Building a Sustainable Food System: A Conversation with Isha Datar

Isha Datar, executive director of New Harvest

Perfect Day was formed with the help of a coalition of creative, visionary voices. One of our earliest, most important champions was Isha Datar, Executive Director of New Harvest and pioneer of the field of cellular agriculture. In fact, she introduced our co-founders Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi when animal-free milk protein was a seedling of an idea.  

For International Women’s Day, we spoke with Isha about her vision for a kinder, greener food system and the work she’s doing to build the field of cellular agriculture. Cellular agriculture is the umbrella term for uniting nature and technology to make ingredients like milk proteins, eggs, and more. Within the cellular agriculture industry is precision fermentation, the process we use to make milk proteins naturally through fermentation and without animals, whatsoever.

Reimagining how we make our favorite foods has the potential to save millions of animal lives, significantly reduce the drivers of climate change, and nutritiously feed our ever-growing global population. 

Building the foundation is key.  

Hear in Isha’s own words how New Harvest is shaping a more equitable, resilient food system from the ground up by funding the big ideas making it happen: 

We need to do this as partners.

It will take the private sector and the public sector working together across business, academia, policy, activism, and more to make the most positive impact.  

For cellular agriculture to work, everyone must benefit.  

In their next phase, Isha and the New Harvest team are exploring how the Just Transition framework can help define how we move to an animal-free future. A Just Transition is a set of vision-led principles that build economic and political power to shift to a holistic and waste-free regenerative economy. To the New Harvest team, it’s a way to build an industry where where no one is left behind. Perfect Day’s partnership model echoes our commitment to building that very future. 

Isha lends advice for anyone motivated to get in on the ground floor.  

“All you have to do is show up and show value. Think about the skills you have and what might be missing in the field and figure out how to apply those skills.”  

When we know better, we can do better.  

There’s a lot to learn about what Isha, Perfect Day, and others are doing to shape a better future. Here are some resources that can help.  

We’re always looking to lend a microphone for others who have a vision for a more resilient, equitable future. Who inspires you? Drop us a line in the comment box below.  

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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