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Patrick Murphy

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Buggin' Out: Urban Bug Farming for the Future

In many cultures eating insects is more than a delicacy – it’s a food staple. However, the use of bugs as a mainstream ingredient is a foreign idea in the developed world. As the human population continues to grow, we have to think about how to feed people. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has shown interest in using insects as an alternative food source. Due to their high concentration of the eight essential amino acids, vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamin A, amazingly efficient converters that leave a much smaller environmental impact on the planet than cattle.

Once technologies are developed to produce insect-based food ingredients they can be incorporated into numerous food products. They would make great protein substitutes as any food additives to cereal, snack bars, or traditional meals. The high nutritional value, probiotic potential, and affordable price are just a few reasons why many Asian and Latin restaurants already offer insects on their menu.

Rethinking the urban farm and how to deal with the upcoming need to increase food supplies, Claire Lemarchand is planning a series of cricket farms to be placed throughout cities, that go beyond just growing bugs. Crickets are bred in cylindrical units surrounding a light source, to optimize yield, and are fed fresh food waste from the market and surrounding restaurants. While at night, the cricket farming units double as an urban lighting system.

Is urban bug farming a valid food source strategy? What other ideas could be implemented into our food supply networks? Or, could push the boundaries of urban farming and sustainable food sources to better prepare for future food demands?

Why Insects Should Be in Your Diet By Aaron T. Dossey
(http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/34172/title/Why-Insects-Should-Be-in-Your-Diet/)

The Cricket Bigger Than Beef By Claire Lemarchand
(http://www.yankodesign.com/2012/02/27/superbugs-bugs-with-powers/)

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    Jun 4 2013: I just watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekyloW1cpik It gives a nice peak into bug baking! The speaker, "Wheatgrass Allen," claims that insects are a higher-quality protein than beef. And even though insects are incredibly small in size relative to a cow, pig, or chicken (you would have to eat a whole lot of them to equal the 7g of protein per ounce of beef steak), they are still more efficient than raising cattle. According to National Geographic, one hundred pounds of feed produces 10 pounds of beef. The same amount of feed would produce more than four times that amount in crickets.

    So, I guess the question comes down to: Are we willing to eat A LOT of insects, in a single sitting, to get a sufficient amount of protein? Seems like we would have to condense and sell them through somewhat of a "insect burger" to compete with a serving size of beef.

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