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 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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"Who Gets Kissed" corn is a variety bred in Wisconsin specifically for organic farmers. It's named for an old game. At corn husking time, a lucky person who found a rare ear of corn with red kernels had the right to kiss anyone that he or she chose. Courtesy of Adrienne Shelton hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Adrienne Shelton

Pam Marrone (right), founder and CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations, inspects some colonies of microbes. Marrone has spent most of her professional life prospecting for microbial pesticides and bringing them to market. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Whole Foods says its new rating system is a way to talk to farmers and customers about issues that the organic rules don't encompass, like water, energy, labor and waste. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Central Illinois corn and soybean farmer Tim Seifert loads his field planter with Syngenta insecticide while planting seed corn in 2011. Monsanto has made a bid to buy Syngenta for its pesticide business. Seth Perlman/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Seth Perlman/AP

Tyson Foods says it has already reduced its use of human-use antibiotics by 80 percent over the past four years. Here, Tyson frozen chicken on display at Piazza's market in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2010. Paul Sakuma/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Paul Sakuma/AP