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Are Fried Roaches Really the Future?

Updated: Jan 22, 2022

Fried roaches

How about a plate of Mac Fried Roaches?

Some people thought I was just being tongue in cheek when I talked about eating insects. On the contrary, eating insect protein might just be the key to our survival in a world where climate change threatens food supply chains and factory farming of beef, pigs and sheep which are also major producers of the methane driving global warming.

Just as we did 10,000 years ago, we have to adapt.

Here’s the BBC….

Insect cultivation uses a fraction of the land, energy and water required for traditional farming, and has a significantly lower carbon footprint. Crickets produce up to 80% less methane than cows and 8-12 times less ammonia than pigs, according to a study by researchers at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas which, although shorter-lived in the atmosphere, has a global warming impact 84 times higher than CO2 over a 20-year period. Ammonia is a pungent gas and air pollutant that causes soil acidification, groundwater pollution and ecosystem damage.

The New Neolithic or New Stone Age was followed by the Bronze and Iron ages. We moved from tribal cultures to “civilizations”.

The 20th Century was the Fossil Fuel Age. And today we are in Information Age, with the AI Age looming. Each age has been driven in part by technology and in part by environmental changes. Today is no different.

Insect farms can eat a lot of things, as you know from the roaches in your kitchen. And, yes, roaches are edible too – and already being farmed – in China. Number two on the list of the most profitable bugs,

· Crickets

· Cockroaches

· Mealworms

· Red Wigglers (Worm Castings)

· Silkworms

· Ladybugs

· Soldier Fly Larvae.

Insects are the most efficient animal production system considered, although less so than soybean curd. However, insects have the additional advantage that they are able to use a wide variety of feeds, including by-products and waste (Ocio and Vinaras, 1979, van Broekhoven et al., 2015). The results here assume that insect feed uses the same mix of feeds currently used for conventional livestock. However, if half of food discarded by consumers (from Alexander et al. (2017)) could be used as feed for mealworms, this would replace 8.1% of current animal production.

Nutrition of crickets. Per 100 grams, you get , 3.10 mg of niacin, 1.09 mg of riboflavin, 0.36 mg of thiamin, 9.5 mg of iron, 185.3 mg of phosphorous, 75.8 mg of calcium, 5.1 g of carbohydrates, 5.5 g of fat, 12.9 g of protein and 121 calories.

What is the future? Mealworm patties in your McDonald’s?

Vegans eschew all animal products. But we did not evolve as vegans. We need animal protein—just not the kind we have now.

In the future, our diet will likely depend on insect farming, carp fishing and farming, soy farming and organic farming of vegetables, mushrooms and fruits, all of which can be integrated, with enormous savings of land space and resources.

Did I say “carp”? Yes. The US has spent millions trying to eradicate the Asian carp from the Mississippi. But it is highly nutritious and, as vegetarian bottom dwellers have low levels of heavy metals such as mercury compared to fish higher up in the food chain.

The shift will be away from huge corporate single GMO product farms using chemical pesticides to smaller, locally owned organic multi product farms.

Is Organic Farming productive and profitable compared to conventional and GMO farming?

As for those meal-worm patties, they are easy to make all by yourself or on site? They don’t need the expensive technologies Big Ag uses for beef and pork – slaughterhouses, and butchery. Nor do we have the issue of slaughterhouse waste

Nor do we have the issue of slaughterhouse waste, which is a major health and environmental issue and adds to food costs, which are passed onto you, the consumer.

Nor do we have the issue of slaughterhouse waste

The advantages of protein obtained from insects, soy, fish farming and the like should be obvious. Big Ag? Bigger is not always better. Big Ag is big partly because modern meat production is complex. But the bigger the system, the more wasteful. Sometimes smaller is better.

The Rodale Institute’s Farming Systems Trial is the longest-running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional grain cropping systems in North America. It has found that organic yields are competitive with conventional yields after a 5-year transition period and that organic yields can be up to 40% higher in times of drought, due to the healthier soils, which hold moisture better. The Rodale's "conventional" plots include GM crops, in order to better reflect real farming conditions in the US.

In other words, climate change and environmental damage to soils worldwide favor organic yields in the long-term. They also favor localized production, leveraging digital technologies.

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