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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The defending champion and favorite remains the chicken wing. But underdog snacks like the carrot are trying to elbow their way into the competition. Leif Parsons for NPR; Source: whologwhy/Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Leif Parsons for NPR; Source: whologwhy/Flickr

Cattle in holding pens at the Simplot feedlot located next to a slaughterhouse in Burbank, Washington on Dec. 26, 2013. Merck & Co Inc is testing lower dosages of its controversial cattle growth drug Zilmax drug in an effort to resume its sales to the $44 billion U.S. beef industry. Ross Courtney/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Ross Courtney/Reuters/Landov

Workers prepare burritos at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in New York. The restaurant chain has stopped serving pork in about one-third of its U.S. locations. Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis

After a turn in the tumbling machine, these conventional russet Burbank potatoes are starting to show signs of bruising. New GMO potatoes called Innate russet Burbanks have been bred not to bruise as easily as these. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Charles/NPR

The city of Des Moines, Iowa, sits on the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. The city's water works says it will sue three neighboring counties for high nitrate levels in these waterways. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

These "enriched cages" from the JS West farm in Atwater, Calif., in 2011 comply with the state's new law. They are larger and allow chickens to perch and lay eggs in enclosed spaces. Jill Benson/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jill Benson/AP

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