Newswise — ST. LOUIS, MO, March 4, 2020 - The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center today announced that Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., CEO and founder of Impossible Foods will give the keynote address on Tuesday, May 5 at the inaugural AgTech NEXTTM, the bold new food and agtech innovation summit to be held May 4 - 6 at the Danforth Center. Dr. Brown is at the forefront of making nutritious, delicious meat and dairy products from plants to satisfy meat lovers and address the environmental impact of animal farming. In 2019 Impossible Foods was awarded the United Nations Global Climate Action Award.

“Pat Brown’s pioneering spirit and belief that there is another way to deliver food to the world is a stellar example of someone creating a company to address an issue about which they are passionate," said Sam Fiorello, COO, Danforth Plant Science Center.  “In Pat’s case that question is how do we find ways to feed an ever-growing population without destroying our environment, especially in this era of climate change. We are grateful to have him as our keynote speaker and look forward to hearing his inspiring remarks at AgTech NEXT.”

Dr. Brown founded Impossible Foods with a simple mission to replace the need for animals as a food-production technology globally by 2035. The demand for the Impossible Burger has exploded since its launch in 2016, and it’s making a positive impact. According to the company’s 2019 Impact Report, the impacts of an Impossible Burger are vastly lower: 87 percent less water use, 96 percent less land use, 89 percent fewer GHG emissions, and 92 percent less dead-zone creating nutrient pollution than ground beef from cows.

The idea for Impossible Foods came to Dr. Brown while he was on sabbatical from his position as an HHMI investigator and professor of biochemistry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. In reflecting on how he could use his training and experience to make the largest positive impact on the world, he realized there was a way to make delicious, affordable meat and dairy products, directly from plants – that would be better for the environment and for consumers. In 2011, he chose to devote himself full time to Impossible Foods. 

In addition to Dr. Brown, AgTech NEXT will feature a robust lineup of speakers and panelists around the theme of “Risks and Rewards” including:

Adam Bergman, Managing Partner, Ecotech Capital Advisors

  • Jim Carrington, Ph.D., President, Danforth Plant Science Center
  • Han Chen, CEO, Zeakal, Inc.
  • Chris Chinn, Director, Missouri Department of Agriculture
  • Arlene Cotie, Innovations Lead, Bayer Crop Science
  • Matt Crisp, President and CEO, Benson Hill
  • Mary Dimou, Venture Capitalist, Canopy Rivers
  • Sam Fiorello, COO, Danforth Plant Science Center
  • Robb Fraley, Former CTO, Monsanto
  • Scott Bernard Fullen, Owner, Mid-South Family Farms
  • Ingrid Fung, Investor, Finistere
  • The Honorable Richard Gephardt, President and CEO, Gephardt Public Affairs
  • Jacqueline Heard, Venture Partner, Anterra Capital
  • Michael Helmstetter Ph.D., Founder, President and CEO, TechAccel
  • Scott Hine, VP Products and Solutions and Chief Innovation Officer, Novus International
  • Sanjeev Krishnan, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director, S2G
  • Chip Lerwick, Managing Director and Senior Vice President, Aon
  • Thomas Overbay, DVM, Managing Director Covenant Animal Health Partners
  • Larry Page, Ph.D., Principal, Lewis and Clark Agrifood
  • Jobst von Petersdorff, Business Venture, KWS Group
  • Dan Phillips, Managing Director, Cultivian Sandbox
  • Mary Shelman, Founder, The Shelman Group
  • Naveen Sikka, CEO, TerViva
  • Dave Stangis, Founder and CEO, 21C Impact
  • Colin Steen, Managing Director and Head of Operations, Syngenta
  • Renée Vassilos, Agriculture Innovation Director, The Nature Conservancy
  • Olga Yermolenko, Partner, OY Group

Discounted tickets are on sale now through April 20, 2020. For more details,

Sponsorship packages are available. 2020 Partners include Aon, Bayer Crop Science, Bryan Cave Layton Paisner, Thompson Coburn, Tech Accel, KWS, Alliance STL, Ameren Missouri, Benson Hill, Clayco, Lewis and Clark Ventures, Missouri Technology Corporation, Open Prairie, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, Posinelli, BioSTL, CoBank, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Ventas and Wexford Science + Technology.

The Danforth Center is organizing the event with Keynote Events, a boutique global network of events professionals that is committed to creating world-class events for the most innovative markets. The Danforth Plant Science Center’s primary concern is and will always be the safety of our employees, guests and colleagues. We are cognizant of the fact that COVID-19 is impacting travel and attendance at public events around the globe. While we are pushing ahead with the planning and preparations for AgTech NEXT, we will, if necessary provide a refund to anyone who cannot attend due to this health situation.

About Impossible Foods

Based in California’s Silicon Valley, Impossible Foods makes delicious, nutritious meat and dairy products from plants – with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat form animals. The privately-held company was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D.  Investors include Khosia Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizon Ventures, UBS, Viking Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing Capital, and Open Philanthropy Project.

About the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment, and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.