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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Inside one of Mastronardi Produce Sunset Grown's greenhouses, tomato vines hang on lines that can be adjusted so that the tomatoes are always at a height that's convenient for harvesting. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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How Canada Became A Greenhouse Superpower

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Tomatoes from Canada, Mexico and Florida Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

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The Search For Tastier Supermarket Tomatoes: A Tale In 3 Acts

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Coming soon: The redesigned nutrition facts label will highlight added sugars in food. The label also will display calories per serving, and serving size, more prominently. U.S. Food and Drug Administration hide caption

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Worker Javier Alcantar tends to crops at the Monsanto Co. test field in Woodland, Calif., in 2012. Noah Berger/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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GMOs Are Safe, But Don't Always Deliver On Promises, Top Scientists Say

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In the past two years, many food companies — including candy-makers — have decided to label their products as non-GMO. Because practically all sugar beets in the U.S. are genetically modified, those food products are now using sugar derived from sugar cane. There is no genetically modified sugar cane. Tetra Images/Getty Images hide caption

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As Big Candy Ditches GMOs, Sugar Beet Farmers Hit A Sour Patch

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A sugar beet. This crop supplies about half of America's sugar. iStockphoto hide caption

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The Environmental Cost Of Growing Food

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Wendell Berry, America's foremost farmer-philosopher, with horses on his farm. Courtesy of Platform Media Group hide caption

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The Gospel According To Wendell Berry, On Screen

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Boxes of white button mushrooms. Scientists have used a popular gene editing tool called CRISPR/Cas9 to snip out a tiny piece of DNA from one particular gene in a white button mushroom. The resulting mushroom doesn't brown when cut. Adam Fagen/Flickr hide caption

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Will Genetically 'Edited' Food Be Regulated? The Case Of The Mushroom

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Seed labels from the J.C. Robinson Seed Co. Courtesy of Rob-See-Co hide caption

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Big Seed: How The Industry Turned From Small-Town Firms To Global Giants

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The modern broiler, or meat chicken, grows incredibly fast. But some critics say the bird — and the flavor of its meat — may suffer as a result. Whole Foods wants all of its suppliers to shift to slower-growing chicken breeds, like this one, seen at Arkansas-based Crystal Lake Farms. Courtesy of Crystal Lake Farms hide caption

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Why Whole Foods Wants A Slower-Growing Chicken

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A mockup of a possible GMO label on a can of Campbell's Spaghetti-Os, with these words: "Partially produced with genetic engineering." Unless Congress or a federal court intervene, Vermont's new GMO labeling law will go into effect in July. So some companies are scrambling to comply. Courtesy of Campbell Soup Company hide caption

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How Little Vermont Got Big Food Companies To Label GMOs

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