Nov 13, 2019

Farms for Orphans, Inc. November 2019

Fabrice, FFO insect farmer, delivering larvae
Fabrice, FFO insect farmer, delivering larvae

November 2019

Dear Donors,

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

This past October 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, our experimental farm and headquarters are located at the Congolese Health Ministry’s National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) complex in the district of Gombe in Kinshasa. Here, we are experimenting with various feeds and rearing container designs, and we continue to partner with several palm oil companies and researchers from INRB with the aim of increasing efficiency and farm yields.

Thanks to you, we have come so far since first starting this project! The FFO experimental farm is thriving, so much so that we are now able to provide supplemental larvae to our partners that have not yet gotten their own farms fully up and running. One of our orphanage partners, for instance, suffered the loss of one of their staff earlier this year; because this person was also their primary insect farmer, their farming operations were temporarily suspended. Farms for Orphans is excited that we can continue to supply the youth of this orphanage with palm weevil larvae, ensuring them a healthy and sustainable source of protein and micronutrients.  

It was such a joy to go with FFO’s insect farmer, Fabrice, to deliver the larvae. The orphanage staff and children were happy to receive them as well as formula FFO purchased for the little ones.  

Ambassador Hammer and the US Embassy in Kinshasa

At the beginning of 2019 I had the pleasure of meeting the US Ambassador to the DR Congo, Mike Hammer. Ambassador Hammer was intrigued by our work and has proposed ways in which the US Embassy can support FFO’s ability to reach greater numbers of youth within the country. I spent some time working to advance these efforts during my recent stay in Kinshasa. The collaborations are still in development, but we hope to have more concrete information to provide in the coming months. Stay tuned for news! 

Updates from the University of Kinshasa

FFO is installing a converted shipping container at the University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN). As I mentioned in my last update, UNIKIN has donated land where, in partnership with the Congolese nonprofit Centre D’etude et D’appui Technique aux Initiatives Locales de Developpement (CEATILD), we are developing facilities for an agricultural research and training center to provide Congolese youth with a greater range of sustainable agricultural offerings. Here, cricket and silkworm farming, beekeeping, aquaculture and poultry production are already underway. The shipping container will provide space for palm weevil farming.  

While in Kinshasa, I met with Dr. Patrick Mafwila, who is overseeing our joint program at UNIKIN. Dr. Mafwila’s expertise is in developing aquaculture systems. He was excited to show me the catfish and tilapia rearing tanks.  

#DYK? 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states, “The fisheries and aquaculture sector plays and can continue to play a prominent role in world food security. Fish is a vital source of food including protein and micronutrients, particularly for many low-income populations, and the sector also contributes to economic growth and development by being a source of employment, livelihoods and income to people engaged in aquaculture.”

Thanks to Dr. Mafwila’s efforts, we will be able to offer our orphanage partners and youth we serve training in aquaculture as well as catfish and tilapia fingerlings to begin rearing their own fish.  

Consider giving the gift of grubs this holiday season! 

As the end of the year approaches, consider making a donation to Farms for Orphans on behalf of the loved ones on your list who have everything they need… who have a taste for the unusual… or who love kids, the planet, or sustainable agriculture! Farms for Orphans donations are fully tax-deductible, and your gift will go on giving to many deserving kids through 2020 and beyond. Donations to FFO may be made through Global Giving (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/feed-empower-drcongos-orphans-through-insect-farming/).

With gratitude,

Dr. Amy Franklin

Founder and CEO

Farms for Orphans, Inc. 

Future FFO #YouthFarmer
Future FFO #YouthFarmer
Palm weevil larvae are a popular delicacy in DRC
Palm weevil larvae are a popular delicacy in DRC
FFO beneficiaries
FFO beneficiaries
Catfish rearing tanks
Catfish rearing tanks
FFO beneficiary
FFO beneficiary
Drs Mafwila & Franklin, #ZeroHunger warriors
Drs Mafwila & Franklin, #ZeroHunger warriors

Links:

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:

 
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