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Watch Isha Datar’s TED talk on cellular agriculture

New Harvest Executive Director Isha Datar explains how cultured meat can disrupt animal agriculture AND create a more just, democratic food system.

Published October 19, 2021 | Updated October 19, 2021 | Isha Datar

When I was asked to give a mainstage TED talk, my first reaction was to say no.

I didn’t want to contribute to the overpromising that we so often see around disruptive technologies. Does cell ag really need another hype video, touting it as a silver bullet?

TED’s science curator, David Biello, changed my mind. He gave me license to do three things differently:

  1. Share the complex vision. The point of cell ag isn’t simply to make new products for people to consume. Instead, it’s to use this tech to “disrupt” animal agriculture and build a more just, democratic food system.
  2. Call out the limits of the market. Growing meat from cells is a Herculean challenge and companies aren’t going to be able to muscle through it on their own. If we’re going to make this happen, we need unprecedented collective action to steward this tech forward.
  3. No bullshit! Only actual images of cell-cultured prototypes from the cell ag community.

After twelve drafts, here is the talk that made it to Monterey, California.

This talk could not have been possible without the cellular agriculture community.

Many thanks to Irfan Tahir, Lisa Musgrove, Jake Marko, Stephanie Kawecki, Sophie Letcher, Kai Steinmetz, Vicky Andriessen, Naropa Love, Bianca Le, Ben Wurgaft, Veronica Carrai, Justin Kolbeck, Leila Strickland, Nicky Quinn, Aryé Elfenbein, and Dwayne Holmes for your crucial feedback on early versions of the talk.

And a huge thank you to Patricia Bubner at Orbillion, Nicky Quinn at Aleph Farms, Mia Montanile at BlueNalu, David Kay at Upside Foods, Nick Legendre at New Age Meats, Aryé Elfenbein at Wildtype, Parendi Birdie at Mission Barns, Carrie Chan and Avant, Nicolas Morin-Forest at Gourmey, Anne Gerow at Perfect Day Foods, Isabelle Adams at Clara Foods, George Peppou at Vow Foods, Susan Schofer at Modern Meadow, Josh Pollack and Valentin Fulga at Cell Ag Tech, Andrew Noyes at GOOD Meat, Tim van de Rijdt at Mosa Meat, Matt Gibson at New Culture Food, Ruth Faram at Higher Steaks, Lavanya Anandan at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Tzvi Zvirin at BioBetter, Jose Morachis at Defined Biosciences, and Illtud Dunsford at Cellular Agriculture Ltd., Luke MacQueen at Boston Meats, David Brandes at Peace of Meat, Simon Fried at Meatech 3D, Iñigo Charola at Biotech Foods, Katie Kam at BioBQ, Viknish Krishnan-Kutty at Cellivate, Matt Anderson-Baron at Future Fields, Ayana Nakajima at Spiber, Guadalupe Albuquerque at Finless Foods, and Christina Agapakis at Ginkgo Bioworks for providing stats, images, and videos for the slides.


About the Authors
Isha Datar is Executive Director at New Harvest