bacon bugs madagascar

Sakondry are saviors for this furry guy.

The sakondry bugs of Madagascar are pulling off quite a feat: helping to thwart starvation, relieving biodiversity loss and saving lemurs. All while tasting like delicious bacon.

These small cricket-like insects have long been a well-loved snack for locals. Pro tip: Find the youngest ones (those are said to be the tastiest), give them a quick wash, pinch off the heads then toss them in a pan with some water and salt, and voila … a crispy, crunchy savory morsel.

“They’re quite soft when they’ve been fried … Like a nutty bacon,” Lewis Kramer, a conservation research coordinator, told Metro.co.uk.

“I would happily have a bowl of them with a beer,” he joked.

Nutritionally speaking, however, the sakondry are much more than a snack. They might as well be singing Lizzo’s “Juice” ‘cause baby, they’re the whole damn meal.

Insects generally tend to provide a viable protein, fat and mineral source, all while requiring less land, water and feed than meat.

These facts are more crucial than ever, as around 1.64 million people in Madagascar are enduring an undeniable food crisis. Horrifically destructive tropical storms and relentless droughts—which the UN directly links to climate change—have led to desperate measures. Metro.co.uk reported that people were forced to eat ash mixed with tamarind and leather from shoes to temporarily stave off hunger.

As a last resort, some villages have taken to hunting forest animals, including the already heavily endangered lemur. With nearly 94% of the species threatened with extinction, this is hardly a sustainable option.

But U.K.-based organization SEED Madagascar aims to address these issues with a novel solution: a bacon bug farm.

Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Created by anthropologist Dr. Cortni Borgerson, the program helps communities plant and grow the bean plants known to locals as tsidimy (also edible, so win-win). The tsidimy will attract colonies of sakonry after only six to eight weeks. Those colonies can then be harvested about a month later.


Knowing that a love for card playing is part Malagasy culture, Borgerson created a deck of cards to act as a creative user manual the farmers can refer to for best practices and troubleshooting. The deck includes everything from how to care for tsidimy seedlings to how to differentiate between male and female sakondry.

In only one year, these farms have raised more than 90,000 harvest-sized sakondry, which provided the annual protein equivalent of 2,700 eggs. Borgerson told Mongabay News that the program has also saved 25-50 lemurs per community each year.

As delicious and nutritious and sustainable as they are, the sakondry remain quite mysterious. But while research is still being conducted, these little bacon bugs are becoming a part of a well-balanced diet (and ecosystem) for Madagascar.

Now … who’s ready for an S.L.T.? Sakondry, lettuce and tomato sandwich, that is. Or perhaps some eggs with a side of sakondry? A maple sakondry donut, perhaps? The possibilities are endless.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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