National Geographic • March 8, 2018
Peer into the future of what we eat, and you will encounter many questions about what will happen to our meals. As the world’s population climbs above 9 billion by mid-century, our food needs will grow by 70 percent. How do we meet them without mowing down every forest or without resorting to industrial agriculture, which the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has cited as the most significant contributor to climate change? How do we maintain soil health, and keep it from washing away, so that crops can thrive? These questions get into murky territory. But here’s one thing that’s clear: Dinner in 50 years won’t look much like dinner today. Continue reading “Menu of the Future: Insects, Weeds, and Bleeding Veggie Burgers”
National Geographic magazine • February 2018
Watching Jiang Wannian and Ping Cuixiang harvest a sixth of an acre of daikon seed in the north-central province of Gansu feels a little like traveling back in time.
In a dry valley ringed by dusky mountains, on a brick-paved lot, Jiang drives a rusted tractor over a hip-deep mound of dried plants. As they crush down, Ping, Jiang’s wife, plunges a homemade pitchfork into the straw and arranges it for another pass. Eventually Jiang and Ping work side by side, wiry figures with tawny skin. It’s hot, but they are swaddled in clothes to protect themselves from the dust and the sun. They have handsome faces, taut and lined from years of laboring outdoors, and they turn them skyward as they throw fine chaff up and watch ruddy seed rain down. This rhythm continues for hours. In a singsong voice Ping encourages the wind, murmuring, “Blow, blow!” Machines can do this work in minutes, but they are too expensive for Jiang and Ping. Instead they still thresh the daikon by hand, just as farmers did centuries ago. Continue reading “How China Plans to Feed 1.4 Billion Growing Appetites”
“The Plate,” National Geographic • Nov. 1, 2016
Researchers angling to solve America’s food waste problem are taking cues from Instagram and developing an app to measure food waste from your food pictures.
Continue reading “To See Food Waste in a New Way, Start With Your Plate”
“The Plate,” National Geographic • Aug. 15, 2016
“What are you taking with you to eat?”
This was not the question I was expecting from April, my editor here at The Plate, when I told her I’d be reporting in China this month.
Continue reading “I’ll Have What They’re Having, China Edition”