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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: I was really surprised by the amount of protein that is actually found in insects. A caterpillar has up to 28.2 g of protein which is even more a lean ground beef (27.4g). A caterpillar seems relatively harmless in regards to out-competing other insects and become an invasive species if insect farming were to exploded worldwide. But what about other insects? A giant water beetle has 19.8g of protein but it an intense predator of aquatic crustaceans, fish, and amphibians. Amphibians are already at risk for population decline due to infectious disease and other factors, do we want to put them at more risk? While insect farming may be a good idea for certain insect species it may not be a good idea for all species.

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      Jun 5 2013: I think your right, there are going to be some bugs that are nutritious but will cause harm to the environment and their surroundings. Research and studies need to be performed before allowing complete urban bug farming to occur. Wow those statistics are crazy by the way, did they list what chicken or fish or pork was compared to bugs as far as nutritional value?
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        Jun 5 2013: When I looked it up 140g of chicken is about 43g of proteins so clearly chicken is superior. Fish is about 28g of protein for every 100g which is very comparable to certain insects. But in geographic locations where chicken or fish isn't readily available, I could see insects being used as a viable source of protein.

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