Knowledge for better food systems

The futures of plant-based and cellular meat and dairy

New York public policy action tank Brighter Green has published this policy paper, which gives an overview of the state of the plant-based and cellular meat and dairy industries as well as a critique of the criticisms and an effort to reconcile competing concerns and values.

The paper, written by Martin Rowe, is part of the Vegan America Project, an ongoing research undertaking that asks what the United States might look like as a vegan country in 2050. 

The paper aims to be an introduction to those interested in becoming involved in the emerging technological, business, and social-change dimensions of plant-based and cellular meat and dairy products.

It begins with an outline of the historical and conceptual background to both plant-based and cellular meat and dairy products. It then lays out the specific challenges (technological, knowledge-based, regulatory, and consumer-based) confronting the development of plant-based meat and dairy products and cellular agriculture. Next, the paper outlines concerns expressed by those advocating a whole-foods, plant-based diet, as well as criticisms from social and environmental activists, and presents a vision of the future that offers a way through the conceptual, socio-political, and perhaps even technological complexities that await both sectors. The paper concludes with recommendations for how people in all these spaces might open up discussion, bring more stakeholders on board, and hold the competing values together.

Read the full paper, Beyond the Impossible: The Futures of Plant-based and Cellular Meat and Dairy, here (PDF link). See also the Foodsource resource How far could changes in production practices reduce GHG emissions?

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North America

North America is the northern subcontinent of the Americas covering about 16.5% of the Earth's land area. This large continent has a range of climates spanning Greenland’s permanent ice sheet and the dry deserts of Arizona. Both Canada and the USA are major food producers and some of the largest food exporters in the world. Industrial farms are the norm in North America, with high yields relative to other regions and only 2% of the population involved in agriculture.

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