You can tell a market sector is heating up when it gets its own conference. Cellular agriculture, which includes cultured meat (or lab meat or clean meat or whatever you want to call it) is definitely getting hotter as people gather today and tomorrow at the New Harvest 2018 conference over at MIT.

New Harvest is a non-profit advocacy group for the advancement of research into products like cultured meat, and its conference bills itself as “the world’s first conference dedicated to cellular agriculture.” If you are at all interested in the future of cultured meat and alterna-proteins, this looks like the place to be, with a tremendous lineup of researchers and exhibitors.

Startup activity in the cultured meat space has been downright frothy. Memphis Meats, Mosa Meat, JUST, Aleph Farms, and Supermeat are all working on cultured meat, and even traditional animal protein giant Tyson is getting into the lab meat space with its investment in Future Meat. And that list doesn’t even include the plant-based meat companies coming to market like Impossible and Beyond Meat.

Cultured meat has also caught the eye of the government, with the FDA recently holding a public meeting over what to call cultured meat (as well as the agency’s intent to crack down on which products can be called “milk“). Traditional ranchers and farmers have a beef with these upstarts who want to label their products, well, “beef.” This debate is just beginning, and conferences like New Harvest help push the conversation and research forward to move cellular agriculture from the lab to our tables.

If you can’t be in the Boston area for this weekend’s conference, you can check out video from the talks here. I should note, the video is broadcast via Periscope and the quality is definitely not HD. We’ve embedded a sample below, and you can check out all the talks here courtesy of the Cultured Meat and Future Food podcast.

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