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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Six-Legged Livestock – Potential for Farmed Insects to Improve Health and Food Security

This project addresses the important challenge of global food security and finding sustainable food sources – especially protein — that have a lower environmental impact than conventional livestock production for the benefit of growing populations. Specifically, the project will provide a greater understanding of whether farmed crickets have good nutritional value (as naturally harvested crickets do) and whether crickets can be raised successfully by small farmers in Zambia.

Zambia faces food insecurity and under nutrition plagues about 45% of the population, contributing to 52% of the deaths in children under 5. The study will combine laboratory analysis of nutritional content and bioavailability with field evidence of the economic viability of insect farming in a developing country. Outcomes will also be relevant to the United States where consumption of cricket products is increasing.

Susan Paskewitz
Professor of Entomology

Valerie Stull
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Global Health Institute and Department of Entomology