our programs in small scale agriculture can provide vulnerable people, with little capital or land, with the tools they need to grow their own food in an environmentally sustainable manner.  Training and support for these programs will be available to our beneficiaries, other nonprofits and the Congolese public in the coming months.

Congratulations FFO advisory board member Dr. Dieudonné Musibono!

Our own Dr. Musibono was recently appointed Special Adviser for Environment and Sustainable Development to Congo’s Head of State, President Tshisekedi!  Dr. Musibono has been very supportive of our work in the Congo over the years.  He was instrumental in the development of our current farming activities at the Congolese Health Ministry’s INRB.  Congrats Dr. Musibono!

Introducing (Future) #YouthFarmer, Destiny!

Destiny is the younger sibling of one of our youth farmers.  Although she did not receive FFO’s formal farm training alongside her sibling, she has come to support the farming process by helping her older sister to care for the orphanage farm.  

Destiny is 10 years old and in the 3rdgrade. Her favorite subject in school is math. Destiny wants to become a doctor when she grows up.  She told us that she wants to learn how to farm palm weevil as well as how to cook so she has something good to eat.  When she isn’t in school or helping at the FFO farm she enjoys singing and playing games.  

Thank you for your help on the farm, Destiny! And thank you, donors: your continued support means that Destiny is gaining skills that will enable her to grow into a healthy, self-reliant adult.

The Bug Banquet

And finally, a big THANK YOU to The Welsh Rabbit Bistro and Cheese Shop, Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch and everyone who attended the Bug Banquet benefitting FFO on May 5, 2019.  We had agreat time, eating great food in great company! Your support means the world to us!

On behalf of the children, the orphanages, and all of us at Farms for Orphans, thank you again for your interest in our work. You, dear donors, make this happen!

Sincerely,

Dr. Amy Franklin

Founder & CEO

Farms for Orphans, Inc

Silkworm farming
Silkworm farming
Cricket nymphs
Cricket nymphs
Dr. Musibono in Kinshasa
Dr. Musibono in Kinshasa
Chef Nate from The Welsh Rabbit Bistro
Chef Nate from The Welsh Rabbit Bistro
Destiny and FFO Youth Farmers
Destiny and FFO Youth Farmers

Links:

Mar 8, 2019

Farms for Orphans, Inc. March 2019

Youth farmer, Dorcas
Youth farmer, Dorcas

Dear Donors,

Thank you for supporting Farms for Orphans!  We couldn't accomplish this work without you.

I was in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, where our current activities are taking place, and have exciting updates to share with you.

As you know, we held our first youth farmer training in September 2018. We provided five orphanage youth with palm weevil farm training and farming materials. This past February, I visited with our youth farmers and am happy to report their palm weevil farm is rapidly growing. In fact, they have begun harvesting larvae! This farm is located on a large orphanage housing over 800 children. It will take some time before the farm is producing enough to fully meet all of the children’s protein needs, however the farm is already producing enough to supplement the diet of the special needs children residing at the orphanage. This is a tremendous first step on the road to food security for these very deserving kids.

We are proud to introduce you to FFO youth farmer, Dorcas!

Dorcas was interested in learning to farm palm weevil because, “I can support myself farming mpose and have something to eat!”

In her free time, Dorcas enjoys listening to gospel music. She loves rice and beans. One day, Dorcas would like to marry and have her own business. Dorcas is a smart, responsible and motivated young woman. We are so proud of her and look forward to continuing our work with her.

New year, new location, new partners!

We are very excited to announce Farms for Orphans’ new partnership with the DR Congo’s Ministry of Health. FFO’s primary farm, offices and laboratory are now located at the Health Ministry’s National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) complex in the district of Gombe, Kinshasa. The farm is in an easily accessible and secure location, equidistant from our orphanage partners.

We are partnered with the INRB’s Entomology Service which is under the direction of Dr. Francis Watsenga. Dr. Watsenga has led the service since 1993. His work at INRB primarily focuses on the biology of vectors of malaria.  Outside of the INRB, he is a Professor at the High Institute for Rural Development (ISDR) and the High Institute for Medical Techniques (ISTM). Dr Watsenga says, “What FFO is doing for Congolese children has touched me deeply, and I want to be a part of this humanitarian work. I would like to participate in improving the well-being of our orphans and give all of Congo’s children an opportunity to live with their parents.”

We look forward to working with Dr. Watsenga and the INRB to improve palm weevil larvae farming methods and to cultivate new edible insect species and insect products, advancing our mission to address child malnutrition in the DRC and beyond.

Partnership update

We are continuing our palm weevil diet trials, now at the INRB complex, in partnership with Feronia, Inc. and Socfin (two palm oil agribusiness companies working in the DRC). We are always working to improve our palm weevil farming program, streamlining production and improving outputs. We are also looking forward to collaborating with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) on a stingless honeybee program later in 2019. The ICIPE conducts research on insects in ecosystem health and for social benefit across tropical regions of the world. We will continue to update you as these partnerships develop and mature.

Local fare, global reach

The Welsh Rabbit Bistro & Cheese Shop in Fort Collins, Colorado is serving a Farms for Orphans-inspired dish called "FFO Crickets". For every plate sold, $5 will be donated to FFO. This is a permanent addition to their menu! Colorado friends, you must try this!

And, for those in northern Colorado, please join Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch and the Welsh Rabbit Bistro & Cheese Shop on 5 May from 5-8 pm for a delectable prix fixe meal to support Farms for Orphans. All proceeds from the evening will go directly to Farms for Orphans and are tax deductible. The Welsh Rabbit's owner, Chef Nate, has created a scrumptious five course meal that will be paired with wines and spirits:

  • Smoked egg yolk con spicy mealworms 
  • Shredded greens with silk worms 
  • Crickets, chimichurri egg white omelets, polenta cakes with roasted tomatoes 
  • Scorpion with three sauce
  • Insect inspired dessert

Please find the link to purchase tickets below.  We hope to see you there!

On behalf of the children, the orphanages, and all of us at Farms for Orphans, thank you again for your interest in our work. You, dear donors, made this happen!

Sincerely,

Dr. Amy Franklin

Founder & CEO

Farms for Orphans, Inc

FFO headquarters at INRB in the Gombe district
FFO headquarters at INRB in the Gombe district
Dr. Watsenga at the FFO farm
Dr. Watsenga at the FFO farm

Links:

Oct 11, 2018

Farms for Orphans, Inc. October 2018

Youth farmers at the orphanage palm weevil farm
Youth farmers at the orphanage palm weevil farm

Dear Donors,

Thank you for supporting Farms for Orphans!  We couldn't accomplish this work without you.

I recently returned from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, where our current activities are taking place, and I have many updates to share with you.

We recently completed the building of a new palm weevil farm on the land of one of our orphanage partners. A simple structure is a great option for orphanages that have a small outdoor space available. This insect farm, including shelving and complete with a water catchment system, cost about $1500 to build.   

At the new farm we held our first youth farm training.  As you know, one of our overriding goals is to train orphaned and other vulnerable youth how to farm, giving them marketable skills and a means to support themselves in adulthood.  We provided five orphanage youth with palm weevil farm training and farming materials. We are looking forward to providing ongoing support to our youth farmers and working with them to grow their farm.  

We are proud to introduce you to one of our youth farmers, Moussa!

Thirteen years ago, at 6 years of age, Moussa was found extremely malnourished and abandoned at a busy market in Kinshasa. He was brought to the orphanage medical clinic for treatment and has lived at the orphanage since.  Moussa recently finished high school and is interested in pursuing a career in agribusiness.  He dreams of owning his own farm as well as helping others to begin their own farming business.

Moussa was interested in learning how to farm palm weevil because, “I did not know that mpose [palm weevil larvae] could be farmed.  I wanted to learn how to farm them because I enjoy eating mpose and I know I can sell them [for income].” 

In his free time, Moussa enjoys reading business books.  He loves rice and beans.  And one day, he would like to have a family, including several adopted kids.  Moussa is a kind, smart and motivated young man. We have no doubt that he will accomplish everything he sets out to do. We had so much fun getting to know him and our other youth farmers.

New partnerships in production

In addition to developing our youth training activities, we have recently began collaborating with two palm oil agribusinesses operating in the DRC.  We are always working to improve our palm weevil farming program, streamlining production and improving outputs. This month we began a palm weevil diet trial to evaluate different palm weevil diets- sugar cane, palm tissue, palm kernel cake, cornmeal, rice bran, toutou (pulverized palm nuts), etc.  The goal of this work is to identify the best diet to grow the beetles and larvae for improved production.  

Further, we are excited to serve as a test site for a native stingless honeybee project run by the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe).  The rearing of stingless honeybees may be another way for our orphanage partners to gain additional income by providing pollination services as well as through the sale of honey.  We will be starting this project in the coming months and look forward to providing updates on this exciting work. 

We have also recently partnered with the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  The Leeds School offers a course called "Business Solutions for the Developing World – Learning Through Service," which encourages students to experience first-hand the power of businesses, social enterprises and non-profits for making a social impact. A student team is working with FFO to complete business-related projects in service of our mission.

Local fare, global reach

Finally, for those of you that have yet to try insects (they really are delicious) here are two opportunities.  The Welsh Rabbit Bistro & Cheese Shop in Fort Collins, Colorado (216 Pine St.) is serving a Farms for Orphans-inspired dish called "FFO Crickets". The dish includes golden wraps, peach and roasted onion "chow chow", roasted crickets, slaw, rhe sauce and balsamic cream. It’s absolutely fantastic, and For every plate sold, $5 will be donated to FFO.  Colorado friends, you must try this!  

For you east-coasters, Brooklyn Bugs is hosting a “BugsGiving” Banquet Dinner the Thursday before Thanksgiving at the Brooklyn Kitchen (100 Frost Street, Brooklyn, NY). This meal will feature edible insects as the primary protein source and will be prepared by Chefs David George Gordon (aka "The Bug Chef") and Joseph Yoon.  A portion of the proceeds from BugsGiving, in addition to proceeds from a Silent Auction, will come to FFO.

On behalf of the children, the orphanages, and all of us at Farms for Orphans, thank you again for your interest in our work. You, dear donors, made this happen!

Sincerely,

Dr. Amy Franklin

Founder & CEO

Farms for Orphans, Inc

Youth farmer, Moussa
Youth farmer, Moussa
"FFO crickets" @ Welsh Rabbit Bistro & Cheese Shop
"FFO crickets" @ Welsh Rabbit Bistro & Cheese Shop
Training our youth farmers.
Training our youth farmers.
FFO Beneficiaries
FFO Beneficiaries
 
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