Hi Tammie, I'd love to set up a type to Skype to talk through your questions. I also have some people I'd like to connect you to in East Africa who might be able to help you figure out where to get mealworms to start farms. Can you please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Iron-deficiency anemia is a big problem amongst pregnant women and mealworm powder contains high levels of iron. Mealworms also contain folic acid which is critical for brain and spinal cord development. Additionally, pregnant and lactating women need 71 g of protein a day compared to 46g a day for women. In the communities where we work, meat is prohibitively expensive so getting this much protein in the diet is difficult. Thanks so much for your questions, and please let me know if you'd like some links to articles explaining this in more detail.
Yup! Mealworms are very adaptable. They reproduce fastest at around 75-80 degrees F and 70% humidity, but they can continue to live and grow in a much larger range. The really exciting thing we've seen doing our home visits and focus groups here is that our participants have started coming up with their own ways of optimizing the farms. People have used cardboard to insulate the farms, other families put the farm out in the sun for a few minutes and then wrap it in a blanket to keep it warmer to speed up the reproduction process. There's a lot of room for innovation in how people maintain their farms, which is why we focus on teaching people the basics as opposed to giving them a pre-made farm. Ultimately, they're empowered to maintain the farm however they think is best.