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Food and Agriculture Institute

Cellular Agriculture

What role will cellular agriculture play in the future of food for Canada?

Cellular agriculture consists of a suite of technologies for producing meat and dairy alternatives using cell cultures and (in the case of dairy) fermentation techniques. Currently, cellular agriculture products are not widely commercially available; however, the technologies and techniques are advancing quickly, and these products will enter Canadian food markets and increase in prevalence over the next few years. FAI conducts research on cellular agriculture, such as a study on the implications of proliferating a cellular agriculture industry in British Columbia in terms of local and global social, economic, and environmental impacts. The Institute has plans for further research; for example, it plans to explore the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches for building a cellular industry in the Fraser Valley (e.g., centralizing the industry in Abbotsford or encouraging the development of smaller operations throughout the region).

R1-FIGURE2- Telecoupling Alternative Dairy
Source: Newman, Newell, Mendly-Zambo, & Powell (2021)

 


Projects

Exploring the potential for increasing food security, local economic development, and environmental sustainability in Canada
This community-based research project will explore the potential cellular agriculture has for enhancing food security, economic development, and sustainability in Canadian communities in a manner that aligns with local values and objectives. This project is funded by a Future Skills Centre grant.

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Dairy 3.0: Exploring policy implications and public perceptions of cellular agriculture
An emerging application of bioengineering is the production of agricultural products such as meat and dairy without using live animals. These technologies could potentially decrease animal suffering, lower the environmental impact of agriculture, and could improve food security in remote regions. However, significant policy questions remain. Funded by Genome BC through its social issues competition, this project studied the potential impact of these cellular agriculture technologies on British Columbia's food system.

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Publications

Mendly-Zambo, Z., Powell, L., & Newman, L. (2021). Dairy 3.0: cellular agriculture and the future of milk. Food, Culture & Society.

Newman, L., Newell, R., Mendly-Zambo, Z., & Powell, L. (2021). Bioengineering, telecoupling, and alternative dairy: Agricultural land use futures in the Anthropocene. The Geographical Journal. doi: 10.1111/geoj.12392

Powell, L., Mendly-Zambo, Z., & Newman, L. (in review). Perceptions and acceptance of yeast-derived dairy in British Columbia, Canada. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Newman, L. (2020). The promise and peril of “cultured meat”. In Katz-Rosene, R. M., & Martin, S. J. (Eds.), Green Meat?: Sustaining Eaters Animals and the Planet (pp. 169-184). McGill-Queen's University Press.

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