Eating Insects for a More Sustainable World | Livestock

When people think of insects, they think of pests and carriers of diseases that exist to only to be bothersome and must be eradicated on sight. But what if insects can be a beneficial factor in our everyday lives and the environment? What if insects are grown specifically an a reliable food source? You must think that’s crazy and creepy, but humans have been eating insects for thousands of years and still are enjoying them around the world.There are currently over 1,100 species of edible insects that are known, with 80% of the world’s nations eating insects. Evidences even suggest that entomophagy, or the human consummation of insects, was an important part of the diets of humans before the use of tools for hunting and farming. Insects were readily available, numerous, and – most importantly – stationary, like bee hives and ant colonies.The biggest benefit of eating insects is the reduced environmental impact of cultivation them compared to chicken and cattle. The cultivation of edible insects require significantly less resources – land, feed, and water – to produce comparable biomass of animal livestock. For example, the water required to raise 150g of grasshopper biomass is insignificant compared to 3,290 liters of water to raise the same biomass of cattle.In addition, insects generally have very efficient food conversion rates compared to common animal livestocks. When reared and fed with equal quality of food used for traditional livestock, crickets showed to have a conversion rate twice that of chicken and pigs, four times that of sheep, and six times that of cattle, even when losses due to trimmings are accounted for. On top of all that, insects reproduce and mature at much faster rate than animals. Many female insects can lay thousands of eggs in a 3-4 weeks time with many insect species maturing in weeks.According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, animal agriculture “emerges as one of the top two or three contributors” to environmental issues. Animal livestocks have significant impact on climate change, air and water pollution, land degradation, loss of freshwater, deforestation, and reduction of biodiversity due to land clearing. Animal livestocks and supporting feed crop agriculture use up more land than any other human activity or enterprise. In short, our current animal agricultural system is not sustainable as global demands continue to grow exponentially and environmental pressures are at a critical level.The biggest hurdle for many people in Western nations is overcoming their fear of the insects. Stray from the norm and be a bit adventurous, who knows, you might actually like them. They might be the food of the future. On a side note, I would start with grasshoppers as they are quite crispy, like eating chips.

Know Your Vegetable! Home Garden Success Depends on Well Thought Out Home Garden Plans | gardening

Home garden plans are essential to having a successful vegetable home garden. Planning means being able to answer the following questions:1. Where am I going to plant my garden? Will you be gardening in your yard, vegetable container gardening or hydroponic gardening, to name a few?2. What are the best vegetables to grow in my garden given my climate, size of garden, type of soil, and what I like to eat?3. Where do plants best thrive in a garden?… shade or sun, close together or far apart?4. Is there a best type of seed? How long does that seed take to germinate? Growing season length?5. How do I care for my home vegetable garden? How much fertilizer and water does it need? How do I keep bugs and rodents out of my garden?6. Do different plants require different care? How do I dress the vegetables once I have harvested them? How long are they good for after harvest?If you are a beginning gardener, having well thought out home garden plans will make or break your results. Nothing is more frustrating than putting hours of time and many dollars of resources into your garden only to see that it has failed. You must, at least to some degree, answer the noted questions. You will make mistakes and some plants will not turn out as expected.To minimize that, however, there are many resources out there to gather information on home garden plans for your home vegetable garden. Of course there is the internet, however, I would also strongly recommend a good garden reference manual or your local greenhouse owner. Everyone I have ever worked with has always graciously assisted me with my garden project. They do this so that they can win you over as a long-term customer. It sure has worked with me as I have a couple greenhouses in my area that I frequent often.So again, to ensure you have an optimal vegetable, home garden plans that are well thought out and executed is a must! I hope this gives you a good jumping off point with your new garden. Good luck with your home garden plans and may your vegetable home garden be bountiful!

Education Grants for Single Mothers to Return to School | Education

Juggling with education and a baby to take care can be very stressful for single mothers, especially the low-income earners. Seeking to return to school can be a pricey affair along with managing child care, tuition and living expenses. So, most moms drop the idea of pursuing education. The government recognizes your tough situation and has thus, initiated many education grants for single mothers to return to school to help attain higher degrees for a thriving job that liberates you from the clutches of huge debts and shallow living standards.Grab this free money or the education grants for the transition phase that awards you independence for a secured and self-supportive livelihood.Federal Educational Grants for Single MothersFederal Pell Grant: The U.S. government has provision for low-income single mothers desiring to go back to school. The education grant is offered through the Federal Pell Grant, America’s major student aid program that awards a maximum amount of $5,730 to financially deprived students to continue their education. The eligibility of the applicant however, depends on the income level of the individual, the cost of attendance at school, and the amount of time spent in attending school.In 2014 the U.S Dept of Education through the Federal Pell Grant gave away $30.0 to almost 9 million students. One more good news! President Obama has increased the amount of this grant from $4050 to $5100. So, just select your desired school, college or university, fill the deferral Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and submit it within the deadline which is June 30 for every year.’Moms Return to School’ Government Grant Scholarship Program (MRSGGS): an extension of the Pell grant, this grant program offers excellent educational opportunity for home based moms wanting to study online.Tax Benefits: single mothers attending school or college can now avail tax benefits through the American Opportunity Tax Credit program that gives off the first education amount $4000 totally free.State Based Grants for School Going Single MothersMany state agencies offer educational grants to single mothers to pursue their dream for higher degrees and learning. Few state-specific grants for you are:Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG): just like the Pell Grants, the FSEOG also offers need-based grants to students with low income, boosting them for higher education. Financially constrained people, especially single parents are more likely to receive the grants.California Grant Program: single mothers can avail as much as $12,000 every year through the CalGrant program. Your financial requirements and grade point average are evaluated before granting the funds.Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund: this program provides scholarship funds to single parents residing in Arkansas. Initiated in 1990, the program was created in response to acute poverty of Arkansas single parents. Though not a grant, single mothers can avail its benefits to attain higher degrees through post-secondary education.Private Grants for Single Mothers to Go Back to SchoolAlongside the federal and state grants, many private organizations too offer grants to economically weak single mothers for educational purpose. Recognizing the challenging situation, these associations boost moms to pursue their education for a flourishing occupation. Some private agencies to name are:• Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation for Low-Income Women and Children• Talbot Scholarship Foundation• The Jeanette Rankin Foundation Scholarship ProgramWith a plethora of grants and funding programs at your disposal, you can now accomplish your dreams of higher education and degrees for a prosperous job. Seek monetary help from your government, state, city or even women oriented associations, organizations, nonprofit agencies or private corporations and get going to school again. Attain your financial security for an improved living through your preferred education grants for single mothers.