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Future of meat: edible bugs as cheap, low waste, homegrown protein

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Published on Oct 10, 2011

Monica Martinez thinks Americans are ready to embrace entomophagy (bug-eating) and she's launched an edible bug food cart to prove her point. On her first day of business for Don Bugito (at the San Francisco Street Food Festival), she had a steady flow of customers ordering her wax moth larvae tacos and mealworm ice cream.

Martinez, originally from Mexico, didn't grow up eating insects, but for Don Bugito she is drawing from her country's prehispanic food culture for inspiration. And worldwide, our ancestors probably relied on insects for food, and today, 80% of the world's nations still count them as a protein source. 

Why eat bugs? One customer even questioned the question, "Is it weirder than eating a cow?". Given the expense involved in raising a cow (both the resources required to feed and house it, as well as the hormones and antibiotics used in conventional farming), it would seem that bugs (with the best feed-to-meat conversion ratio of any other edible creature) have an advantage over more traditional sources of protein. High in protein, low in saturated fats, packed with vitamins and minerals, edible bugs could become the next superfood.

Insect farming is also one of the easiest ways- particularly for urbanites and/or those worried about food safety- to actively get in touch with your protein. Bugs require very little space to live and not a lot of care. Martinez, who is also an artist dedicated to micro architectural structures (i.e. small farms), created a home mealworm farm called Wurmhaus.

Mealworms are very low-maintenance livestock: they eat simply oats (or other grains) and for water, they need just pieces of vegetable or fruit (Martinez uses carrots). Though it does take a year to complete their lifecycle stages between egg, larva, pupa and adult beetle and since only the larvae are eaten, this involves some moving of eggs/beetles between homes.

Original story here: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/...

Monica's kickstarter campaign: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/4...

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