GFI executive director Bruce Friedrich selected as 2019 TED Fellow

TED Fellows are chosen “based on remarkable achievement, their strength of character and on their innovative approach to solving the world’s tough problems.”
Bruce friedrich

GFI Executive Director Bruce Friedrich has been selected as a TED Fellow. Each year TED chooses 20 visionaries to join their global network of scientists, artists, activists, entrepreneurs, doctors, journalists, and inventors making positive change in the world. Fellows present at the TED conference in April.

As the TED team puts it, “We choose Fellows based on remarkable achievement, their strength of character and on their innovative approach to solving the world’s tough problems.”

Yup, sounds like Bruce in a nutshell. Naturally, we GFIers are beaming ear to ear. We got Bruce’s take on it:

Bruce, congrats! What does this fellowship entail?

Thanks! I’ll be speaking at the TED conference and will join the other Fellows on a Fellows Retreat. I’ll also get the benefit of ongoing professional mentoring, dedicated PR coaching, and participation in the TED community, including the global TED Fellows network.

Why is it important to bring plant-based and clean meat to the TED stage?

TED is all about finding innovative ways of looking at the world — especially the challenges facing us today. We regularly hear about the many harms of industrial animal agriculture, but these alarming reports have not curbed the relentless rise in meat consumption. We know the problems. Now we need solutions that will play in the real world.

Through this fellowship, I’ll be able to share how plant-based and cell-based meat can fundamentally shift our food supply with TED’s global network of do-ers. The TED platform will help us propel our work even further and lead to input from and — fingers crossed — collaboration with change-makers from around the world.

Why did you found The Good Food Institute?

Over the past three decades, I’ve had the chance to talk about animal agriculture with countless people from around the world and have been struck by the similarity of their responses. None of them wants animals to be slaughtered. None of them wants food waste or fecal contamination in the food supply. None of them wants worsening climate change or antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Yet basically all of them eat meat. They won’t shift to tempeh or algae or bugs, but they are excited about the idea of being able to eat meat without slaughter. Heck, even the former CEO of Tyson Foods said, “If we can grow meat without the animal, why wouldn’t we?” That’s why I helped found The Good Food Institute: we’re creating a solution to the harms of industrial animal agriculture that everyone can support.

What makes GFI’s approach different and innovative?

At our core, GFI is pragmatic. We’re focused on using sober analyses to inform real-world projects. Studies spanning the fields of psychology and sociology consistently demonstrate that behavior change is exceedingly difficult and rare. At GFI, we are working to change the system, not people’s habits. We are helping to transform the food system to produce meat, eggs, and dairy with a smaller environmental footprint and no animal slaughter.

Or to look at it another way: we aren’t fighting against immovable forces. GFI is more about jujitsu. We’re actually leveraging markets and advancing technologies to create real, fundamental change.

How will the TED Fellows Program enable you to accelerate the transformation of our food system?

Even more than our founding insights into markets and technologies, what makes GFI impactful is our people. We have a simply incredible team of diverse, brilliant, creative, kind, and dedicated people bringing all of our passion to changing the world.

TED’s Fellows are the same! Being able to talk with and work with these visionaries and thought-leaders from across so many disciplines will help us apply new ways of thinking to GFI’s mission. The Fellows Program will help GFI be even more effective and efficient, and it will allow us to get our theory of change and mandate out to many more people all over the world!

Bruce will be speaking at the TED conference in April 2019. In the meantime, check out his presentation at TEDx Sonoma County.  


Mary allen

Mary Allen GFI ALUM

Mary Allen is a science writer, creative strategist, and GFI alum focused on the intersection of sustainability and emerging technology. Find more of her work at