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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: The UN actually just put out a report last month on the advantages to eating bugs and which ones are beneficial. ( http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e.pdf ) The idea of eating bugs is something that is hard to accept. Maybe if we process them or prepare them in ways that make them not look like bugs will help to get past the stigma of eating a bug. Just like the rest of our meat doesn't look like an actual animal but also it is widely accepted that high protein, high fat diets are ok. But they are truely detrimental to our health including issues like heart disease, high colesterol, high blood pressure and even seizures.
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      Jon Cox

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      Jun 4 2013: Here's a video clip put out by the FAO for their insect eating initiative

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9M2JPscbmQ
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        Jun 4 2013: That video is extremely cool, i like how casually that guy just started eating those worm tacos. This is the kind of mentality that more people need to get used to eating bugs.

        It seems that this perveption of our food seems to be the biggest issue. Eating bugs is not that much harder to grasp when you realize many people don't like to know where on the animal their steak came from. They like what the steak looks like when its done and ready to eat, and if we could do the same to bug meat so people can't tell where that meat comes from(processed bugs or protein extracts), then we can start to culturally accept the idea of eating bugs as a meal.
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          Jun 4 2013: Yeah. I think that casual depiction of eating insects is vital to the success of this idea. It needs to be portrayed and observed in a way that appears normal, not ridiculous Fear Factor gross out reactions.

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