Posts Tagged ‘New Harvest’


New Harvest’s Jason Matheny Shares Perspectives on the Future of Meat Alternatives

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By Kevin Robbins

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, between 1970 and 2010 the number of cows raised for human consumption rose 32 percent to reach 1.4 billion, pigs rose 76 percent to reach 965 million, and chickens rose 273 percent to reach 19.4 billion. But despite its popularity, current levels and methods of meat production and consumption can have an adverse effect on human health, the environment, and animal welfare.

Jason Matheny is working to produce economically viable meat substitutes. (Photo credit:

New Harvest is an organization that supports research regarding economically viable meat substitutes and provides a forum for sharing related innovations. In the interview below, New Harvest founder Jason Matheny talks about the work of the organization and his perspectives on the future of meat alternatives.

Why did you start New Harvest and what is its primary focus?

I founded New Harvest in 2003 because there wasn’t an organization devoted to advancing technologies for new meat substitutes. There are several companies making plant- or mycoprotein-based meat substitutes, but there was no organization working on more advanced technologies, such as cultured meat, and no organization looking broadly at how to replace animal proteins with advanced substitutes. We fund academic research, conferences, and economic and environmental assessments. We’ll probably continue focusing on these areas, since it addresses an important need.



Africa: An Untapped Potential for Global Agriculture

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By Janeen Madan

Global agricultural production has increased by 145 percent since 1960, but production in Africa has fallen by 10 percent. While 70 percent of Africa’s population is engaged in agriculture, 250 million people remain undernourished, an increase of 100 million since 1990.

Calestous Juma argues that not only can Africa feed itself within a generation, but it can also become a major exporter of food. (Photo credit: Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs)

But despite this bleak picture, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, a book by Dr. Calestous Juma, professor at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, suggests there is tremendous potential to reverse these trends.

Juma argues that not only can Africa feed itself within a generation, but it can also become a major exporter of food, ending its reliance on food aid.

Africa presents an untapped potential for the future of global agriculture. It is the only continent where arable land is available for agricultural expansion. “Africa has abundant arable land and labor which, with an agreed common approach and sound policies, could translate into greater production, incomes and food security,” according to Juma.

The book’s recommendations call for increased investments in on-farm and off-farm infrastructure. By building new roads, improving storage and processing facilities, training scientists, expanding irrigation systems, developing new breeds that are better suited to local conditions, and harnessing solar energy, the continent can meet the food security needs of its growing population. According to Juma, “You can modernize agriculture in an area by simply building roads, so that you can send in seed and move out produce.” (more…)