It's a new year, new decade, and a new New Harvest.
Welcome to my first "straight from..." mailout of 2020, formerly known as the donor update.
Some background: you may have noticed that we've started a new approach for how we reach you. As the cell ag landscape has filled out, we're focusing on telling you New Harvest's narratives—the stories behind our science, our successes, and our community.
These stories will come to you through the newsletter that Meera sends out twice a month, which will often feature original articles written by the scientists-as-journalists at Massive Science. We're thrilled to be partnering with Massive—they're doing science journalism differently and you know we like doing things differently!
The other way we'll reach your inbox is through this monthly(ish) memo. Unlike the newsletter or the articles, this is going to be a lot less polished around the edges. It's because I write them! Often past deadline, and often at some unholy hour of the night. It's straight from the desk of yours truly, with updates, musings, and shout outs accumulated from the month previous. It will be flexible. Sometimes there will be guests! Maybe I'll draw something or post a graph. The possibilities are endless.
Straight from... is also for our inner circle—our active donors—so I encourage you to make a contribution of any amount (we count anything from the past year), or become a monthly donor to remain on this mailing list.
Now that that's out of the way, I need to get to the important thing: thanking you!
All of you—our visionary donors, our forward-thinking partners in academia and industry, our supporters across the globe—have brought New Harvest so far forward from our humble beginnings as a grassroots research organization.
"Grassroots research organization" aren't three words you normally hear side by side! But that's what we are...
We closed 2019 having raised $1.4 million from 212 donors. For context: we closed the *decade* having raised ~$5 million from 885 donors. We've come such a long way.
Next goal? Getting New Harvest up to a $5 million/year budget to accelerate discovery research in cellular agriculture. We can get there!
But for now, here's what we're doing with your support:
We're also taking a radical new approach to our conference. The landscape has expanded and matured enormously since we held the first cell ag conference in July 2016. For our fifth year, we needed to sit down and re-evaluate how New Harvest could make the absolute most out of having 350 awesome people travel from across the world (the carbon footprint!) in the same room.
- We're up to 20 laboratory scientists now, and our researchers have contributed to 10 peer-reviewed, scientific publications over the past year. This is tremendous output given our current size! This science will anchor cellular agriculture for years to come.
- Our engagement strategy got an overhaul. We have a new approach to mail outs as mentioned above, in addition to our Twitter takeovers (our research fellow Stephanie is rocking it right now), and regular Instagram posts of our researchers' work. (Don't miss the video of the spinach decellularizing!)
We landed on the following overarching goal: To use the conference to maximize productive interactions in cell ag space.
We want the conference to be a place where you will:
All the above have happened before at a New Harvest conference! And we want to keep that going. That's why we're keeping our headcount maxed at 350: to foster a human connection with everyone in the room. It's why we're community-generating our programming and side events: to have an engaged audience. It's why we're targeting 75% first-time-attendees year after year: to welcome the new talent in the space!
- Meet new collaborators
- Meet your co-founders
- Get a job
- Decide to start a company
- Connect with your next investor
If you are an early stage company, or someone who is thinking about joining/starting a company—we want you to join us! Let us know if a discount will help you get there. Just ping me 🛎
Lastly, the theme, "the Elephant in the Room." It's a prompt for our super tuned-in crowd to tell us what's missing from all the cell ag content out there right now—for us to collectively advance the conversation. Yes, it's provocative, but provocation promotes participation! And participation is what grows a community.
Now for some shout-outs:
On that note - if you made it to the bottom of this dispatch, I'd love to extend an invitation to you to always send us any feedback you might have. We love to hear from you, and we're always keen to do things better.
- I'd like to make a shout-out to Dr. Leila Strickland of BIOMILQ, who just shared that their proof-of-concept experiments to make milk from human mammary cells were a success. I met Leila five years ago, when she regaled me with colorful accounts of having to source udders from freshly slaughtered cows at slaughterhouses ("steaming" was an adjective she used) to do her initial experiments. She was facing all kinds of challenges while being in-between lab spaces to do research that many people found "unusual." I am so proud of how far she has come—a true pioneer before milk-without-animals was cool!
- Another shout out to Yadira Tejeda Saldana of Cell Ag Canada. Coming from Canada myself and seeing the enormous potential of the talent up there, it's great to see a group spearheading the movement up North. Their team has some serious chops!
- Also shout out to former New Harvest Research Fellow Jess Krieger and long time New Harvest donor Josh March, whose new cultured meat company, Artemys Foods, just came out of stealth! Seeing our research and donor communities come together and start companies is basically the best thing ever.
- Also shout out to Jeremiah, New Harvest's Research Program Manager and newest teammate. We spent our first week all together at our Team Summit this past month (where we plan out our whole year) and he took to the team like a fish to water. While we were visiting our old office he picked up what was seemingly a random science book off a table (it was this one) and told us incredibly nonchalantly that his name was in it. It was! Because he edited a whole chapter. What a guy!
- Also shout out to Memphis Meats founders Uma and Nick. They are New Harvest stalwarts from even before my time, and we share a long and lovely history in cell ag. They actually reviewed our first ever research fellows application! Now, $161 million dollars later, they have put cell ag on the map like never before. Kudos!!
- And lastly, shout out to our supporter, Ken F. who emailed us some very productive feedback. Ken shared that he is a "silent supporter who wishes to be a loud supporter" which had us thinking hard about how we can better engage our community.
And with that,
THANK YOU, again, for helping us get to where we are today. We are powered by your support!
And friendly reminder to make a contribution (options below) to stay on this mailing sub-list.
Until next time!
Executive Director, New Harvest