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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 5 2013: Yeah! I figure that cricket protein bars could be marketed towards a sporty audience too. People seem to be willing to try a lot to promote muscle growth. Move over Muscle Milk!

    As for the worms...
    A quote from Jaueck's post: "One of [the insects I have eaten] was Stag beetle larvae deep fried. It just tasted like “Cream cheeeese puff!!!” For sure, sometimes, it tasted weird such as Bundaeggi (silkworm chrysalis) in the Korea." Just like a cream puff!, doesn't sound so bad! haha
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      Jun 5 2013: I like that idea, because they are willing to try anything if they think it will help their athletic development. I'm not sure, but I feel like there have to be certain species of bugs that contain rare essential amino acids, or hormones that could help with training. Marketing bugs in a new light such as that could help it become a more mainstream commodity.
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      Jun 5 2013: Good idea! SO many people would love it!
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      Jun 5 2013: That's a great idea, it was the first thing I thought of when reading another comment that stated that cricket has comparable protein to beef, per mass, but about 1/3 the calories. That's pretty incredible! It's tough to eat enough protein to build muscle while not eating at too large a calorie surplus to gain fat- doable, but you have to really watch your diet. Having a low calorie high protein source like that would make it so much easier. Also using insect protein ground up in bars or drinks would reduce the "gross" factor since you don't have to look at the creepy crawlies you're about to eat.
      Top Notch.

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