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Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil.To feed the world, to clean the air and water, we need to change what we do with our soils.This podcast looks at the many variants of regenerative food growing. How? Why? When?We must be the ChangeUnderground!


63 #worldorganicnews 2017 05 08


Cricket Is Just a Better Chicken

Joel Salatin: Polyface Farm

Small Scale Farming the Only Way Forward

UN Reports:

Wake Up Before it’s Too Late

UN report from 2010


This is the World Organic News for the week ending 8th of May 2017.

Jon Moore reporting!

From the blog ilkkataponen comes an infographic post: Cricket Is Just a Better Chicken.

The premise of this infographic is industrial. The argument goes like this: insects use less water, pollute less and are a better form of protein for us than beef, pork, chevon, lamb or poultry. In a factory setting, cattle, pigs, goats, sheep and poultry suffer unspeakably in factory farming situations. Part of the argument in favour of moving to crickets or locusts or whatever insect you might choose is that they will suffer less because their living requirements are far less demanding than the “higher”, in inverted commas, animals. This is a questionable starting point. These animals do have nervous systems and, therefore, can feel suffering.

So let’s take a deeper look at this idea. Apart from the ick factor which is purely a consequence of most of us never having lived through a famine, the idea is has some merit.

The idea isn’t that we sit down, necessarily, to a plate of barbecued crickets on sticks, although that is one option. My understanding is insects will be bred, grown out on some sort of “waste” product, killed, dried and milled. That’s milled as in wheat through a grain mill. The end product is a protein based powder, perfect for adding to manufactured foodstuffs.

Hopefully you can see where this going. Feedlots or CAFOs as they are euphemistically called are not all that efficient. CAFO, of course, standing for confined animal feeding operations. So the “inefficient” in inverted commas, cattle are to be replaced with the far more industrially suited crickets. The cricket powder can then be combined with all sorts of things to create burgers, sausages, protein drinks and on and on.

Under the banner of cruelty free efficiency, cows are out and crickets, locusts, maybe some sort of beetle will be the food source of the ever growing urban agglomerations. Indeed if we take this to it’s logical conclusion, the pupae state of the insect’s life cycle may hold sufficient protein to save even more time and resources. Imagine, powdered maggots! Now this will need the marketing types to put it through their magical processes but maggots raised on dog droppings. The efficiencies are truly mind blowing.

I am reminded of a quote from Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms that goes something like this:

We humans are really good at hitting any target we aim at. It’s just that we don’t seem to ask if the target was worth hitting.

I hear you ask, could there, perhaps, be another way of feeding the world that doesn’t involve the incarceration of chickens, pigs and cattle or the mass raising and processing of insects?

I’m glad you asked.

The blog: TAUNTON FARMERS MARKET brings us an interesting post entitled: Small Scale Farming the Only Way Forward

Longish Quote:

The UN has commissioned several reports in recent years regarding climate change and the effect agriculture has on it and, as a consequence, world hunger. The reports make interesting reading, especially in regard to how changes in farming practices could have a profound impact on slowing global warming and alleviating poverty and hunger throughout the world.  ‘Wake Up Before it’s Too Late‘, an extensive report drawing from over 60 experts worldwide, and an earlier document, UN report from 2010, both show that the only realistic way to feed the world in the future is to use organic and sustainable methods.

End Quote

These reports seemed to have been euthanized by ignoring them. Promoting local sustainable production of healthy, poison free food is going to ruffle some feathers. Pretty big feathers that are receiving government subsidies, good profit margins and healthy future growth projections. Yet we must, I believe, look more deeply into the material raised by the UN.

A short sidetrack.

Unlike quite a few people I’ve discovered online, I do not believe the UN is a stalking horse to place us all under their direct control. Further I don’t believe that such a conspiracy could be possible. I’ve worked at large organisations and spent time in the military. From these examples I have formed the conclusion we are just too erratic as a species for any global level conspiracy to work. Of the two causes of history, conspiracy or cock up,I’m firmly in the cock up school.

End podcast sidetrack.

The post points out that although the UN calls for a reduction in ruminant numbers to meet greenhouse gas emission targets this is not pertinent to smallholders:


This is mainly an issue for industrialised livestock systems and not for smallholders. Due to carbon sequestration in pastures, pastoral livestock systems can even be carbon-neutral if herd sizes are adequately low.

End Quote.

Indeed, as I discussed last week, when talking about soil carbon, having stock on pasture, distributing their manures themselves is a great way to build soil carbon. Having the farms closely co-located with the people being fed has other advantages too:


20-40% of food is lost globally, mainly as a result of wastage in industrialised countries. Avoiding losses and wastage would reduce the output needed and the corresponding GHG emissions.

End Quote

We’ve discussed this before too. It’s not just the waste, which is a concern itself but the food kilometres or miles. Transport of inputs to feedlots, transport of outputs and weather the manures are processed at all, all add to the carbon footprint of industrial meat. You can see why the cricket idea could appeal but I’d prefer to see smallholders encouraged and supported by the political system. I’m not holding my breath for that to happen. The advantages of smallholdings make them viable, if debt free, without government initiatives. They can, therefore, become a sort of economic insurgency movement until enough are up and running.

Imagine a world where food traveled from as far afield as your nearest golf course. Imagine that golf course redistributed as a series of smallholdings, interconnected, supporting each other and feeding their local communities. Think on this the next time your pass any golf course and imagine what could be.

And that brings us to the end of this week’s podcast.

If you’ve liked what you heard, please tell everyone you know any way you can! I’d also really appreciate a review on iTunes. This may or may not help others to find us but it gives this podcaster an enormous thrill! Thanks in advance!

Any suggestions, feedback or criticisms of the podcast or blog are most welcome. email me at

Thank you for listening and I'll be back in a week.



Cricket Is Just a Better Chicken

Joel Salatin: Polyface Farm

Small Scale Farming the Only Way Forward

UN Reports:

Wake Up Before it’s Too Late

UN report from 2010

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