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: I'm all for incorporating insects into our everyday diets. I think there are definitely some barriers to overcome (largely cultural) before this becomes a reality, but they are an undeniably promising source of protein, zinc, iron, and Vitamin A. The harvest of insects will place less strain on the environment and provide nutritional requirements to a population facing food crisis. I also think as many have already stated, bug consumption is not a solution but a step in the right direction. I found information about the company ENTO that is working to rid the cultural taboo surrounding bug consumption and advertise their product. They are shaping bugs into more accessible and accepted meal forms:

    http://vimeo.com/63690554
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=tastes-like-cricket-designing-a-del-2013-04

    This Scientific American blog post also sums up many of the news and issues surrounding bug consumption very well.
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/06/04/grubs-as-grub/
    • thumb
      Jun 4 2013: That first link is a great video! When the guy opened up the "ento box" it actually looked appealing. Simple educational videos like this could really further the insect-eating movement

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.