UK Spotlight – Woven Network, before and after Brexit (p1)

Our BarnRaiser crowdfunding campaign ends at midnight on July 15, so we’re coming up quickly on the finish line. While we encourage you to checkout the page and help support Little Herds by pledging to get an awesome reward, or sharing with friends and family, there are big things happening in the world and we wanted to share some of the ways our growing movement fits into the broader picture.

The recent vote in Britain to leave the European Union has surprised the world and left many people wondering what the short and long-term implications will be. We were curious about the growing Ento Industry in the United Kingdom and what this change could mean for these startups. Will there be new opportunities? Will there be new hurdles and barriers?

We knew we had to talk to the good folks at Woven Network, which is the UK’s first and only industry organization supporting insects as food and feed. Luckily we recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Matt over at Woven Network about their Inaugural conference in April. This week we’ll be sharing our interview from early May as our snapshot of “Life as a UK Entopreneur,” and next week we’ll be revisiting Woven to see what’s changed since the vote to leave the EU.

We’ll start with a little more about who they are and what they’re doing, from Matt Anderson of Woven Network:

RNA – Thanks for taking some time to join us today, we know y’all just wrapped up an amazing inaugural conference in the UK and we’re excited to hear more. First though, can you tell us a little more about how Woven Network came about?
MA – Woven was the brainchild of Nick Rousseau, our Managing Director. After learning of the potential insects have as a food of the future, he had discussions with some of the stakeholders in the sector and it became apparent that there was a real need for a national organisation that could give a much larger voice to these individuals, be they businesses, researchers or any others involved in the field, connecting them and bridging the gap between these different areas within the industry.
For me, I first learnt of Nick’s intentions when I heard him give a presentation at a workshop on edible insects at the Institute of Development Studies back in March last year, so I got in touch and things went from there. We aim to work with our members to prioritize our services on areas like legislation, policy, supply chains, general advice and networking.
That’s great, we’re working on starting a similar type of organization here with the (working title) North American Edible Insect Coalition. Who are some of your current members?
We have a growing number of Full Members (i.e. those that have contributed to our growth as an organisation), with the likes of emerging UK snack bar producers such as Bodhi and Yumpa, several researchers from UK universities, consultancy firms such as BioBridge, international organisations such as 4ento and EAP Group, and even one of the founders of graze.com. We also have almost a hundred Associate Members registered with us.
Sounds like a great group of founding members, it’ll be exciting to see your membership grow alongside the industry. What are the current and future priorities of Woven?
One of the biggest issues we now have to contend with here in Europe is the Novel Foods legislation. In a nutshell, this states that any food ingredients not significantly consumed in Europe before 1997 are classified as Novel Foods and therefore require authorization for sale pending a successful application. The application involves providing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) with sufficient evidence for the ingredient’s safety, and the list of requirements is extensive. We currently have a grace period until January 2018 to come up with the goods, after which insect-based products will no longer be able to be sold until ingredient-specific applications have been passed. So the most immediate focus for Woven in the next two years is to work with researchers and businesses to ensure all the relevant evidence is collated before the deadline.
Another area to work on ties in with some of the work you do with Little Herds on developing global quality and safety standards. We are in discussion with the British Standards Institute (BSI) to define what these industry-specific standards may look like and we hope to hold a workshop on this in the coming months. We will also be working with organisations like Little Herds to define what these might look like on a global scale across the insects for food and feed sector.
It’s a very interesting problem trying to align the best practices and standards there with those in the US or other countries. Can you tell us a little more about the regulatory landscape in the UK for insects as food right now?
It currently all ties in with this Novel Foods legislation. Insect-based products are currently sold freely in the UK and in much of Europe, but as mentioned, January 2018 is the point at which this could all change if we are not sufficiently prepared. There is a danger that, in this interim period where products are sold and there are no well-defined standards to adhere to (other than the mandatory food safety regulations we have here in the UK), a company might come along and cut corners, putting consumers at risk and potentially damaging the whole industry before it has really come into its own. So now really is the time, not just in the UK and Europe, but across the board, to think about standards and how our insect-based products should be handled all the way from farm to plate.
Leading up to this conference, what was the biggest hurdle to making sure everything went off smoothly?
We had some teething issues, as you can imagine, but everything worked out surprisingly well in the end. We partnered with and were sponsored by the Royal Entomological Society for this conference and were a little challenged by the necessity to synchronize ticket sales, but this ultimately worked out fine. The only real issue we faced was that we had to turn many people away (which is actually both good and bad), but we now have a much better idea of the level of interest in this growing industry.
Tell us about the conference! Any favorite moments or memorable events?
It was fascinating to finally witness the interaction between the business and research elements of the sector, which is what Woven is really all about. We began with some very interesting talks from industry on a range of topics from farming risk management to developing efficient supply chains. This was followed by some fantastic talks from researchers working on consumer acceptance and the neuroscience behind disgust. One of these talks included results from huge consumer surveys on acceptance, conducted by the PROteINSECT project, who will be holding their own (now sold out) conference on April 27th where they will present their full results, some of them quite surprisingly good news for the industry! We finished the speaker sessions with a business showcase, featuring brief presentations from insect-based producers and distributors.
The most interesting part for me was the panel discussion with which we wrapped up the conference. We had two panelists from industry and two from research, but discussions were open to everyone present and most people had valuable input to share. There were some clear tensions when we covered the potential conflict between businesses who have a need for fast progression and researchers who have to be very thorough in their work, but the overall feeling was one of cooperation, understanding, and moving the industry forward.
We will soon release a full run-down of the conference on our blog, so watch this space!
What take-aways do you think the conference attendees had?
I think the discussion we had on the interplay between business and research enabled individuals on both “sides” to take a moment to actually think about the motivations and requirements of the other, something which I would wager none of us would actually normally do from within our respective bubbles, be that from within academia or the start-up environment. This was the first time people from these often contrasting roles came together to discuss interests in the same field, and this really was the purpose of our first conference: to get people thinking, considering how their roles fit into the bigger picture, and how we might all go forward as a sector.
What are you planning to do differently for the next conference?
The first and most obvious thing is that it will be bigger! As nice as it was to have a sold out conference, we obviously don’t want to have to be turning so many people away next time. We collected feedback from attendees and there are several other little things we can improve on for next time (some more crucial than others), but overall the feedback was positive and appreciative.
Have any favorite insect dishes or recipes you’d like to share?
I’m glad you asked, since one of our members (and a panellist at the conference) was Shami from Eat Grub and they have just released “The Ultimate Insect Cookbook“. I’ve got myself a copy so I’ll finish with a few excerpts from some of my favourites:
Snacks: “Sticky Crickets”
“Sticky Crickets have been a real favourite at our pop-up Grub events. It’s a dish that seems to remind people of crispy Peking duck and pancakes: the sauce is rich and aromatic (much like hoi sin sauce) and the crickets have the same sweet and salty crunch of crispy duck. Just add slices of refreshing cucumber: it’s a winning combination.”
Main: “Mealworm & Beef Stew”
“This stew shows off how well mealworms can absorb flavour. As they slow cook, they retain their texture while completely absorbing the flavours of the stew. They’re a nutritious and delicious addition to an English classic.”
Dessert: “Grilled Bananas with Ants, Sesame, Tamarind and Palm Sugar Caramel”
“This is a quick and simple recipe that uses the natural citrussy flavour of ants to great effect. Alongside the tamarind, they strike a balance with the sweet stickiness of the caramel and banana, while the salt brings it all together. For best results grill the banana over a barbecue (although a grill pan will do).”
Cocktail: “Buffalo Worm Bloody Mary”
“Bloody Marys are one of my favourite cocktails to make as they can host all manner of ingredients while retaining their unique flavour. This is an adaptation of my own recipe with the addition of buffalo worms – Bloody Marys should be earthy and complex, so the worms are a perfect addition.”

Using Social Media to amplify the Entomophagy message

With all the exciting activity around #EdibleInsects right now social media can be a great tool to find news and media about insects for food and feed; share your own story with people interested in #entomophagy; and connect with other people in your local and global communities to share and collaborate. Social media can also be daunting! There are so many great platforms to connect with people on that the list is nearly endless, but we wanted to share our tips and tricks for some basic social media tools like Facebook and Twitter for those just starting out.

It’s important to remember that having an active Facebook and Twitter account linked to your website helps people who are interested in your business, organization or project. It’s also a great marketing and PR tool that can provide some pretty big returns for the time you invest in it.

Today we want to highlight hashtags and mentions. Hashtags and mentions can be used on both Twitter or Facebook in essentially the same way.

Hashtags like the ones used above (#edibleinsects and #entomophagy) are useful for finding who else is talking about your interests. You can search for hashtags on social media to connect to new people that share an interest, whatever that may be. Capitalization doesn’t matter, but only letters and numbers can be used, and no spaces. When many people use the same hashtags around the same time, those hashtags can become “trending,” making it more likely that people who’ve never heard of insects for food and feed will see these messages.

Here are some examples of hashtags we like to use for finding new friends talking about our interests:

#EdibleInsects | #entomophagy | #eatbugs | #EntoATX | #EntoCon | #cricketprotein | #slowfood | #sustainable | #nutrition | #education | #nonprofit

And of course we love #LittleHerds 🙂

So make sure you’re using hashtags so we can see what you’re talking about!

A mention, @LittleHerds for instance, will notify somebody that you’re talking about them, like a little shout-out, but it also lets your readers click-through to the homepage of who you mentioned. This is great because there’s no confusion about who you’re talking about or how to learn more about them. One important note; with Twitter if you begin your tweet with a mention, only the person you mention will see the tweet unless they look on your wall. If you’re only talking to the people mentioned this is fine, but if you want your followers to see your tweet start it with something else like a hashtag or just anything but the @ symbol. For example:

@LittleHerds Y’all rock! Everybody should check them out here -> Littleherds.org

That’s a lovely tweet, but it will only show up in our feed and all your followers will miss it 🙁

Try this instead:

Hey @LittleHerds y’all rock! Everybody should check them out here -> Littleherds.org

Now everybody will see it, hurray!

You can also see the analytics of which posts have had the most engagement from your followers, so always think about what works best and what doesn’t.

If you want to try out these tips, give us a shout-out by mentioning @LittleHerds and telling folks about our #crowdfunding campaign at

https://www.barnraiser.us/projects/little-herds-edible-insects-education-for-a-better-tomorrow

Thanks for your help in growing Little Herds!

-RNA

 

Here’s a bonus for Twitter: our basic search query for finding out what’s going on in the world of cricket products and ingredients:

#entomophagy OR #edibleinsects OR #cricketflour OR #cricketpowder OR #cricketprotein OR “edible insects” OR “eat insects” OR “eating insects” OR “eats insects” OR “cricket flour” OR “cricket powder” OR “made with crickets” OR “cricket protein” OR “eating crickets” OR “eats crickets”

Copy and paste this into your Twitter search bar and be amazed and how many people are talking about eating insects. Try your own mix and see who you meet!

Thinkery, December 2013, 1MB, banner

$1500 to hit Stretch Goal #1!

We hit our 1st crowdfunding goal!

Help us keep the momentum going
and support us on BarnRaiser today

Thanks for checking out our LittleHerds.org website! We’re constantly adding new content and resources so check in often to see what’s going on. First time eating insects? Click here or click the link in our menu for first-timers.

As an educational nonprofit, we need your help! We’re currently crowdfunding on BarnRaiser to fund some awesome educational projects teaching people about the benefits of using insects as food and feed. We’re trying to hit $25,000 by July 15th to host the Eating Insects ATX conference next summer. This conference will be the second annual conference dedicated to insects for food and feed in the USA (Read more about the Inaugural event we helped organize this year in Detroit). You can also read more about our crowdfunding campaign below, or go get some awesome rewards for helping us hit our stretch goals!

BarnRaiser BarnBurner!

  • Upward & Onward to the Stretch Goals!

    We’re still reeling from the incredible amount of love we’ve received in the last week, and the huge wave of support that effectively put us at our goal in the first 48 hours! Read more below about how this happened, and the awesome supporters who helped us secure a $4,000 matching donation to tip us past our first target of $8,000. This pledge should be showing up on the campaign page any day now (we’re still waiting on the bank to process the check). We’ll be keeping the momentum going at our 9th Annual Bug (Eating) Festival (#ATXBugFest) happening this Saturday at in.gredients in Austin, Texas.

    We’re just getting started with this BarnRaiser though. With almost six weeks left, there’s plenty of good work to be done! We have two stretch goals with amazing local impact that kick-in when we hit $10,000 and $15,000.

    At $10K, we’ll be able to send 200 Educator Kits to teachers around Austin, to help them share edible insects with their students. Each Educator Kit will be tailored to the students’ grade level, and include resources like pictures; infographics; links to online resources and videos; hand-outs; work sheets and other grade-specific curriculum materials. Of course they’ll also include insect foods for the kids to try their first bite! Once these kits go out, we can track how many students tried the insects and calculate the impacts like water and land saved, and the amount of GHGs reduced by eating insects instead of traditional livestock. We’ll be able to show how a small number of kids eating bugs can have a huge environmental impact!

    At $15K, we’ll be able to start our Austin Black Soldier Fly Larvae Micro-Farm Pilot Project with Ecology Action Texas! Working with community partners and the city of Austin, we’ll be able to begin a proof-of-concept BSFL farm to turn Austin’s food waste into high quality poultry feed for local farmers. Our goal is to have our working educational model up and running this fall, so we can offer educational workshops for students, farmers, community leaders and policy makers, to show them how BSFL can be used as a resource benefiting the health of our local community; helping farmers and our city economically; and keeping nutrients in our local ecosystem, not in the landfill, helping environmentally.

    So how the heck did we hit our initial goal so quickly?

    We launched our BarnRaiser on May 26 at the Eating Insects Detroit Conference. That same day we received a matching pledge from an anonymous donor; they would match everything we raised at the conference (May 26-28) up to $4,000. Needless to say we were absolutely stunned!

    We told our friends, family and the conference attendees (~150 folks from countries around the world, across a variety of disciplines, sharing a passion for insects as a food and feed) and the response was astounding! Within the first 48 hours of launching our campaign, we raised $4,105 from 41 Little Herds’ Rock Stars from all over the world, securing the pledge from our mysterious stranger.

    A HUGE Thank You from Little Herds to all of our early donors who helped us hit this match, and helped us secure our initial goal in the first few days!

    Julie Lesnik
    Wendy Lu McGill
    Katharina Unger
    Riley Lundquist
    Frederick McVittie
    Kiah Brasch
    Harman Johar
    George Colburn
    Jeff Coco
    Ana Day
    Christian Bärtsch
    Andrea Kraus
    Pam Allen
    Aly Moore
    Michael Place
    Alyssa Deronne
    Cheryl Preyer
    Dennis Durban
    Mariangela Veronesi
    Don Peavy
    Cedric Auriol
    Véronique Bricaire
    Ricardo Carvajal
    Nicolas Camo
    Robert Nemlander
    Terence Steinberg
    Sean McDonald
    Meghan Curry
    Geoffrey Tolle
    Madeline Edwards
    Susan Young
    Gina Hunter
    Ami Kane
    Henry Pointon
    Glen Courtright
    Maxime Bourque
    Jonas House
    Santtu Vekkeli
    Jakub Dzamba
    C Frisch

    And a big thanks to our generous anonymous supporter!

    We’ve also been getting some great press for the conference and #ATXBugFest, with the help from our local PR mentor, Lexie of Red Door Communications:

    "Edible bug industry hopes crickets and kin are the next sushi" -Ben Klayman, 5/27/16
    “Edible bug industry hopes crickets and kin are the next sushi”
    -Ben Klayman, 5/27/16
    9th Annual Austin Bug (Eating) Festival
    9th Annual Austin Bug (Eating) Festival
    "Bug food makers join forces to create North American Edible Insects Coalition" -Elaine Watson, 5/26/16
    “Bug food makers join forces to create North American Edible Insects Coalition”
    -Elaine Watson, 5/26/16
    "Edible insect industry primed for growth" -Jenna Blumenfeld, 5/30/16
    “Edible insect industry primed for growth”
    -Jenna Blumenfeld, 5/30/16
    "Austin’s ninth annual BugFest returns Saturday to Ingredients" -Addie Broyles, 5/31/16
    “Austin’s ninth annual BugFest returns Saturday to Ingredients”
    -Addie Broyles, 5/31/16

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    "Austin’s Ninth Annual Bug (Eating) Festival: Two legs good, six legs tasty!" -Wayne Alan Brenner, 6/1/16
    “Austin’s Ninth Annual Bug (Eating) Festival:
    Two legs good, six legs tasty!”
    -Wayne Alan Brenner, 6/1/16

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Now we have about six weeks left to shoot past these stretch goals, and we’re excited to be announcing a truly ambitious Stretch Goal #3 shortly. Stay tuned, keep rockin’ this BarnRaiser, and as always…Stay hungry, my friends.

    Sincerely humbled and gracious,
    RNA

 

WOW! Matching Pledge of $4,000

We are so incredibly humbled by the generous pledge to match funds raised for our BarnRaiser crowdfunding campaign during the Eating Insects Drtroit Conference, up to *drum roll please*

$4,000!!!

The conference ends at 1:30pm EST on Saturday May 28, so get your rewards now and help us receive this wonderful gift of support.

Thank you to all our backers who’ve supported us so far, and a special thank you to our Anonymous Benefactor!!!

BarnRaiser Crowdfunding Campaign

So much love,

RNA

Little Herds is crowdfunding on BarnRaiser

Little Herds will be launching our BarnRaiser Crowdfunding Campaign on May 26!

Checkout our BarnRaiser

We’ll be kicking off our campaign at the Eating Insects Detroit Conference, with the support of the Edible Insects movement to get a great first push in support.

We’ve chosen to partner with BarnRaiser for this campaign. While you may not have heard of their platform yet, we’re very excited to be working with them! They’re a perfect fit for the idea of eating insects for your health or the planet, and their strong focus on education and nonprofits makes them a great fit for Little Herds.

We’ll be shooting for $8,000 as our goal, which will help fund our operating costs, launch our Edible Insects Industry Reports project and help build cricket farms in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo for our partnership with Farms for Orphans.

If we hit our Stretch Goal #1 of $10,000 we’ll be able to make 200 Educator Kits to send to schools, allowing teachers to share the joys of edible insects with their students. The kits will have tasting samples, curriculum, activities, pictures, videos and online resources for educators to use for free.

If we hit our Stretch Goal #2 of $15,000 we’ll use the $5000 to launch our Austin Black Soldier Fly Larvae Micro-Farm Pilot Project with Ecology Action Texas! Working with community partners and the city of Austin, we’ll be able to begin a proof-of-concept BSFL farm to turn Austin’s food waste into high quality poultry feed for local farmers.

We do need your help though, to make this campaign a success. Sharing our campaign with your friends and family will help us increase the sound of our collective voice, and get more folks talking about edible insects, and that gets people interested in this amazing food and feed resource. Help us out and join our BarnRaiser Ambassador list to get insider updates on the campaign and help us coordinate a great first push in our first 24 hours of the campaign.

We’re very thankful to all of the wonderful companies who have pledged their support to our campaign:

More information coming soon, so stay tuned!

Little Herds on The Diane Rehm Show!

We’re so excited to be joining The Diane Rehm Show for the Monday, May 2 episode: Eating Insects: The Argument For Adding Bugs To Our Diet.

You can live-stream the episode from their site, and we’ll be adding a link to listen once it’s up.

Check out The Diane Rehm Show Facebook page afterwards, we hear the host and crew will be trying some delicious edible insect products donated through Little Herds!

Exciting Times in Entomophagy!

We’ll soon be starting our official blog here, where we’ll be featuring news and interviews with entomophagy stakeholders and thought-leaders, but while we get everything in order this is a trial post of sorts to make sure we have everything fixed. Thanks!

Not to worry though, there’s lots to share:

Congratulations to the Woven Network on a successful first conference on April 11, 2016; you can read more about it here.

Woven-58

 

This weekend we’ll be at Earth Day TX, come by and say hi! (Booth 7257)

Coming up next month we’ll be at the Eating Insects Detroit conference; we’d love to have your help getting there!

Finally, the 9th Annual Austin Bug (Eating) Festival will be held on Saturday, June 4 this year. We’re grateful to our hosting sponsor in.gredients for having us back again, and we’ll have more exciting news on this front in the coming weeks. Grab your tickets now so we know how many people are coming out to eat bugs! You can also checkout our video of last year’s event!

Cheers,

@RNAeatsBugs

Little Herds HQ

Thanks for checking out Little Herds!

If you’re curious about “entomophagy,” or edible insects, you’ve come to the right place! We’re an educational nonprofit teaching the next generation about this resource efficient, nutritious and delicious food through experiential STEAM based programs and workshops; events; advocacy and partnerships with educators, universities and other organizations.

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