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

The Cricket Bigger Than Beef By Claire Lemarchand


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jun 5 2013: One thing that I don’t think anyone mentioned yet was how eating insects may be more keeping in tune with how we evolved to eat. The Paleolithic diet advocates consuming large amounts of meat because during the ice age (one sliver of our evolutionary history), we supposedly ate lots of meat so that is what our bodies are built for. However, the fatty muscle tissue we consume today is nothing like what our ancestors ate for the large majority of our evolutionary history. This Scientific American article explains how nearly all of our human ancestors were vegetarian (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/07/23/human-ancestors-were-nearly-all-vegetarians/).

    If people really wanted to eat what our ancestors ate, they would be consuming insects as their primary animal protein source and eating considerable amounts of vegetation.

    Also, we evolved from this :) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/evolution/9856081/Humans-evolved-from-furry-insect-eating-creature.html
    • thumb
      Jun 5 2013: More ideas like this need to be brought to light since so many people don't understand the significance of an ancient diet. People have begun to work on bringing back parts of our historical diet, and that can be seen with the surge in organic and natural diets. I think this could be the next step and some important societal figures could help to make this diet popular.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.