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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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    Jun 4 2013: One thing to keep in mind when considering bringing in undomesticated species as a food source is the potential for them to go invasive. It would be best if the harvested bugs were native to their region because it would be awful if a certain species was brought over and ended up devouring our crops or something of the sort. If all the potential drawbacks were worked out, I think bug harvesting would be great for the future, especially with insects’ ability to reproduce quickly and in mass numbers. I would imagine they would go well with sushi. Here are some pictures of how insects can be incorporated into Japanese dining: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/howaboutthat/3526527/Insect-sushi-creepy-crawly-cuisine.html

    This conversation also reminded me of the old lollipops they used to sell in some stores that had the insects in the center. Anyone remember eating these as a kid?: http://carofranck.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/insect-lollipop1.jpg
    Making another push at some type of campaign for kids like this would be cool to see.

    It is also important to consider that on average insects can produce 1 kilogram of meat from 2 kilograms of feed, whereas cattle require 8 kilograms to produce 1 kilogram of meat. Thus, harvesting insects is much less resource intensive. (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/u-n-eat-bugs-good-good-world-article-1.1342532)
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      Jun 5 2013: Definitely! Maybe people can import or export bugs as pickled or dried what we usually do for vegetables and meat.

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