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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: Many of us arent aware of the fact that we eat bugs everyday. The FDA allows chocolate to contain 60 insect components/100g, peanut butter can contain 30 insects parts/100g. These are just the beginning of all the products that contain bugs, all processed food contains insects. What i would be concerned about is insect farms exploding all over and creating fast and cheaper insects by giving them genetically altered food that will make them bigger and able to produce more protein. If we can make sure that we dont over exploit insects like we do almost everything else than adding insects to our diets may be extremely beneficial.
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      Jun 5 2013: I agree with you Cori, but I also think the over exploitation of insects is going to be inevitable if we start producing them as a food source because it will be fast and cheap.

      In the U.S. we kind of already do use bugs as a food source. Chocolate covered ants and chocolate covered grasshoppers can be bought at specialty stores and they're actually not that bad. I think that bug farms can be extremely beneficial in our diets once people get over the gross factor and realize that bugs can taste pretty good. As children most of us have probably eaten our fair share of insects, I know I have. It wasn't gross to us then, so why does it become so gross as we grow older?
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      Jun 5 2013: Good point! I wish it does not happen!

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