The Good Food Institute (GFI) is a non-profit organization that indirectly addresses the problem of water pollution caused by animal agriculture. GFI’s mission is to create “a healthy, humane, and sustainable food supply”. On GFI’s website it says, “Imagine a food system where the most affordable and delicious products are also good for our bodies and the planet…We envision a world in which the vast majority of meat, dairy and eggs is plant-based or clean.” Based on my systems thinking sketch and evaluation, one of the most significant solutions to mitigate the problem of water pollution caused by animal agriculture is to reduce the demand for cheap meat and other animal products. I argue that the work done by GFI is both sustainable and exactly the kind of work necessary to reduce this demand.
GFI works to fulfill its mission in four main ways, one being by fostering innovation. It does this by doing outreach to top universities for synthetic and plant biology, entrepreneurship, and tissue engineering. This is done to encourage private, as well as public sector projects that advance plant-based or in-vitro products. GFI not only connects students and researchers to these projects, but also culinary experts, entrepreneurs, and food scientists. GFI also supports existing innovation projects by working with startups and established companies that are already working on, or promoting such products. GFI helps these companies become successful in the marketplace by giving them venture capital and strategic support. GFI also educates institutions such as corporations and governmental organizations on the benefits of plant-based and in-vitro animal products. Additionally, GFI promotes alternative products by collaborating with grocery stores, restaurants, and other foodservice companies.
GFI hopes to promote delicious and affordable alternatives to animal products to reduce the demand for cheap meat, eggs and dairy. Such a decrease in demand is necessary for water pollution caused by animal agriculture to be mitigated. If most, if not all meat and other animal products no longer came from actual animals, there would not be excess manure entering waterways. Due to such a decrease in waste, manure would be able to be managed more effectively. Additionally, hormones and antibiotics, which pollute water and threaten human health, would no longer need to be used since animals would no longer need to be in unhealthy, concentration conditions.
In addition to benefiting the environment, the work done by GFI also promotes the economic sector of sustainability. It does this by supporting startups and existing companies that provide profitable opportunities that do not exploit people, animals, and the environment. Additionally, by working collaboratively with restaurants, grocery stores, and food service companies, GFI maximizes the quantity and quality of plant-based alternatives. Therefore, GFI’s work is not only aiming to help create sustainable products, but also to ensure that they are profitable and are able to succeed in the market. Without marketability, such products will fail and will not be able to compete with animal products.
One could argue that GFI’s work does not fully promote the social sector of sustainability. This is because the plant-based and in-vitro meat and animal product alternatives that GFI promotes is often more expensive than animal products currently on the market, making such products only accessible to the wealthy. However, animal products are so inexpensive because they are highly subsidized by the government as a result of corporate control, and the externalities of factory farming are not internalized in the price of the products. Additionally, the work being done by GFI is what is necessary in order to remove this injustice in the food system. For instance, GFI is supporting food scientists and researchers at top universities to make plant-based product technology, as well as in-vitro meat technology more efficient. As these technologies improve, the alternative products will become cheaper to make, making them cheaper to buy. Additionally, as these products become more popular, and the demand goes up, the government may react by subsidizing these sustainable technologies, as opposed to factory farming. When discussing in-vitro meat production, Peter Singer, a well known philosopher best known as one of the intellectual founders of the animal liberation movement, said, “When new technologies create products that people want, they cannot be resisted.” While such a shift will take time and work, it is vital. The work done by GFI is bringing us closer to that goal.
Another way in which GFI’s work promotes the social sector of sustainability is its promotion of animal welfare. If animal product alternatives were to be embraced successfully in the marketplace, and the demand for animal products were to decrease, fewer animals would be raised on intensive factory farms that sacrifice animal welfare at the expense of profit. As animal welfare continues to become a rising concern for consumers, plant based and in-vitro alternatives will be necessary.
GFI is supporting institutions working on technologies to make alternatives to animal products environmentally beneficial, affordable, and profitable. Additionally, GFI is creating partnerships with numerous stakeholders including researchers, companies, the government, and consumers. Involving stakeholders in projects is a vital and necessary step to creating a sustainable solution. The collaborative and innovative work being done by GFI not only promotes sustainability, but is also necessary to mitigate the problem of water pollution caused by animal agriculture.
 “The Good Food Institute.” The Good Food Institute. December 31, 2017. Accessed November 01, 2018. https://www.gfi.org/.
 Singer, Peter. “Can Cultured Meat Save the Planet?” Leapsmag. October 26, 2018. Accessed November 01, 2018. https://leapsmag.com/can-cultured-meat-save-the-planet/?fbclid=IwAR22cQgJBW4aaKXoknG6Z8A2bmWaOhFvyg5UxeM44CF-R0G9qbL6jPACJts.