Save a forest by fighting protein deficiency

by Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int
Tea party with cricketskiver!
Tea party with cricketskiver!

In our last report we introduced  you to mofo-gassy (Malagasy bread), a delicious flour-pancake. The pancakes are similar to the Danish treat,  aebleskiver made with apples. We now challenge you to try our new mofo – cricketskiver made by CPALI Walla Walla volunteer, Walla Walla volunteers Theo and Eric Gryler, in our home kitchen. Delicious cannot describe the concoctions - cricketskiver with cherry jam, cricketskiver with pear preserve, cricketskiver with honey, and the “traditional cricketskiver”with apple.  Our next mission will be savory cricketskiver with hot sauce!

Great Grandma’s Danish Aebleskiver is made with 2 cups of flour – cricketskiver (or maybe grylskiver in honor of the field cricket, Gryllus, and Eric Gryler) is made with 1.5 cups of flour and 0.5 cup of cricket flour (or ground-up crickets). The flour has a delicious nutty flavor and adds extra protein to a favorite Malagasy breakfast food. I can hardly wait for our next visit to SEPALI Madagascar where we will introduce cricketskiver – served with cinnamon bark tea!

 Our insects for food farming group continues to plan for a Madagascar meeting in April. Our goal is to have identified a suitable species for farming in addition to gathering together all individuals interested in introducing insect farming for nutrition and profit. Our model so far is to organize a central insect factory for processing and farming as well as introduce home farming of insects to interested families living in villages. Since most subsistence farmers are not eager to take on any project other than rice production for food, or projects that don’t yield money, we hope to design a system where farmers will be able to sell their crop to the processing center for grinding, packaging and distributing. Since insects have both high protein and iron content, and both are accessible to the human gut, we hope that we will be able to help improve childhood nutrition.

Be the first on your block to make cricketskiver!  We will let you know how the SEPALI Madagascar team likes criskiver as soon as they return from vacation!

New uses for insect flour
New uses for insect flour
Traditional malagasyskiver
Traditional malagasyskiver
Mofu gasy - a potential use for insect flour?
Mofu gasy - a potential use for insect flour?

We need a new approach! How do we know? While the SEPALI staff enjoys eating insects, the farmers we work with are not eager to integrate insects into their diets – why? We suspect that the newness of it all but a major issue is that the farmers we work with are more interested in earning money than improving the nutritional value of their food. As long as there is enough rice, they feel satisfied. Rice, of course, cannot provide all the nutrients that are needed by the human body – especially protein and iron. We had hoped that the money earned from silk farming would provide sufficient stimulus for farming insects, but we discovered that developing local markets for insect foods was going to be difficult with our current capacity.

 What to do? One of us (C.L. Craig) attended the International Congress of Entomology in Florida not only to report on the CPALI/SEPALI project, but also to learn about the efforts of others to introduce insects for food. In particular, we were searching for individuals who might help us. At the meeting, we meet two, Jarrod Goldin and Brian Fisher.

 Jarrod Goldin is one of the founders of Entomo Farms, a Canadian company that has established a successful insect farming operation and currently ships a variety of insect products including BBQ and honey mustard crickets, and Fire and Brimstone mealworms! They also produce cricket flour and even provide recipes for cricket blueberry crumble and cricket floured, deep-fried pickles. Although I am a vegetarian, I made an exception so I could personally attest to the deliciousness of Entomo Farm’s products – indeed they are tasty.

 Brian Fisher is founder of the California Academy of Sciences Biodiversity Center on the island. He has worked in Madagascar for over 18 years exploring the diverse habitats of insects and become committed to farming them to mitigating severe hunger. Brian is organizing two meetings in 2017, one to discuss where insect conservation measures are most needed and one to discuss where an insect farming operation is most needed.

 The role of CPALI/SEPALI has been to bring potential partners to the table and look for new team members including investors. We greatly appreciate our Global Giving donors that have allowed us to try to implement this project.  We haven't hit the right combination of approaches but we are determined to make commercial farming of endemic  insects for food a reality in Madagsacar. 

Thank you for your faith and support.

Bug Bistro for Madagascar?
Bug Bistro for Madagascar?

Links:

Belananna
Belananna

It has been a hard summer for the SEPALI team and farmers. Rafanoely from Ambinentelo, one of our lead farmers, has been unable to walk due to a foot infection; Fenozara Justin is unable to travel to Bealananana to collect cocoons due to poor health. On top of all of that the weather has been bad – the winds were strong enough to capsize a boat in Antongil Bay that was filled with local people. All of this is a reminder of how difficult it can be for farmers and artisans to travel to Maroantsetra for team meetings and workshops.

Fortunately, help has arrived just in time. The team received a grant from the US Embassy to purchase electric sewing machines that they will convert into manual sewing machines. As a result, artisans will be able to use the machines in their villages where there is no electricity. We hope that having production local will encourage farmers to increase silkworm farming as we continue to look for new ways to introduce insects for food in the Maroantsetra area.

Of course it is much easier to expand interest in producing insects for food in areas where people have already discovered the deliciousness of silkworm pupae. Fortunately, Bealananana is one of those areas. The goal of the Bealananana program is to make sure that Ceranchia apollina silkworms are being collected sustainably. Ceranchia silk worms are the focus of SEPALI’s textile production program.

SEPALI would like to introduce farming the pupae but there is a catch - village elders will not allow the silkworm’s host plant to be planted because it is considered an agricultural pest. When the natural vegetation is destroyed for farming, the moths’ host plant is a “first responder” – it rapidly colonizes areas where trees have been cut.

In fact, the host plant also grows well in degraded sites some 5-10 years after deforestation.  The Talandoa tree, the host plant of the silkworm Antherina suraka raised in Maroantsetra, exhibited the same behavior. In fact, some Maroantsetra farmers used existing Talandoa trees to raise A. suraka larvae instead of planting them.  Perhaps with a little work, farmers in Bealananana could be convinced to raise C. appolina silkworms on existing host plants to increase silkworm pupae and cocoon yields. It almost looks like we have developed a replicable model!  We smell a new opportunity! Stay tuned!

Ceranchia host plant growing wild
Ceranchia host plant growing wild
Extended family
Extended family

Links:

Belanana farmers
Belanana farmers

We have worked hard to identify new types of edible insects, study their life cycles, analyze protein content, serve insect brochettes and delicious rice and pupae casserole.  Nevertheless, it is still find it difficult to convince farmers to incorporate insects into their diets. That is, however, with the exception of the pupae of Ceranchia apollina, the caterpillar that makes the gorgeous platinum cocoons that are the main focus of SEPALI's textile program. Ceranchia apollina pupae are not eaten by farmers in our immediate Makira area but on the northwestern side of Makira, where the pupae are considered a tasty snack. Therefore, while eastern farmer populations remain recalcitrant, western populations have already developed a pupae-eating culture.

In the western site, communities collected cocoons and pupae long before SEPALI arrived on the scene. Because the pupae are only tasty within the first day of completing their cocoon, many of those harvested were discarded and in all cases the cocoons were left scattered by the edge of the road. Discovering this species and their silk has been a bonanza for the silk program becuase a known but previously discarded resource has become valuable. SEPALI Madagascar's new job is to focus on instructing people in communities where C. apollina is abundant how to harvest the pupae and cocoons sustainably. Hence, our new approach is to try to improve on sustainable use of an already used resource. 

In the future, SEPALI will be directing its efforts to expanding production of C.apollina for food and fiber.  Farmers from the eastern region where SEPALI as been working have been volunteering to travel to the western region where Ceranchia apollina are found to teach new communities.

"You can't always get what you want . . . But if you try sometimes you find . . You get what you need"

Removing pupae from cocoons
Removing pupae from cocoons
Protecting pupae until adult emergence
Protecting pupae until adult emergence
Three cocoons suspended from vine, the hostplant
Three cocoons suspended from vine, the hostplant

Links:

Design Team!
Design Team!

CPALI supporters,

The workshop last week was a tremendous success! As you may know, CPALI director Catherine Craig and design consultant Docey Lewis traveled to Madagascar last week to run an intensive design workshop with our team in Maroantsetra. The workshop ran for 10 days and covered a myriad of new techniques, cost of production analyses, designing new products and mastering new silk processing techniques.

The workshop was designed to include many different groups of farmers working with our project. Silk production farmers from both Ceranchia and Antherina communities contributed cocoons and got to see the design team in action. SEPALI artisans worked closely with Docey Lewis and learned gorgeous new dyeing techniques and product design. Insect-rearing farmers showcased their dragonfly rearing program with a surprise insect lunch for the whole team!

All and all, the team was able to dye more than 30 meters of fabric, master 6 new shades of dye, learn new techniques like shibori, fades and color mixing, and make gorgeous new products from combinations of dyed silk and embroidery. You’ll have to wait to see our secret new product line at the NY NOW gift show in August!

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support! This workshop means so much to us and to our team and will hopefully change our market options for the better. While Cay and Docey stop off in Paris on their way home to investigate market leads there, our team in Madagascar has already jumped right into the next mission. This week they will travel with international artist Kevin Ohanlon to assist with 4 environmental art workshops for kids in the rural communities surrounding Maroantsetra. We can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Dragonfly lunch snacks
Dragonfly lunch snacks
Dyeing workshop with Docey
Dyeing workshop with Docey
Fixing the colors
Fixing the colors
Shibori Reds
Shibori Reds
Wild Blues
Wild Blues
SEPALI farmer with his cocoons
SEPALI farmer with his cocoons
 

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Organization Information

Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

Location: Walla Walla, WA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.cpali.org
Project Leader:
Kerry O'Neill
Assistant director
Lincoln, Massachusetts United States
$21,602 raised of $25,000 goal
 
213 donations
$3,398 to go
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