5 Helpful Tips to Becoming a Successful Locavore

5 Helpful Tips to Becoming a Successful Locavore

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The locavore diet, or eating 100 percent locally, has been a massive learning curve for me. I’ve really struggled on some days.

Some days, I’ve found it so easy I laugh in the face of my dinner options. On other days, I’ve sat down to some serious ideological debate in my head as to why exactly we’re doing this.

There are lots of things I’ve learned, and with just one month left of the 100 miles in 100 days challenge, I wanted to share some of the best parts of eating 100 percent locally. One thing that runs through all of these ideas like a golden thread is the connection I have with where my food comes from.

1. The Joy of Fermenting 

Fermentation is some kind of magic. The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz is an incredible book and the boys over at Handsome Boy Pickles spent an evening to show us just how easy preserving and pickling is—and how delicious it can be when you get it perfectly right (their jalapeño pickled eggs were out of this world).

Fermenting foods such as cabbage to create sauerkraut, or beetroot to create a form of beetkraut, is so simple anyone can do it. What you get is a delicious and nutritional food. Fermentation can be found in loads of cultures across the world, with a huge variety of recipes from kimchi to kombucha showing there is something out there for everyone. This is a perfect way to keep vegetables for winter and I’m sure those five cucumbers I’ve been hoarding under the potatoes will taste delicious with some nasturtium seeds and a couple of pints of cider vinegar.

2. The Vices: Chocolate and Coffee 

Diets are dangerous. I have never proclaimed to have much self-control and this diet has shown my true colors. After a serious commitment in the first few weeks, once I was out of my home and into the festival world, lots of things went out of the window—chocolate and coffee, however, were some of the last. Only in my extreme moments of weakness (birthday parties, hangovers and premenstrual moments) have I succumbed to these two.

I truly believe that everything is okay in moderation and these two foodstuffs have been around the houses to get to where they are today. Some chocolate companies are founded on their sustainable and fair credentials such as Green & Blacks and Booja Booja. And some coffee companies are doing all they can to support indigenous communities across the world by using certification processes such as Ethical Trade, Fair Trade, organic certification and Rainforest Alliance. If I’m going to lapse back into these two, I’ll try and make sure I do it in the fairest way possible.

3. Getting Fruity 

Now, I have a sweet tooth. A really sweet tooth. I love exotic fruit. I love bananas and oranges in particular and I thought I might cry when these were taken away from me. But, as it turns out, I don’t really miss them. I’ve mostly missed apples and now that they’re in season I’m feeling very content. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed eating seasonally when it comes to fruit. First cherries and rhubarb, then plums, strawberries and blackberries. Now the raspberries are out and soon I’ll be able to harvest some rosehips and elderberry. Who needs a pineapple when you’ve got a hedgerow?

4. Herbal Teas

Tea is something that I thought I would be struggling with quite significantly and at the beginning it felt very surreal not to have a cup of tea when I woke up. It turns out that I can live without tea. Shock and horror. In fact, I don’t really miss it anymore. Some herbal teas I miss (like, pretty much everything Pukka ever made), but I have taken to using fresh lemon balm, mint or rosemary. Rosemary is kind of like a roast dinner in a cup—it’s delicious. And it feels amazing to refresh your digestive system in the morning with a cup of hot water and fresh herbs. My body loves me for this change.

5. Feeling Fresh 

The best thing about this project, which has hands down changed the way I think about food, is the joy of fresh food. Now, hardly any of the vegetables I eat have been plastic wrapped. Most of them come straight from my veg box from Sims Hill Shared Harvest and salad bag scheme from Edible Futures. My meat is fresh from the small local farms Source supplies from—they know each of their suppliers incredibly well. Fish is more or less the same from Source. I buy eggs from Wiltshire, England, or from Elm Tree Farm at St. Nicks’ market on Wednesdays, complemented by delicious Netherend Severn Vale butter and River Cottage yogurt from theBetter Food Company. The only things that I eat that come in packages are Hodmedodspeas, Pimhill oats, flour for bread from Sharpham Park and honey from my good friends and beekeepers Ollie and Eve down in Dorset, England.

All in all, it’s pretty good. The convenience of food is highlighted to me here—there is not much snacking happening apart from fruits or cheese. Booze is pretty much off the table, although now I do allow myself the occasional drink as long as it’s a local brew from a local company likeWiper and True. And eating out has relaxed somewhat as well. I’m not going to kick myself if my meal is seasoned with paprika or covered in olive oil. In fact, I’ll probably embrace it.

This article was written by: Holly Black and first appeared on Eco Watch 

Natural fungus may provide effective bedbug control

Natural fungus may provide effective bedbug control

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Credit: Nina Jenkins A bed bug with Beauveria bassiana sporulating on its cadaver.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – “And don’t let the bedbugs bite” is no longer a harmless adage. In reality today, these bloodthirsty bugs infest thousands of homes. According to a team of Penn State entomologists, biopesticides — naturally occurring microorganisms — might provide an answer to this pest problem.
Bedbugs need blood meals for growth and development throughout their life cycle. Increased travel, widespread insecticide resistance and changes in management practices have caused a resurgence in those insects throughout North America and Europe. Compounding the problem are concerns about the safety of using traditional chemicals in the domestic environment.

According to Nina Jenkins, senior research associate in entomology, preliminary bioassays on the effects of Beauveria bassiana — a natural fungus that causes disease in insects — on bedbug control have been performed, and the results are encouraging. She and her colleagues report their results in the most recent issue of the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology.


Jenkins, working with Alexis Barbarin, a former Penn State postgraduate student now at the University of Pennsylvania, Edwin Rajotte, professor of entomology, and Matthew Thomas, professor of entomology, looked at how B. bassiana acts through contact with its insect host.
“They are natural diseases that exist in the environment,” said Jenkins. “They are relatively easy to produce in a lab and stable, so you can use them much like chemical pesticides.”
In the study, the researchers used an airbrush sprayer to apply spore formulations to paper and cotton jersey, a common bed sheet material. Then control surfaces, again paper and cotton jersey, were sprayed with blank oil only. The surfaces were allowed to dry at room temperature overnight. Three groups of 10 bedbugs were then exposed to one of the two surfaces for one hour. Afterward, they were placed on clean filter paper in a petri dish and monitored.
The researchers found that all of the bedbugs exposed to the biopesticide became infected and died within five days.

Also, there were no prominent differences in susceptibility by feeding status, sex, strain or life stage. Most importantly, the infected bedbugs carried the biopesticide back to their hiding places, infecting those that did not go out in search of blood.
“We exposed half of a population of bedbugs to a spray residue for one hour and then allowed them to go into a harborage with unexposed individuals,” said Jenkins. “The fungal spores were transferred from the exposed bug to their unexposed companions, and we observed almost a hundred percent infection. So they don’t even need to be directly exposed, and that’s something chemicals cannot do.”
This result is important because bedbugs live in hard-to-reach places.
“Bedbugs tend to be cryptic, and they’ll hide in the tiniest crevices,” said Jenkins. “They don’t just live in your bed. They hide behind light switches and power sockets and in between the cracks of the baseboard and underneath your carpet.”
The speed of mortality with B. bassiana is as fast as Jenkins has seen in any application, but it doesn’t even need to be that fast.

“If you are trying to protect a farmer’s field, he wants the insects that are eating his crop dead immediately,” said Jenkins. “Obviously, if you have bedbugs in your house, you don’t want them there for any longer than you have to, but what you really want to know is if they’ve all gone at the end of the treatment, and I think that’s something that this technology could offer.”
Next, the researchers will test the effectiveness of brief exposure times and look at entire populations where natural harborages are established. Then they will begin field work.
“It’s exciting, and it definitely works,” said Jenkins. “We’re working on the next step, and we have more funding to support these studies.”

Editors note: Full article can be found here.
Credit: http://live.psu.edu