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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: One thing that might stigmatize the transition towards a insect heavy diet is the creepiness of eating the entirety of the organism. Is it safe to eat the whole bug? Does it need to be processed or cleaned? In our modern lifestyles a slice of bacon looks nothing like the greater animal, the pig. We do not associate a steak with the image of a cow... only a part of it. In our diets the meat and poultry we eat are usually not associated with the whole organism that it came from.
    If we were to sell dried spiders at a market there would definitely be a "gross" factor that would need to be overcame before mass consumption became a reality. I think insects could and should be a greater part of our diets yet, many hurdles need to be tackled before this becomes a reality. Preparation needs to be paramount to make a visually unpleasant food into something delicious warranting the, "oh it's not so bad" praise. If we as a society can discover ways to prepare and present nutritious and delicious insects I would definitely be a supporter of this movement. It may be possible to incorporate bugs that are more "likeable" than others into our diets first as the start of a transition towards a diet including insects. For example, fried crickets might be more pleasing and fun to eat than something squishy, gooey or hard to prepare organisms. I'm excited for the future of bugs in our diets, not only would it help alleviate food shortage but it might add to our already amazing culinary world!
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      Jun 5 2013: I agree that there has to be some sort of dissociation from the organism. I could not get myself to eat an entire bug whole, but may be inclined to eat some for of bug steak or something along those lines

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