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2020 Greatest Hits

A highlight reel of our 2020 Annual Report. More than anything, this is a tribute to our community—a testament to what we can achieve when we work together to ensure cellular agriculture delivers on its promises sooner rather than later.

Published July 14, 2021 | Updated October 4, 2021 | Isha Datar

title page of 2020 annual report

Looking for more? Read our 2020 Annual Report in full here. (Extra points for anyone who can identify the inspiration for the cover design! Hint: it too was a compilation of greatest hits — circa 1987!) 

By the Numbers

Last year, 317 donors contributed $1.6M to our mission of driving the field of cellular agriculture forward. Here are the highlights of what donor support made possible in 2020:

🌐 United 87 individuals from 50 cultured meat companies around a landmark publication on the safety of cultured meat, representing the first industry-wide collective action

📝 Published 9 peer-reviewed publications, building the body of public knowledge in cell ag

🔬 Selected 7 new researchers for the New Harvest Fellowship Program, accelerating breakthroughs in the science of cultured meat

🚀 Launched a 12-part series on the Cultured Meat and Future Food podcast, making our fellows’ research more accessible

🧑🏽‍🔬 Supported 5 new researchers-in-training through our seed grants, welcoming newcomers into the field of cell ag

😷 Distributed 450+ custom-designed cultured meat masks across 12 countries, building a sense of community across the field

✍🏼 Awarded our first dissertation award, supporting a Ph.D. student transition into the field

🌟 Co-created our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, charting out a course to realize our new mission of maximizing the positive impact of cell ag

🌱 Grew our team size from 6 to 9 full-time employees and transitioned to a remote-forward working model

Letter from the Executive Director

How does one reflect on 2020, the year we didn’t see coming?

For me, it is with sadness, gratitude, and hope. Sadness that so much suffering took place on this planet. Gratitude that we were forced to see our interconnectedness, through the cracks in the systems we have built. Hope that a global transition is on the horizon, driven by a new awareness. This theme of transition was felt deeply at New Harvest. In the face of uncertainty, we chose to grow, seeing the importance of our work in a new light.

First was the operational change. We began searching for a COO early in 2020 and onboarded the fantastic Paige Wilcoxson mid-year. We became a remote-forward organization early in the pandemic, seeing it as the best way to support our staff through a challenging time.

Second was the spiritual shift. Alongside our community members, we embarked on a six-month journey to articulate a new strategic plan to guide our next five years of impact. We revised our mission: our previous mission was “to build the field of cellular agriculture.” Our new mission is to maximize the positive impact of cellular agriculture on the world. It’s an acknowledgment that positive impacts are not innately built into the advancement of technology.

Third was building the team to drive the new mission forward. We were lucky to have Bre Duffy, Yadira Tejeda-Saldana, and Stephanie Bailey join our team, creating a new sense of “whole” in the organization.

What challenged us the most in 2020 was re-envisioning closeness at a time of mandated distance. With the cancellation of our conference and researcher gathering, we decided not to replace them with digital versions. Instead, we experimented. We shared face masks across the cell ag community, dabbled in TikTok, and took our networking into Twitter DMs. We launched a podcast series with our research fellows. We coordinated the first industry-wide collective action in cellular agriculture—a landmark paper on the safety of cultured meat, built with input from 50 cultured meat companies, across innumerable 1:1s and a handful of workshops.

As 2020 zoomed by, we came away with sadness that we could not be closer, gratitude that our community is as strong and supportive as ever, and hopeful that this year has planted seeds for a new type of unity as, together, we figure out how to realize the potential of cellular agriculture.

Thank you for joining us in this journey, 

P.S. If you’re looking for our audited financials, you can find them here.


About the Authors
Isha Datar is Executive Director at New Harvest