Agroecology: The Pivotal Role of Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Welcome, garden poultry keepers and sustainability advocates alike! Today, we’re buzzing with excitement to delve into the world of agroecology. Imagine a world where every aspect of farming works hand-in-hand with nature; this is the essence of agroecology. And who would’ve thought that Black Soldier Fly larvae (BSFL) would be at the forefront of this agricultural revolution? Enter ECOnourish, the brainchild of Paul Cartwright, an agricultural economist turned larvae farmer, who’s pioneering the charge in integrating Black Soldier Fly larvae and agroecology into domestic gardens for a sustainable future.

Black soldier fly larvae surrounded by leaves

Introduction to Agroecology and Its Principles

Balance and Harmony with Nature

At its core, agroecology emphasises coexistence and synergy with the natural world. But what does this look like in practice? It means designing farming systems that mimic nature’s patterns, creating a self-sustaining cycle of life.

Using Nature to Support Nature

This notion is nothing new; it’s the realisation that solutions to our agricultural challenges are often found within nature itself. Using the resources and organisms present in an ecosystem, agroecology is about bolstering biodiversity and making nature work for us.

Reduce Reliance on Harsh Pesticides

Pesticides may offer a quick fix against pests, but the long-term consequences on the environment and health can be detrimental. Agroecology champions natural pest control methods, striking a vital balance in ecosystems.

Preserve Water and Reduce Water Waste

With climate unpredictability and scarcity of resources, every drop of water counts. Agroecology seeks to maximise water use efficiency, ensuring that crops get just what they need, nothing more, nothing less.

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Pollution

Sustainable farming practices can drastically cut the carbon footprint of agriculture, leading to cleaner air and a healthier planet.

Protecting Soil Health

Agroecology endorses soil conservation techniques, understanding that rich, healthy soil is the bedrock of any thriving agricultural community.

Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance

Overuse of antibiotics in farming has led to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Agroecology tackles this by reducing the need for these medications through healthier, more resilient animal rearing practices.

Find out more about Agroecology from the Soil Association

Black Soldier Fly Larvae’s Role in Agroecology

live black soldier fly larvae in grass

Protecting Soil Health, Reducing Pesticide Use & Using Nature to Support Nature

BSFL offer a triple benefit when it comes to soil health. Their waste, known as frass, is an excellent organic fertiliser, enriching soil without the need for chemical inputs. Also, their presence naturally discourages certain plant pests, reducing the necessity for pesticides.

Reducing Water Waste in Agriculture

Cultivating BSFL requires significantly less water than growing traditional livestock feeds like soy. They are stellar in promoting water efficiency in the realm of animal agriculture.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

BSFL are powerful bioconverters, turning organic waste into protein-rich food for animals, including your chickens. This process reduces potent greenhouse emissions from decomposing waste.

Combatting AMR

black soldier fly larva single

BSFL help in the fight against antimicrobial resistance in many ways. The most relevant and important way is that they have been proven to reduce growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria in animal guts when the animals consume them. This means animal manure, which is often used as fertiliser, will have fewer antibiotic-resistant bacteria present in it. It also means the animals will have better immune systems and be healthier overall.

BSFL are also a powerful alternative to antibiotics themselves. Farmers who regularly supplement their hens with BSFL have reported not using antibiotics at all! Check out this article in The Guardian all about it.

Bringing Agroecology Principles Into UK Gardens

ECOnourish Are The First Direct to Consumer Supplier of BSFL

ECOnourish is revolutionising sustainable poultry keeping by becoming the first company to offer live Black Soldier Fly Larvae directly to consumers. This not only provides chickens with a natural and nutritious food source but it brings cutting-edge agricultural technology to your back garden.

Plans to Make our Frass Commercially Available

Paul Cartwright and his team at ECOnourish aren’t stopping at larvae. They have plans to supply the byproduct, frass, an all-natural fertiliser, to help your gardens thrive organically. Usually, this product is only available in agricultural settings. But following the ethos to bring the cutting edge of agricultural R&D to domestic settings, this will be made available direct to the consumer! Watch this space!

List of Ideas to Bring Principles of Agroecology into Your Garden – Making YOU an Eco-Hero!

  1. Compost with BSFL: Transform your kitchen scraps into a nutritional powerhouse for your chickens with minimal effort.
  2. Create a Polyculture Garden: Mix your plants to encourage biodiversity and minimise the spread of pests and diseases.
  3. Harvest Rainwater: Use rain barrels to collect water for irrigating your garden, reducing the need to use tap water.
  4. Natural Pest Management: Introduce beneficial insects, like ladybirds, to control pests instead of chemicals.
  5. Plant a Tree: They not only provide shade for poultry but also contribute to carbon sequestration and enhance the ecosystem.
  6. Go Organic with Frass: Replace synthetic fertilisers with frass to nourish your plants and improve soil structure.
  7. Strategic planting: To protect your vegetable patch, line it’s perimeter with sacrificial plants! Rather than munching your courgettes, slugs etc will go for the nettles and nasturtiums instead. And they’ll look pretty while they last.

Unlock the potential of your garden and join a growing community of eco-heroes on our social media channels. Embrace the agroecological approach with ECOnourish, and let your feathered friends enjoy the unparalleled health benefits of Black Soldier Fly Larvae.

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