Dan Charles 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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Just Mayo looks like mayonnaise and tastes like mayonnaise but contains no eggs. That's ruffled the feathers of the egg industry. Courtesy of Hampton Creek hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Hampton Creek

Almonds hang from a branch at an orchard in Firebaugh, Calif. Despite the strain of prolonged drought, in 2014, California farms sold $54 billion worth of crops like almonds or grapes, and animal products like milk. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ah, sugar — we love the sweetness, but not the calories. For more than a century, food technologists have been on a quest for the perfect, guilt-free substitute. The latest candidate, allulose, is not available to consumers in a crystal form: It is a syrup only available to manufacturers. Ryan Kellman/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ryan Kellman/NPR

In the years before the drought began, Australia carried out a giant reset of its water rights. First, the government put a cap on the total amount of water available for farmers. Then, farmers received shares of that total supply. Martin Benik/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Martin Benik/Corbis

Young pigs stare out of a pen at a hog farm in North Dakota. In coming months, consumers will start to see a new label on some packages of pork: Produced "without the use of ractopamine." Will Kincaid/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Will Kincaid/AP

A clampdown on contamination in growing fields has pushed out wildlife and destroyed habitats. Adam Cole/NPR hide caption

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Final inspection of frozen blueberries at the Atlantic Blueberry Co. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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The hard part of making an egg replacement product is coming up with a substitute for the protein in egg whites. Wilson Hui/Flickr hide caption

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Lee Perry-Gal measures chicken long bones at the zooarchaeology lab, Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa. Courtesy of Guy Bar-Oz hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Guy Bar-Oz

Cottage cheese peaked in the early 1970s, when the average American ate about 5 pounds of it per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. iStockphoto hide caption

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Historic yogurt-making cultures held by Mirjana Curic-Bawden. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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A bumblebee collects pollen from a flower. New evidence suggests climate change has left bumblebees with a shrinking range of places to live. Yuri Kadobnovy/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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