Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Canada Earth The Almighty Buck Science

Clinton Grants $1 Million To Edible Insect Farmers 277

Posted by timothy
from the dub-thee-sir-buzzalot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Former US President Bill Clinton, through the Clinton Global Initiative, has awarded $1 million to a group of Canadian MBA students who are looking to solve urban hunger by feeding people insects. The students will use this as seed money for their start-up, Aspire Food Group, which aims to farm, produce, and sell edible insects as a way of solving world hunger, particularly in slums. Aspire says it will even work toward replacing livestock farms with insect farms in some areas." Insects as food aren't necessarily incompatible with conventional livestock, either.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Clinton Grants $1 Million To Edible Insect Farmers

Comments Filter:
  • Yecch! (Score:2, Troll)

    by mcgrew (92797) *

    Eat bugs? No thanks, I'll stick to birds, fish, and mammals. No escargo or grasshoppers for me, thank you.

    • Re:Yecch! (Score:5, Informative)

      by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:21PM (#44961973) Journal

      Eat bugs? No thanks, I'll stick to birds, fish, and mammals. No escargo or grasshoppers for me, thank you.

      It's possible that you won't have a choice.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Why would you think that?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by roc97007 (608802)

          The general tendency, somewhat magnified recently, of government to tell us that for our own good (obesity, for the good of the planet, whatever is the issue of the day) we must modify our behavior, when our leaders have no intention of following suit [capitolcommentary.com]. [1] The thought process appears to be, we should ride bicycles so there's plenty of gas for our leaders' armored SUVs. We should eat grasshoppers so there's plenty of steak for our leaders. And we should all reduce our energy consumption so our leaders ca

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        It would make more sense to limit population growth of humans than to make them eat insects.

    • Re:Yecch! (Score:4, Informative)

      by realityimpaired (1668397) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:22PM (#44961991)

      That's your call to make.

      While I've never eaten grasshopper, spider, or cricket, I do know people who have eaten them and they say that it doesn't taste that significantly different. Apparently, locusts taste like chicken.

      Esgargots are similar to squid, I find... they don't really have much flavour on their own and get most of their flavour from how they're prepared. Fried up in garlic and butter, they're quite tasty.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        not all that different in concept than eating shrimp, crabs, or crawfish.

        The thing that bothers me the most about it is that insects look like they contain a lot more gut and chitin, and a lot less meaty morsels compared to the other multi-limbed critters we eat regularly.

        • The thing that bothers me the most about it is that insects look like they contain a lot more gut and chitin, and a lot less meaty morsels compared to the other multi-limbed critters we eat regularly.

          They do. That's one of the reasons I've never eaten insects, despite having been in parts of the world where they are a part of the normal diet. And that's also something we don't consider in the western world: spiders are considered a delicacy in Thailand. Anything being discussed here is stuff that's already been proven healthy/safe to eat, just that it's kind of squick for people used to a different diet.

          Larger insects do have more meat, though, and stuff like grasshoppers/locusts are more meaty to begin

      • Re:Yecch! (Score:5, Informative)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:34PM (#44962163)

        I would bet money you have eaten plenty of insects in your life. You may not have noticed, but check out how many insect parts are allowed in various kinds of processed foods one time.

        • by firex726 (1188453)

          As someone who does eat insects and worms, it's kind of a big difference between eating a ground up insects as part of a baked cake; and eating a bowl of spiced and sauteed mealworms.

          You can buy flower that is made with insects and mealworms from many "fancy pants" stores to make a chocolate frosted cake, but it's a bit different when you got a pile of worms on your plate.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Is it a very pretty flower?

            Can you recommend any that have actual meat like texture to them? Seafood like would be fine too. So far my experience has been totally crunchy or like the worlds worst custard inside with insects.

        • And everyone ingests tiny arachnids [wikipedia.org] all the time...

        • by Tom (822)

          Not to mention that you eat x spiders every year on average, in your sleep. I forgot what x was, but it was not a fractional number, it's actually a few.

        • I would bet money you have eaten plenty of insects in your life. You may not have noticed, but check out how many insect parts are allowed in various kinds of processed foods one time.

          You also engage in the occasional autocannibalism of your oral and tongue mucosa. Is either of the two really relevant for the conscious food choices?

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Everything cooked like chicken tastes like chicken because it smells similar.

    • How about shrimp? (Score:3, Informative)

      by EzInKy (115248)

      Shrimp are, after all, arthropods. Some even call them "insects of the seas."

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        In my favorite preparations they still have the shells which I quite enjoy. I wonder if there are similar sized and flavored insects available on the market.

    • Personally, I've no problem with it, particularly if insect derived food were processed. For example, it could be presented in the form of burger. Having said that, I'd probably get used to seeing insect shaped food. Particularly if it were cheap and nutritious and tasty. I'm certainly willing to give it a go. Maybe one day we'll all be telling our grandchildren, to their horror, that we used to eat things that looked recognisably like the leg of an animal.

    • Well, to be fair, it is a slightly more palatable than eating Insect Farmers as the Title suggests.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Eat bugs? No thanks, I'll stick to birds, fish, and mammals. No escargo or grasshoppers for me, thank you.

      Escargots aren't insects...

      • Eat bugs? No thanks, I'll stick to birds, fish, and mammals. No escargo or grasshoppers for me, thank you.

        Escargots aren't insects...

        Correct, but they are 'bug' according to various definition. The OP didn't made any reference to insects.

    • by plopez (54068)

      yum.... mechanically seperated beef, chicken, and pork product. Nothings says "tasty" like red sludge...

    • Eat bugs? No thanks

      Hey now! There's nothing wrong with the McRib.

  • Naturally (Score:5, Funny)

    by sjames (1099) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:19PM (#44961941) Homepage

    The financial bullies are now getting around to making their favorite punching bags eat a bug.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GameboyRMH (1153867)

      Exactly. You can't solve hunger with cheaper food, except perhaps in the case of getting more bang for your buck when making a charitable food donation.

      In a capitalist system it just leads to higher profit margins or lower wages. [wikipedia.org]

  • by Surak_Prime (160061) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:19PM (#44961943)

    Human teeth show every sign of being shaped, at least in part, to consume insects, and we possibly developed long fingers to dig them out of hiding places, too. I'm not religious, but sometimes I can't help but think of a monkey-like God looking down on all of mankind's problems with famine and hunger and yelling, "For My sake, mankind, I gave you the cockroach! An unlimited food source - you can't wipe the little bastards out if you try!"

    • by guruevi (827432) <evi@NOSpam.smokingcube.be> on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:31PM (#44962123) Homepage

      Even though insects are indeed edible and can be quite good (try them roasted or chocolate covered), TFA talks about using this product as a cheap replacement for animal feed for both livestock and fish farms. Currently livestock is fed reprocessed livestock leftovers which causes several problems. One, it's expensive to reprocess this into a healthy mix two, it's not very efficient. If you do it wrong (which is the case in a lot of 3rd world countries), you could help spread stuff like Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or FMD among your livestock. Additionally (if you're into that) the current processes are not organic so organic products cannot process their own waste.

      According to the article, the larvae of these insects eat 90% of whatever you give them, once they're fat, you throw them in an oven and they become toasty bits to feed.

      • by liquidsin (398151)

        check out black soldier flies [blacksoldierflyblog.com]. they can be farmed in nifty little bins by pretty much anyone. the larvae will eat damn near anything (plant/animal based food waste and excrement) and leave behind nothing but fertilizer and fat larvae, which make nutritious feed for aquaponic setups or chickens. the adults live only a couple days; they exist only to mate, and do not bite or sting. they are not known to be a vector for any human pathogens, and they generally buzz off to die once they're done mating.

    • by sjames (1099) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:41PM (#44962285) Homepage

      Just watch, if cockroach burgers ever get popular, prices will soar and we'll hear all about how hard they are to raise and how they're in short supply.

      • by Golddess (1361003)
        Well of course! What, you didn't think we just harvest them from anywhere, did you? It takes a lot of time and special preparation to grow a cockroach that is fit for human consumption.
    • by c (8461)

      think of a monkey-like God looking down on all of mankind's problems with famine and hunger and yelling, "For My sake, mankind, I gave you the cockroach! An unlimited food source - you can't wipe the little bastards out if you try!"

      I think God might have underestimated mans (and Monsanto's) ability to fuck up a perfectly good source of food...

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:20PM (#44961963) Journal

    ...the proles need to eat something...

  • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:23PM (#44962005) Journal

    There's been a lot of this going around lately. From whence came the insect-eating meme? There's a woman I see in a coffee shop sometimes. She's an environmental activist, best known to me for manning the anti-GMO petition campaign in California, which failed. She mentioned eating insects that last time I saw her. I was like, OK... there's a meme going around, since environmental activists often rub shoulders with the same elite circles in which Clinton is involved.

    The $64 trillion question is, "Can anybody trace the origin of the meme?". Yeah, people have been eating insects for thousands of years, and there have probably been much earlier suggestions that Westerners try it. I'm talking about a dramatic recent upswing though. What catalyzed it?

    • by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:37PM (#44962219)

      There is a long term trend towards sustainable farming practices. Cows take up vastly more land per lb of protein produced. The trend is to try and move primary protein source towards something more efficient, like sheep or chickens. But you don't get much more efficient than insects.

      • So you're arguing that cows take up vastly more land per lb of protein produced vs roaches? I concur. I've never once seen hundreds of cows infesting section 8 housing.
      • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @03:37PM (#44963779) Journal

        Trying to change cultural taboos in order to use the most efficient protein source isn't a sign of sustainability. It's a sign of desperation. If that doesn't fix the problem, then where do you go? It'd be better to fix the problems that are making them think that way; rather than think that way.

        Hey, googling around insects are the most efficient, with fish, chicken, pigs, and then beef finally being least efficient. How about encouraging Indonesians to take a baby step towards the most efficient source, and trade beef for pork. Do you see why that might be a bit of a problem?

        Aside from that, the truly desperate never needed a study from some institute to become efficient. Rats and bugs get eaten by POWs and refugees all the time. The Bible even records that bird droppings became a coveted source of sustenance during a seige. It almost sounds like they're putting the cart before the horse. "You're going to be living in dire poverty because of what we're doing to you; here's how you can cope with it".

    • by Valdrax (32670)

      The $64 trillion question is, "Can anybody trace the origin of the meme?". Yeah, people have been eating insects for thousands of years, and there have probably been much earlier suggestions that Westerners try it. I'm talking about a dramatic recent upswing though. What catalyzed it?

      The recent media attention and resulting zeitgeist came about because of a recent report by the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization, Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security. [fao.org] As an issue that ties well into concerns about food security & poverty, animal welfare, greenhouse gas reduction, and openness to food options eaten in other parts of the world, the issue has become a bit of a liberal hot topic.

      ("Elitist" is a bit unfair, though. Most of the buzz, if you'll pardon the p

  • Hey! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:23PM (#44962013) Journal

    Bugs aren't vegan.

    • Re:Hey! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RevWaldo (1186281) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:28PM (#44962073)
      Is murdering 100 thousand grasshoppers more ethical than one steer? The implications!

      .
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        Yes. The steer is likely able to understand it has a future and feel pain as you do, and much of everything else we expect of mammals. The grasshopper not at all.

        I know you were trying to be funny, but this meat eater thinks you are being quite foolish. There ethical implications to eating meat, the biggest one right now being how terribly those animals are treated.

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          What we need to do is breed a steer that wants to be eaten, a la Restaurant at the End of the Universe!

          And this mostly-vegetarian thinks that the biggest ethical problem with eating meat is that the way animals are currently raised for meat basically has them eating things they aren't really supposed to (e.g. corn to grass-eaters, and cannibalism), which is both bad for the animals and bad for us. The cramped conditions and abuse and such don't help.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            I agree with all of the above. If I could manage it I would be vegetarian save for animals I hunted/fished. I just don't have the time for that, nor the freezer space.

        • A feedlot is cow heaven. All the grain it can eat and no predators that it recognizes.

          I don't think cows know they are mortal.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Standing in shit up to your knees and having to be pumped full of antibiotics is no one's idea of heaven.

            I am not sure if they know they are mortal. They can expect the future, show some basic ability to plan and such.

            • As long as they have a trough full of grain, they're in bliss.

              Have you actually known any cows?

        • The only reason you are severely underestimating the grasshopper is because you anthropomorphize the cows. All living things desire to remain alive, all organisms* feel pain. Killing and causing suffering is part of life. You have to do it in order to live.. or pay someone to do it for you, in which case you are an hypocrite not someone of higher moral**.

          * That include plants, which is now know for facts that they communicate, are self aware and feel pain. Nature has many way, the central nervous system is

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            No, I do not. Cows are not people, nor do I consider them such. I have killed animals, and will likely do so again. I still recognize that a grasshopper knows less about what is going on around him than a cow.

            Please show me some information on plants being able to do this. I have never heard of it, and frankly I do not believe it. They may respond to stimuli the way circuits behave but I want evidence for more than that.

            Obviously animals are killed via mechanized farming. I did bale hay as a kid you know.

      • by mu51c10rd (187182)

        Is murdering 100 thousand grasshoppers more ethical than one steer? The implications!

        Depends...are they chocolate-covered?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Clinton loves his Bug Macs.

    • by rossdee (243626)

      Who knows what sort of lifeforms there are in the Vega system - it is after all 26 light years away.

    • by Garridan (597129)
      Especially if you feed them chickens. Weird quote from the article:

      He's turning the larvae loose on some leftover bits of chicken. "The bugs consume this material. Probably 90 percent of the material is consumed, and all that's left is a little bit of bone and sinew and fur."

      Um. Wut. Somebody sold him a strange chicken indeed, if it had fur.

  • Marie Antoinette is looking pretty good now, isn't she?

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Why?
      Because you think she said something about cake?

      She said let them eat brioche, which in that situation made sense. French law at the time set the price for normal bread and to prevent bakers from not selling it they were required to sell brioche for that price if they ran out of normal bread.

  • by deviated_prevert (1146403) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:39PM (#44962245) Journal

    Compared to cows, pigs and chickens some insects, especially in larva stage can convert plant cellulose and starches into proteins and fats many times more efficiently. This is the real benefit. In some cases this is more efficient than processing the plants for human consumption. Take corn as a feed, it is very inefficient for humans to ingest it but feed it to some insects and they will convert it at a very high rate.

    We are not talking about insects being the equivalent to a Shmoo which reproduces asexually and only consumes air, but it makes sense to add them to agriculture. What I do not like is the premise that it could feed the poor, however they may be on to something with this approach also. During the second world war when the Nazis used slave labour from concentration camps they fed the slave on potato peels and vegetable top waste from the soldiers mess kitchens. When the SS doctors suddenly realized that the slaves that were there to be worked to death were actually getting to be healthier than the soldiers the practice was stopped and the slaves were then put on a deliberate starvation diet.

    Just maybe our opulent fat diet of animal proteins and refined starches will make the rich who can afford it less healthy than the insect eating peons and lower class workers in the city slums.

    • http://www.trunews.com/flour-made-insects-wins-1m-mcgill-team/ [trunews.com]

      They're grinding the bugs into flour and combining it with whatever the local flour is (corn, wheat, whatever), thus fortifying it with iron and protein. And it's gluten-free to boot (if added to already gluten-free flour).

      No mention of using 100% insect flour, though.

      Will be interesting to see if their "bug-fortified" flour will be less expensive than plain flour.

      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @02:25PM (#44962957) Homepage
        I don't even think it matters how cheap it is. It won't stop people from starving in third world countries. Even if the food is free, you still have to get it to the impoverished nation, which can cost quite a bit, especially with inland areas. Sure they could cultivate their own land, farm their own bugs, but they could do that with the crops and livestock we currently have. The reason they don't is because their who system is completely messed up. You could have a farm, but someone could come around and burn all your crops, and kill all your livestock because there is no rule of law. Lack of food isn't really a supply or cost issue to do with the food itself, but more a problem with the way the social and political systems are set up where people are starving.
  • What makes some insect farmers more edible than others?

  • That insect farmers are edible, I thought, was already established. I guess that Clinton is giving money is news enough...

  • - pour shot of tequila
    - sprinkle dash of salt on back of hand
    - hold slice of lime in fingers
    - pick up shot with right hand while throwing salt over shoulder and simultaneously squeezing lime in left eye
    - While pain in eye has you distracted, toss insect in mouth and chase with tequila.

  • Stop throwing away so much food [wearewhatwedo.org]. Last numbers I saw was 40% is tossed out. All the scarcity is man made. People are being starved to keep the prices up.

  • To paraphrase Marie Antoinette: Let them eat yuck!

  • Insects for the poor. Eat your cockroach

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev

Working...