|Headquarters||New York, New York|
New Harvest is a 501(c)(3) non-profit promoting innovative technologies that address global food insecurity, and the growing environmental and ethical concerns associated with industrial livestock production. It is most known for its advocacy for cultured meat.
New Harvest currently funds university-based research to develop new culture media, bioreactors, and methods of tissue assembly for the production of cultured meat. The group is also backing an environmental assessment of the relative efficiency in land, water and energy use of cultured meat compared to conventional meat.
In 2004, New Harvest was founded by Jason Matheny to fund academic research into the use of cell cultures, instead of live animals, to grow meat Matheny became interested in cultured meat after researching infectious diseases in India for a Master’s degree in public health. In the course of his research, he toured a poultry farm outside Delhi where he saw “tens of thousands of chickens in a metal warehouse, doped with drugs, living in their own manure and being bred for production traits that caused them to be immune-compromised.” He said the experience made him recognize the need for a new way to meet a global demand for meat that is “exponentially growing” in even a traditionally vegetarian country like India.
When Matheny returned to the States, he read about a NASA-funded project that “grew” goldfish meat to explore food possibilities for astronauts on long-range space missions. He contacted all 60 of the cited authors and teamed up with three—a tissue engineer, cell biologist and animal scientist—to consider the viability of producing cultured meat on a large scale. In 2005, their research was published in the journal Tissue Engineering which generated considerable public and scientific interest in New Harvest.
When a new Executive Director, Isha Datar, was appointed in 2013, New Harvest’s focus grew to include other animal commodities like milk and eggs, that could be produced by biotechnology rather than livestock. Since 2014, New Harvest has helped found two start-up companies, Muufri and Clara Foods.
Isha Datar, Perumal Gandhi and Ryan Pandya (two New Harvest volunteers) founded Muufri in 2014 to produce an animal-free cow’s milk via biotechnology. The start-up got seed funding from a synthetic biology accelerator program in Cork, Ireland. They are currently trying to modify yeast to synthesize casein and whey, the two key proteins in milk. Six months into research, Muufri received a $2M investment from Li-Ka-Shing’s VC –Horizon Ventures.
Isha Datar, David Anchel, and Arturo Elizondo founded Clara Foods in February 2015 to develop a chickenless egg white. The company participated in the Indie.Bio accelerator program in San Francisco, California. Clara Foods is working to produce an egg white that is cholesterol-free and salmonella-free, while using lower land and water inputs and available at a reduced cost.
Datar holds a BSc. in Cell & Molecular Biology from the University of Alberta, where she contributed to Canada’s first cultured meat laboratory, and an M.Biotech from the University of Toronto. Datar said she was inspired by a meat science course to explore the environmental consequences of livestock production. In 2010, she coauthored a publication for Possibilities of an In Vitro Meat Production System, which applied tissue engineering technology to the cultured meat application. She spoke at 2012 TEDxToronto about cultured meat and was soon after appointed as the head of New Harvest. She is also a one-third founder of the start-up company Muufri, which is producing an animal-free cow’s milk.
Board of Directors
- "Research Needs -". www.new-harvest.org. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- "Advertising feature: Biotechnology". Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- "Fish fillets grow in tank". Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- "Milk Grown in a Lab Is Humane and Sustainable. But Can It Catch On?". Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- "Would YOU drink man-made cow milk?". Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- "Test tube milk the latest to hit the engineered food scene". www.gizmag.com. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- Nguyen, Tuan C. (2014-07-21). "Animal lovers use biotech to develp [sic] milk made by man instead of a cow". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- "New Company Sets Out to Make Egg Whites Without the Chickens!". Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- "Egg Whites, Rhino Horns, And Stem Cells: IndieBio's Plan To Bioengineer A Better World". Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- "Welcome". Clara Foods. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- Palet, Laura. "Isha Datar Can Grow Your Steak in a Lab". Retrieved 2015-06-03.
- "Watch "Re-Thinking Meat: Isha Datar at TEDxToronto" Video at TEDxTalks". TEDxTalks. Retrieved 2015-06-03.