Big ideas need a big space to expand in and Upside Meats recent expansion certainly qualifies as BIG!  They just took 53,000 feet of space in Emeryville, California to grow real meat in!  No not cows and chickens grazing, but meat, the real stuff, 100% carnivore food, smack em up barbecue beef, tenderly grown in huge steel vats.  According to CEO Uma Valeti, as soon as they get governmental approval they will be able to produce 50,000 pounds of cultured beef.

The tres fancy eatery in San Francisco, Atelier Crenn has already decided the meat from Upside Foods will be the first meat on the restaurant menu since 2018. And Upside Foods is one of nearly a hundred companies that are right now pursuing perfecting the art of making real meat out of cultures.

It all starts with some cells from already slaughtered animals.  Then those cells are put in giant vats and given nutrients, a special sauce that helps them grow and multiply. “We feed the cell a range of nutrients (amino acids, sugars, trace minerals, and vitamins) normally found in food and compositionally similar to what develops organically in animal body, just in a different format. We also expect that our cells will be capable of indefinitely self-renewing, so that we won't need to return to the animal for subsequent samples,” the company states . And voila, you have real beef, ready for the grill.

Why all the excitement though, isn't there enough meat in the world that we have to grow it in giant vats?  Let us leave the moral issues surrounding the killing and slaughter of innocent animals by the BILLIONS each year aside.  Harvesting beef via traditional agriculture is terrible for the earth.  Roughly 30% of toxins that are responsible for global warming come from grazing cows.  “Cell-cultured meat may require up to 90% less land and water, and emit up to 90% fewer greenhouse gases.” Research tends to agree: the benefits of cultured meat are “enormous,” found one analysis from April 2021; another from 2019 noted that switching to lab-grown meat could see “[greenhouse gas] emissions … fall by 78-96%, land use by 99%, water consumption by 82-96% and energy consumption by 7-45% compared to those from the conventional farming depending upon the type of meat.”

Want to try a burger?  Well you have to fly to Singapore to get it as it is the only place on Earth that currently allows lab grown meat to be sold to consumers.  On a personal note, as a vegetarian of 23 years, one who has missed the taste of meat every day, this news is a Godsend.  However I do not hold out much hope for quick approval.  Upside will first need okay from both the agriculture department and the FDA.  The former is a dungeon of traditional slaughter based meat enthusiasts and farmer lobbies, they will do anything to undermine this concept.  Typically they are not interested in science, but rather the dollars and cents in the pockets of the farm lobby.  Even if the Earth is dying these guys would rather go down with the ship than throw a lifeline to their fellow passengers.

If the Earth gets hot enough, if enough people die of tornadoes, if Miami gets washed over by the Atlantic and most importantly if enough people finally scream STOP, we may get to taste and enjoy no kill meat one day.  But the reasoning will never be that we grew a conscience.