What is Cellular Agriculture?
A future friendly way of creating food and fashion for our planet.
Cellular agriculture is the research field dedicated to creating agricultural products – such as meat, eggs, milk, and leather – without using livestock.
Instead of dedicating scarce land, water, and energy resources to raise entire animals for food, we can produce only the cuts we want to eat using innovative agriculture technology and food science.
How does it work?
A story from farm to table
What do humans, cows, and fish all have in common?
We’re all made up of tiny cells. Eye cells, fat cells, kidney cells, brain cells, heart cells, muscle cells… you get the picture.
The meat we eat is mostly made of muscle and fat cells.
Instead of raising whole animals, just to eat the muscle, we can grow only the parts of the animal we want to eat. This method of producing food from animals is called cellular agriculture.
So how does it work?
It all starts with a farmer and a cow.
We take a small, painless biopsy from a cow and place these cells in conditions that replicate the animal’s body.
These cells then grow – just like they would inside the cow – in food-grade facilities.
Think of this like a brewery for meat.
Once we have enough cells to create a juicy steak, or 1000, we harvest the meat cells and can develop the foods we all know and love. Like meatballs. Or shrimp dumplings. Even sashimi-grade salmon.
All the while, our cow is still alive, still grazing in its paddock.
Illustrations by Sue Iruge
Why is this important?
What we choose to eat and wear affects everything.
We are living on a finite planet that is about to reach its limits. Our global population is predicted to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Humanity is currently faced with three major challenges: climate change, food scarcity, and the existential threat of antibiotic-resistant and zoonotic diseases. These three issues will be exacerbated with rising meat consumption. The current methods of raising animals for food are unsustainable and insufficient for our growing population.
We know mass behaviour change is hard. Producing and eating meat has been a part of our history since the beginning of humankind. Fortunately, we’re really good at using technology to innovate our agricultural practices – tractors, automated irrigation systems, drones, and gene technology have made food cheaper, healthier, and more accessible for everyone.
And now, we can use cellular agriculture to produce meat – and other animal products like egg, milk, and leather – using less land, water, and energy compared to traditional animal agriculture methods. Since this technology would remove the need for intensive factory farming, cellular agriculture would reduce foodborne illnesses, antibiotic use, drug-resistant microbes, and zoonotic viruses. Cultivated meat may also be healthier than animal meat – manufacturers can control the amount of unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol naturally found in meat, and either increase the amount of healthy unsaturated fats or add other types of healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and plants, into the meat.
Cellular agriculture has the potential to provide a sustainable supply of food and biomaterials to our growing population whilst reducing the impact of climate change, improving human health, and eliminating animal suffering.
What can you bring to the table?
No matter your experience or capabilities, we want you to join us on the cellular agriculture journey.
I am a student, job seeker,
I want to meet & connect
with people in the field.
I want to help bring
cellular agriculture to Australia.