TED Conversations

Patrick Murphy

This conversation is closed.

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/)

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jun 4 2013: You know if more people watched The Lion King, bugs would probably be more acceptable. That movie is awesome.

    Anyways, it's possible that insects are already subtly included in many foods we eat. I cannot find a news (or any official) source for this, but according to many websites there are an average of eight bug legs in a piece of candy or chocolate bar. Think about that the next time you pull out your midday candy snack! I don't think people cope with the fact that we consume bugs all the time. Not to freak anybody out even further, but we swallow a non-zero amount of bugs (particularly spiders) while we sleep and it is not dangerous or unhealthy at all!

    Even the United Nations seems to think bugs are a great alternative source of various nutrients, supposedly a good replacement for "chicken, pork, beef, and even fish." Additionally, bugs produce very few greenhouse gasses (especially compared to cattle), are easy to grow and maintain (due to short generation cycles). The only counterargument against eating bugs is that they tend to taste inferior to conventional foods, understandably. However I believe with a few spices, refined cooking techniques, and public education regarding the benefits of eating insects, humans can create a larger market for bug eating that will not only save us money but will also help our planet.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/13/should-we-eat-more-insects-the-u-n-thinks-so/

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.