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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
Jun 21, 2018

Farms for Orphans, Inc. June 2018

Children eating palm weevil larvae
Children eating palm weevil larvae

Dear Donors,

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

This past February I traveled to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, where our current activities are taking place.  I visited with all of the orphanage farms and distributed our insect farming biosecurity protocol. The protocol provides our farmers with information on how to keep their insect farm healthy and free of disease.  In addition, the protocol provides farmers with training on proper personal hygiene.  Our aim is to have healthy farmers and healthy, productive insect farms!

During this trip, I had the opportunity to enjoy a palm weevil dinner with one of our orphanage partners. It was exciting and heartwarming to see the children’s happy faces as they enjoyed a nutritious, protein-packed meal of palm weevil larvae (PWL)

And speaking of nutrients, our partners at the University of Kinshasa recently completed a nutritional analysis of the PWL grown at our training farmDid you know that a 100 g serving of these PWL (approximately 12 larvae) can meet, and in some cases exceed, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for children for certain nutrients? See attached Tables 1 and 2.

Further, a market analysis revealed that our farmers can sell their palm weevil larvae at market for prices above that of other proteins:

 

Table 3: Market value of available proteins in Kinshasa

Protein                                Market Value(USD/lb)

Palm weevil larvae               $18.18

Beef (filet)                            $5.90

Goat                                     $4.55

Pork                                     $3.63

Chicken                               $1.68

 

You can see that PWLare relatively very expensiveBefore Farms for Orphans’ program, they were just another protein source that was out of reach for our orphanage partners.

For many orphanages in Kinshasa, space is extremely limited. There is no option to grow a garden or engage in small-scale animal husbandry.  Insect farming is their only option for producing foodor generating incomethrough agriculture.    

This past MayI had the privilege of presenting our insect farming work, including some of the nutrition and economic information,at the Insects to Feed the World international conference in Wuhan, China.  We at Farms for Orphans recognize the potential applications of insects to address many world issues,including utilizing insects to up-cycle food waste into protein production while protecting the environment!  We are excited about the future of insect agriculture and hope that our work has sparked your own interest in the promising field of entomophagy.

I am currently preparing to depart for Kinshasa on June 23.  I have a packed itinerarybut I am most excited to visit with the orphanage farms and children. 

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

Farms for Orphans, Inc. Founder and CEO

 

P.SThere are many ways in which you can give to Farms for Orphans. Consider telling your friends and family about our project – share our GlobalGiving link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation

Children eating palm weevil larvae 2
Children eating palm weevil larvae 2
Children eating palm weevil larvae 3
Children eating palm weevil larvae 3

Attachments:
Feb 5, 2018

Upcoming trip to Kinshasa, DR Congo!

Dear Donors,

Thank you for your continued support of Farms for Orphans! We couldn't accomplish this work without you.

A quick update for you as I am currently preparing to depart for Kinshasa, DR Congo!

First on the itinerary is to visit the orphanage palm weevil farms.  I am so excited to see the progress they have made and am looking forward to sharing pictures with you! We will be distributing educational materials to the orphanages on basic hygiene practices as well as an insect farm bio-safety manual to help them keep their “micro-livestock” healthy and free of disease.

In the previous update, I mentioned an upcoming nutritional study we will begin this year to evaluate the health benefits the addition of the larvae in the children’s diet may afford.  We will be meeting with health professionals in Kinshasa in preparation for the study.  In the coming weeks, they will begin to gather baseline health data on the children.

We are also exploring a new partnership with Loyola University of Congo.  Loyola is an agriculturally focused institution, housing one of two veterinary school in the DR Congo.  Loyola maintains a working farm and agroforestry research center where they are particularly interested in adapting agricultural systems in the face of climate change.  Insect farming systems is, of course, one their interests!  We are looking forward to sharing our knowledge with them and learning more about their research and programs.

I have a packed schedule and am anticipating a productive trip.  I look forward to providing updates and pictures upon my return.

Thank you again for all you have done to help this cause.

Sincerely,

Amy Franklin

Founder and CEO, Farms for Orphans, Inc.

 

PS- Consider telling your friends and family about our project – share our GlobalGiving link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation! 

 
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