Several hundred (309 to be specific) researchers, entrepreneurs, visionaries, futurists and interested parties gathered under sunny skies in San Francisco on July 13th for the first New Harvest 2016 session.
New Harvest is an organization dedicated to supporting the furthering of cellular agriculture. What is cellular agriculture, you ask? Think milk without the cow. Chicken without the chicken. It is defined as an emerging field where agricultural products are made from cell cultures. A well-known example is the first cultured burger created by researcher Mark Post at Maastrict University in the Netherlands in 2013.
The day kicked off with some great news from New Harvest CEO Isha Datar as she shared three initiatives. New Harvest Labs will hatch in Leiden, The Netherlands this fall, led by Research Strategist Daan Luining and engaging in conducting open, catalytic research in cellular agriculture. The first cellular agriculture PhD candidate will begin her research at Tufts University this August. And lastly, Isha will join the Shuttleworth Foundation’s program for individuals unafraid to reimagine the world. Great work, Isha!
Panel discussions throughout the day explored the story of cellular agriculture from diverse angels, looking to answer questions such as:
What is the role of fermentation?
How can cellular agriculture change the face of manufacturing?
How does cellular agriculture impact conservation?
When the time comes, how can we communicate these new food technologies to an increasingly skeptical, science-phobic public?
From the academic arena, what are some of the leaps being made in the animal protein arena?
Panelists represented diverse media, academia and companies such as Ripple (plant-based milk products), Modern Meadow (biofabricated leather), Clara Foods (animal-free egg substitute), Soylent (sustainable meal replacement), Muufri (dairy-milk without animals) and Afineur (fermentation-based plant foods, including coffee).
Cellular agriculture remains an emerging field but with the energy, dedication and resources on display during New Harvest 2016, many of these future visions will be reality sooner rather than later. Stay tuned and for more, sign up for New Harvest’s newsletter here: http://www.new-harvest.org/