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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

The Cricket Bigger Than Beef By Claire Lemarchand


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    Eun Min

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    Jun 4 2013: I guess this would be a great way to feed people that is estimated 9 billion people by 2050 (1). As we know and many researchers work on how to restore nature and feed people as the population growing, the disturbed biodiversity and environment are hard to be restored. Especially, desertification contributes a serious problem to feed people that the soil in desert is not a good resource to grow vegetables. However, eating insects might be a hope to feed 9 billion people without nutrient deficiency that most insects have enough nutrients what human needed. In 100 gram of crickets, 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of fat, 5.1 grams of carbohydrates, and 75.8 milligram of calcium and all sorts of other nutritional delights are contained which can be converted to 121 calories (2). Eating insects is not only good for nutrient intake which might help agriculture.
    I am from South Korea, and grasshopper used to be a popular snack until 1980's which might be due to the change from agriculture based country to industrialization, a developing country. The land conversion or less farming led a decreased insect population including biodiversity. "Grasshoppers are a major pest of both cultivated crops and rangeland grasses in the world's semi-arid regions (3)." Thus, capturing and eating grasshopper can help to produce better crop in quality and quantity.
    (1) Huis, A. V., Itterbeeck, J. V., Klunder, H., Mertens, E., Halloran, A., Muir, G., Vantomme, P., Edible insects: future prospects for food and feed security, Food And Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2013
    (2) http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/05/15/fight-world-hunger-by-eating-bugs-urges-u-n/
    (3) http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex6463
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      Jun 5 2013: I really like the idea of eating insects that are bad for the agricultural industry. Not only would we be lessening the demands for other proteins like beef, chicken, etc., but we would also reduce the amount of pesticides being used to get rid of those bugs. Cool idea!

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