Published: Sept. 16, 2020 By

Daniel WithaarMeet Daniela Withaar, a senior at CU Boulder studying Business Administration and Environmental Studies with a Entrepreneurial Studies Certificate through the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship!

While passionate about sustainability, Daniela sought to make a change in the world through her studies. Before college, Daniela worked at Greenpeace, the world’s largest environmental organization based in Washington, D.C. While working on a palm oil campaign, she discovered the large role that businesses play in the supply chain and it inspired her to choose business and environment as her focus at CU Boulder.

Going vegan…

In 2014, Daniela made a pledge to go vegan for animal rights and welfare reasons. When she first became vegan, she was worried about giving up so many of the foods that she grew up loving. But after a while, she began realizing that there were amazing meat and dairy alternatives available in stores. With the varieties ranging from vegan milk, alternative meats, and cheeses, she discovered that she really didn't have to give up anything!

According to Daniela, the U.S. plant-based food industry is valued at five billion dollars and is growing rapidly with new brands launching daily. Inspired to help accelerate the shift toward a more sustainable and humane food supply, Daniela wanted to use her marketing degree to spread awareness on alternative proteins. 

The Boulder Alt. Protein Project

“Alternative protein includes plant-based products such as the Impossible and Beyond Burger, as well as the emerging field of cultivated meat which focuses on growing real animal muscle cells in a lab to produce cruelty-free and environmentally-friendly meat. Our club is an inclusive space to discover how individual interests and skills intersect with the alternative protein space in order to help students plan future careers that will help to transform the future of food.” - Daniela Withaar

Earlier this year, two CU Boulder students, Allison McKay and Ben Richardson, started the CU Cellular Agriculture Club, which later became the Boulder Alt. Protein Project. The Boulder Alt. Protein Project is an initiative supported by the Good Food Institute. Allison has since left the project and gone on to work for Memphis Meats, a leading Cell-Ag company. 

As the project's Chief Marketing Officer, Daniela manages their social media and is responsible for email marketing, graphic design, and web development. Building awareness for the project and the alternative protein industry is a key part of her role. The team works closely to support the development of a healthy, humane, and sustainable food system. By cultivating a community that is excited about alternative proteins, the club aims to make Boulder an even bigger hub for the innovation and commercialization of alternative proteins. The industry needs more talent and with all the innovative and passionate students across CU Boulder, the Boulder Alt. Protein Project wants more business students to get involved!

BoulderAltProteinProjectHow can you get involved?

Students can join by filling out this google form. You can also connect by following their social media or subscribing to their email list. They are also currently looking for an unpaid student leader to become the project's Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation to lead the entrepreneurship committee. If you are interested, send them an email at boulderaltpro@colorado.edu

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @boulderaltpro

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-boulder-alt-protein-project/ 

Also, join the team in hearing from Tyler Huggins, CEO and founder of Meati Foods via Zoom on November 5th! FYI, Meati Foods created the first fungi-based steak.

Advice for current students

Daniela offered this piece of advice to students,

“Find out what you’re passionate about and focus on that. Reaching out to organizations and companies helped me tremendously. One message can turn into a whole new journey or experience!”

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