Dan Charles Dan Charles is NPR's food and agriculture correspondent.
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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Story Archive

Ray Vester served on the Arkansas State Plant Board for 18 years. "It's self-governing, by the people, for the people," he says. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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These Citizen-Regulators In Arkansas Defied Monsanto. Now They're Under Attack

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Rebecka Ortiz offers her daughter a pasta sample at the store where she was using her food stamps to stock up on food for her family in Woonsocket, R.I. The Trump administration is proposing drastic changes in the "food stamp" program, now called SNAP. People getting that aid would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy. Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption

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Nigel Raine keeps a collection of wild bees in his laboratory at the University of Guelph, in Canada. Farmed honeybees can compete with wild bees for food, making it harder for wild species to survive. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Honeybees Help Farmers, But They Don't Help The Environment

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Microorganisms play a vital role in growing food and sustaining the planet, but they do it anonymously. Scientists haven't identified most soil microbes, but they are learning which are most common. PeopleImages/Getty Images hide caption

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Scientists Peek Inside The 'Black Box' Of Soil Microbes To Learn Their Secrets

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An engineer shows a sample of biodiesel at an industrial complex in General Lagos, Santa Fe province, Argentina. The United States recently imposed duties on Argentine biodiesel, blocking it from the U.S. market. Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Contradictory consumer demands for food labels are making some food companies re-think their alliance with the industry's traditional lobbying group. miakievy/Getty Images hide caption

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Venison is on the winter menu at Cafe Berlin, in Washington, D.C. In this dish, called Jäger Jäger, the venison schnitzel comes with hazelnut spätzle, sautéed mushrooms, and cream sauce. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Why Is Venison On Expensive Plates And Food Pantry Shelves?

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Roy Miller fills cans with cooked collard greens. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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In A New Deal-Era Cannery, Old Meets New

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Brahman cattle graze in a field in Innisfail, Queensland, Australia. Researchers can estimate the greenhouse gas emissions and land used to produce various foods in different parts of the world. They've used that data to calculate the environmental impact of a shift in what people eat. David Messent/Getty Images hide caption

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Soybean plants, with pods ready for harvest, in Boonsboro, Maryland. Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images hide caption

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The Soybean Is King, Yet Remains Invisible

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A farmer plows his field with an ox-pulled plow in China's Guangxi province. Archaeologists think that domesticated farm animals increased inequality in some ancient societies. Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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From Cattle To Capital: How Agriculture Bred Ancient Inequality

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A neolithic jar from Khramis Didi-Gora, Georgia. The country has long prided itself on its winemaking tradition. A new analysis of ancient Georgian jars confirms that tradition goes back 8,000 years. Courtesy of the Georgian National Museum hide caption

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Georgian Jars Hold 8,000-Year-Old Winemaking Clues

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