Dan Charles i i
Maggie Starbard/NPR
Dan Charles
Maggie Starbard/NPR

Dan Charles

Correspondent, Food and Agriculture

Dan Charles is NPR's food and agriculture correspondent.

Primarily responsible for covering farming and the food industry, Charles focuses on the stories of culture, business, and the science behind what arrives on your dinner plate.

This is his second time working for NPR; from 1993 to 1999, Charles was a technology correspondent at NPR. He returned in 2011.

During his time away from NPR, Charles was an independent writer and radio producer and occasionally filled in at NPR on the Science and National desks, and at Weekend Edition. Over the course of his career Charles has reported on software engineers in India, fertilizer use in China, dengue fever in Peru, alternative medicine in Germany, and efforts to turn around a troubled school in Washington, DC.

In 2009-2010, he taught journalism in Ukraine through the Fulbright program. He has been guest researcher at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and a Knight Science Journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

From 1990 to 1993, Charles was a U.S. correspondent for New Scientist, a major British science magazine.

The author of two books, Charles wrote Master Mind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, The Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare (Ecco, 2005) and Lords of the Harvest: Biotech, Big Money, and the Future of Food (Perseus, 2001) about the making of genetically engineered crops.

Charles graduated magna cum laude from American University with a degree in economics and international affairs. After graduation Charles spent a year studying in Bonn, which was then part of West Germany, through the German Academic Exchange Service.

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Cows rotate in the milking parlor at Fair Oaks Farms, a large-scale dairy and tourist attraction, near Rensselaer, Ind. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Charles/NPR

The Cornucopia Institute commissioned this photo of an organic egg producer in Saranac, Mich. According to Cornucopia, the facility is owned by Herbruck's Poultry Ranch, which has a license to maintain up to 1 million chickens on this site. Courtesy of The Cornucopia Institute hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of The Cornucopia Institute

Mattheos Koffas (left), a biochemical engineer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Andrew Jones, a graduate student in his lab, with a flask of microbe-produced antioxidants. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Charles/NPR

Samples of carrots cooked three ways are placed on a table for the kids at Walker-Jones Educational Campus, in Washington, D.C., to sample after they have finished lunch. The crowd favorite will later end up on the school lunch menu. Claire Eggers/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Claire Eggers/NPR

An apiary on the outskirts of Chengdu, China, produces about 440 pounds of honey a day. American honey importers say they suspect the uptick in honey coming from Turkey actually originated in China. Liu Jin /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Liu Jin /AFP/Getty Images

A tiny selection of the flavor compounds in pumpkin and pumpkin-pie spices is enough to make our brain think, "Ah, pumpkin pie!" when we drink a pumpkin pie latte. Ashley MacKinnon/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Ashley MacKinnon/Flickr

A global positioning receiver on the top of a combine harvester at a farm in Warwick, Md., in June. The equipment uses sensors and computers to help drive the combine along the route where the crops were planted, judge the composition of a crop and generate crop yield reports. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

These wooden tokens are handed out to shoppers who use SNAP benefits to purchase fresh produce at the Crossroads Farmers Market near Takoma Park, Md. Customers receive tokens worth twice the amount of money withdrawn from their SNAP benefits card — in other words, they get "double bucks." Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Charles/NPR

Pinatas are among the new generation of club apples — varieties that are not just patented, but also trademarked and controlled in such a way that only a select "club" of farmers can sell them. Stemilt Growers LLC hide caption

itoggle caption Stemilt Growers LLC

Sourdough loaves made by Fromartz with a bolted white flour from Anson Mills in South Carolina that he says reminded him of the wheat he'd tasted in southern France. Samuel Fromartz hide caption

itoggle caption Samuel Fromartz