What Does “Clean” Mean?: Examining the Alternative Meat and Protein Industry

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This panel will shine a light behind the marketing curtain of the alternative protein trend. Bringing together experts from many sides of the issue, we will deep dive into the highly-touted benefits of clean meat, cell-based-agriculture, and plant-based proteins, with the aim of providing a constructive and thought-provoking opportunity for the SoCap audience to engage on the topic. All too often, we get caught up in the positive feedback loops of emerging technologies so this conversation will bring together thought leaders from various sectors who will dig into some of the more complex and contested issues being debated in the space.  Despite being a conversation of differing opinions, the goal of this discussion will focus on alignment seeking perspectives.

The panel will focus on addressing the following topics as they relate to alternative protein:

  • Land-based production models that solve for the same problems as cell-based agriculture like climate, waste, health, animal welfare, etc.
  • The importance of diversified solutions to the issues plaguing the food and agriculture space
  • The social, environmental, and human health impacts of lab-produced vs land-based agriculture solutions
  • The role of storytelling in the rise of “clean meat” and the food/ag investing the landscape more broadly
  • “Clean meat” as a tool for rural southern farming and ranching communities
  • Analyzing the energy and resource intensity of land-based vs cell-based solutions
  • Examining the methodologies and tools used to engineer substitutes for natural systems that have co-evolved for millions of years. What do we understand? What remains elusive?

Confirmed Panelists

Sophie Egan: Journalist, Author of Devoured: How What We Eat Defines Who We Are

Sophie is a leading American food journalist who has been published in The Washington Post, Time, The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit, Mic, WIRED, Edible San Francisco, EatingWell, and The New York Times. She is also the author of the book Devoured: How What We Eat Defines Who We Are – a provocative look at how and what Americans eat and why—a flavorful blend of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Salt Sugar Fat, and Freakonomics that reveals how the way we live shapes the way we eat.

Sophie also has a Masters of Public Health in Health and Social Behavior at UC Berkeley, where she studied food systems, food innovation, and food writing under Michael Pollan. She was also a Fellow at the UC Berkeley Center for Health Leadership and was named one of the UC Global Food Initiative’s 30 Under 30.

Dan Altschuler Malek – Sr. Venture Partner, New Crop Capital

Dan is an entrepreneur experienced in sustainability, startups, and international trade. His endeavors over the last 20 years include launching a natural snack company, heading a logistics firm, opening a restaurant, and managing a creative agency. He holds a degree in Business Management from Mexico’s Universidad Iberoamericana and an MBA from Babson College. As Venture Partner, Dan pursues strategic opportunities for New Crop Capital’s portfolio companies.

New Crop Capital is an investment firm that provides Angel, Seed and Series A funding to early-stage companies developing meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood with plant-based ingredients or through cellular agriculture, as well as companies that promote and distribute these products. Their investment portfolio includes leading clean meat brands such as Beyond Meat, Miyoko’s Kitchen, and Memphis Meat. You can learn more about their portfolio and investment thesis here.

Renske Lynde – Co-Founder and Managing Director, Food System 6

Renske has worked in the non-profit sector on food, agriculture and nutrition policy and issues for nearly 20 years.  Her work has included grassroots education and community organizing, strategic campaign development, quantitative policy analysis and legislative advocacy.  She began her career in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy working on behalf of small-scale sustainable agriculture producers and went on to build direct markets for Pennsylvania farmers in the Philadelphia marketplace.  Renske subsequently directed Advocacy and Research for the San Francisco Food Bank working primarily on cross-sector partnerships to improve the federal food stamp and school lunch programs. She holds BA degrees from Boston University in Political Science and Psychology and a Masters in Public Policy from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.

Renske is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Food System 6, a non-profit, impact-focused accelerator based in the Bay Area that supports mission-driven entrepreneurs who are transforming how we grow, produce and distribute food. FS6 runs a 4-month cohort program and currently has an active portfolio of 29 companies working all throughout the value chain from on-farm innovations to consumer products.

Unconfirmed Panelists

Cory Carman – Rancher, Carman Ranch

Cory is a fourth-generation cattle rancher in Northeastern Oregon. After graduating from Stanford with a degree in environmental policy and working on Capitol Hill and in Los Angeles, Cory returned to rural Oregon in 2003. Galvanized by her belief in the ecological and health benefits of grassfed beef, Cory set her sights on transitioning the ranch where her family has lived and raised cattle for more than 100 years to 100 percent grassfed beef. A decade later, Carman Ranch has become a vibrant example of holistic ranching and land regeneration, offering 100% grassfed, grass-finished beef and pastured pork to an audience that includes health care providers, fine dining establishments and retail consumers. Cory has been voted as one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People” and featured in articles such as Civil Eats’ “How an Oregon Rancher is Building Soil Health and  a Robust Regional Food System.”

Carman Ranch is a fourth generation ranch at the base of the beautiful Wallowa Mountains in remote Northeastern Oregon. They focus on ranching practices that restore the soil, respect the animals, build sustainable businesses in their rural community, and grow nutrient dense, delicious food.  They seek lasting change on the land, in their community and in the food system.

Alternative, if Cory is not available: 

Christine Su – CEO & Founder, PastureMap

Christine Su is the CEO and co-founder of PastureMap, a technology company helping ranchers increase profits on healthy grasslands. Christine has 3 degrees from Stanford, including an MS in Land Use and Agriculture and an MBA. Prior to founding PastureMap, she worked at McKinsey and at KKR Capstone, where she was an operations executive building performance improvement software for companies from $500 million to $2 billion in revenue size. With PastureMap, Christine Su now brings this operational experience to improve ranch and farm profitability.

Christine Su became interested in the food system after struggling with food allergies. She found that produce and dairy products from her local farmer’s market did not make her break out in hives. At the farmer’s market, Christine started getting to know local farmers and ranchers, and she became more interested in food production. Christine worked on farms and ranches in four continents, including at a 60-cow dairy farm in Hokkaido, Japan and in New Zealand with merino wool producers. Working at these operations, Christine realized that producers were keeping their records and plans mostly on paper. Data collection and monitoring was cumbersome, and the records weren’t digitized in a way that made it easy for producers to gain insight from their records. Christine founded PastureMap to empower farmers and ranchers with the information they need to run their operations more profitably and resiliently. Today, PastureMap proudly supports 10,000 ranchers in forty countries. Looking forward, PastureMap is focused on helping producers get rewarded for their regenerative practices by connecting producers and consumers.

Christine believes that human knowledge and creativity on the land is the key to regenerating landscapes and building vibrant and just food systems. PastureMap is proud to be building a global regenerative agriculture movement that is restoring soil health, sequestering carbon, and providing clean water while feeding local communities.

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