Paskewitz’ insect farming project receives Contemporary Social Problems Initiative funding

A project led by Entomology Professor Susan Paskewitz has been selected to receive funding through the Contemporary Social Problems Initiative. The initiative, overseen by the UW–Madison Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (OVCRGE), supports two-year grants for research with implications for tackling contemporary social problems in order to promote economic prosperity, enhance social and psychological well-being and improve health outcomes in the United States.

Read below for a description of Paskewitz’s project. Learn about the other projects selected for Contemporary Social Problems Initiative funding here.

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