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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 5 2013: According to National Geographic, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization released a report last May to remind us that there are more than 1900 insects are edible on Earth. Hundreds of them are already put in the diet in many countries. So why eat something that we always battle with insecticides? That is because insects often contain more protein, fiber and less fat than traditional protein, such as beef and pork. Compared cricket with beef, the calories content per 100g beef are almost 3 times than the amount of cricket, and the fat content is almost 4 times than the cricket. However, they contain almost the same in protein every 100g. In addition, insects are exothermic and require less energy, while cattle are endothermic and need lots of energy from the surrounding word, thereby may have large impacts on the natural resource. What is more, insects reproduce at a much quicker rate than cattle.
    However, many people especially people in developed countries cannot accept the facts of eating bugs in order for nutrient intake. Most important reason is that insects look creepy and disgusting in shape. Since most bugs are fed on fresh food waste, people are unknown if there are pesticide and other toxins left in the waste or these insects may expose to. However, if people can treat and process the insects strictly just as what we did for processed beef, I think the potential toxin is not a problem. If people can change the appearance of insects and make them more like food, I think eating bugs may much more acceptable. For example, at one ice cream shop in Columbia, the shop’s employee released a cicada ice cream and sold out immediately. They collect the cicadas, boiled them and coated them with brown sugar and milk chocolate and then added to the ice cream. The cicada ice cream looks nothing special or creepy, wanna try?

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