Food for 9 Billion

Some Indian farmers are returning to traditional seeds to protect their crops from drought, floods, and salty soils brought by climate change. Photo by Sam Eaton for Homelands Productions.

A multi-platform project exploring the challenge of keeping ourselves fed at a time of rapid social and environmental change. Forty radio and television features from 25 countries, plus an interactive map and timeline, animated video, teaching materials, blog, and social media. Produced by Homelands Productions and The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and broadcast on Marketplace, PBS NewsHour, and PRI’s The World from 2011 to 2013.

Homelands produced the radio pieces; CIR produced the videos. For CIR's project page, click here. The interactive map and timeline were created with help from students and staff at Cornell University. The educational materials were developed by Ellie Rice of Franklin & Marshall College.

Alt Meat Lunch (8:31) | Jon Miller | August 2, 2013 | PRI's The World
As global demand for animal protein surges, so do the environmental costs of producing it. Researchers in the Netherlands are exploring alternatives, from lab-grown burgers to edible insects to meat analogs made from plants. But will people eat them?

Foraged Lunch (6:42) | Joshua McNichols | July 31, 2013 | PRI's The World
Squirrel on a bed of nettles, anyone? In Seattle and other U.S. cities, a movement is growing to bring foraging from the margins to the mainstream as a hedge against climate change and food insecurity.

Intensive Lunch (7:39) | Sam Eaton | July 25, 2013 | PRI's The World
Indian farmers say a novel way of growing crops is breaking global yield records while using less seed, water, and chemical inputs. Some scientists are skeptical.

Recycled Lunch (7:32) | Bianca Vazquez Toness | July 15, 2013 | PRI's The World
Synthetic fertilizer is a major emitter of greenhouse gas. In India, some farmers are now feeding their crops with human waste. It's better for the climate, and with more than a billion producers, there’s plenty to go around. But is it safe?

Low-Water Lunch (6:20) | Mary Kay Magistad | July 8, 2013 | PRI's The World
A Chinese engineer claims to have developed a new irrigation method that’s twice as efficient as today’s best technology. Can it help solve one of China’s biggest food production challenges?

Carbon-Neutral Lunch (7:24) | Sam Eaton | July 1, 2013 | PRI's The World
Since announcing that it would become the world’s first carbon-neutral country, Costa Rica has been a laboratory for reducing the climate impact of agriculture.

Aquaponic Lunch (6:28) | Jon Miller | June 27, 2013 | PRI's The World
Aquaponics is a recirculating system for raising fish and vegetables that uses less land, water, and chemicals than traditional methods. For years it has attracted hobbyists but few others. A Ugandan entrepreneur thinks its time has finally come.

Vegan Lunch (5:40) | Mary Kay Magistad | June 24, 2013 | PRI's The World
Meat consumption in China is soaring, as are the greenhouse gas emissions that meat production causes. But there is a counter trend – an incipient vegan movement in the country’s big cities.

Alt Staple Lunch (6:41) | Sam Eaton | June 20, 2013 | PRI's The World
Centuries ago, Spanish priests in Mexico banned hardy, super-nutritious amaranth because of its use in pagan rituals. Now with corn yields topping out, the ancient staple is preparing for a comeback.

Desert Lunch (6:14) | Jon Miller | June 17, 2013 | PRI's The World
In the desert of Qatar, scientists and engineers are working to transform “what we have enough of” – sand, sunlight, sea water, and CO2 – into “what we need more of” – energy, fresh water, and food.

California Looks to Milk China’s Growing Dairy Demand (9:45) | Serene Fang & Susanne Rust | June 14, 2013 | PBS NewsHour
As U.S. demand falls, California dairies are finding new markets in China. That may make sense for the industry, at least for now. But what about the planet?

GMO Lunch? (7:22) | Jon Miller | June 13, 2013 | PRI's The World
Scientists in the U.S. and Uganda have developed genetically engineered cassava plants that resist two devastating viral diseases. Are GMOs a gift for African farmers or a Trojan horse?

Farmers in India Find Promise in Ancient Seeds (8:49) | Sam Eaton | June 13, 2013 | PBS NewsHour
Despite the yield gains of modern rice seeds, many farmers in India are sticking with locally adapted traditional varieties, which do better in drought, flooding, and salty soil. Does the strategy make sense?

In Search for Food, Singapore Looks Skyward (6:52) | Sam Eaton | June 12, 2013 | PBS NewsHour
In Singapore, inventor Jack Ng has designed the world’s first low-carbon, water-driven, rotating vertical farm. Can it be a model for the world’s growing cities?

Could Agriculture Bloom in the Desert? (8:39) | Jon Miller | June 11, 2013 | PBS NewsHour
Petroleum-rich Qatar has welcomed innovators seeking solutions to the challenges facing desert areas worldwide, from renewable energy to fresh water to food production.

No-Waste Lunch (6:26) | Mary Kay Magistad | June 10, 2013 | PRI's The World
In a country where cleaning your plate is taboo, wasting less food (and recycling what isn’t used) will require major cultural changes.

Costa Rica Farmers See Value in Biodiversity (8:45) | Sam Eaton | June 10, 2013 | PBS NewsHour
Scientists in Costa Rica are finding that biodiversity on and around farms can increase yields, lower input needs, and provide protection against environmental stresses.

Cafeteria Lunch (6:31) | Jon Miller | June 6, 2013 | PRI's The World
Some of the biggest players in the “sustainable food” movement are food service companies with the buying power to change the way millions of people eat every day.

Vertical Lunch (5:50) | Sam Eaton | June 5, 2013 | PRI’s The World
Crowded, tiny Singapore imports more than 90 percent of its food. Jack Ng says the best way to change that is to look up.

Taking the Climate Fight to the Table (6:52) | Jon Miller | December 17, 2012 | Marketplace
Low-emissions cooking aims to slow global warming, one plate at a time. A celebrated Baltimore chef and an expert in climate-friendly cuisine join forces on a holiday meal.

China Strains to Satisfy Demand For Meat (10:54) | Mary Kay Magistad | November 13, 2012 | PBS NewsHour
China’s growing appetite for meat and dairy is driving big changes in everything from farming to food safety.

Greece's Diet Crisis (7:26) | Jon Miller | October 29, 2012 | Marketplace
The traditional diet on the island of Crete is one of the healthiest in the world. Trouble is, almost nobody follows it any more. And obesity rates are soaring, especially among kids.

In Africa, a Supermarket Sweepstakes (8:05) | Gretchen Wilson | September 26, 2012 | Marketplace
The spread of modern grocery chains could lift millions of African farmers out of poverty – or it could ruin them.

Spilled and Spoiled: Exploring Two Worlds of Food Waste (3:19) | Jori Lewis | August 27, 2012 | Marketplace
We waste enormous amounts of land, water, labor, and fuel producing food that's never eaten. How we limit the losses depends on where we live. In Part 1, we visit small-scale milk producers in Senegal.

Spilled and Spoiled: In the U.S., Consumers are the Food Wasters (4:17) | Adriene Hill | August 27, 2012 | Marketplace
In Part 2 of our look at global food waste and losses, Adriene Hill reports on efforts to keep good milk out of the garbage in California.

The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers (7:52) | Carrie Ching, Arthur Jones & Sarah Terri-Cobo | August 2, 2012
Americans love hamburgers – they're filling, tasty and cheap. But what we pay at the counter is only part of the story.

Vietnam Fish Farms Search for Future-Friendly Formula (8:33) | Sam Eaton | July 23, 2012 | Marketplace
As world demand for protein soars, scientists and fish producers look to lessen the impact of factory farming.

Re-Greening the Sahel (10:41) | Fred de Sam Lazaro | July 12, 2012 | PBS NewsHour
In Niger, farmers race to reclaim the desert and break the link between drought and famine.

Graying Farmers Force Japan to Rethink Food System (8:48) | Sam Eaton | June 12, 2012 | PBS NewsHour
With its farmers aging, Japan grapples with a thorny question: Who will grow our food in the future?

Soil is Ground Zero in African Farming Debate (6:40) | Jori Lewis | June 4, 2012 | Marketplace
Farmers in Ghana face tough choices in the search for a fertility boost.

Grassroots Movement Tackles India Water Crisis (8:20) | Jon Miller | May 4, 2012 | Marketplace
Fast-growing India is pumping its aquifers dry. “Water Man” Rajendra Singh says solutions will come from the ground up.

Brazil Delivers on Hunger Promise (7:00) | Cecilia Vaisman | April 4, 2012 | Marketplace
In 2003, the Brazilian government declared that food was a basic human right. Then it found that ending hunger takes a lot more than a declaration.

Business Fund Puts African Farmers on Road to Market (9:20) | Fred de Sam Lazaro | April 3, 2012 | PBS NewsHour
A start-up in East Africa gives small-scale producers the tools they need to compete – and business is booming.

In Ethiopia, a Battle for Land and Water (7:17) | Cassandra Herrman & Beth Hoffman | February 28, 2012 | PBS NewsHour
A controversial resettlement program in Ethiopia is the latest battleground in the global race for farmland and water.

Bangladesh Farmers Confront New Climate Reality (7:27) | Jon Miller | February 27, 2012 | Marketplace
Bangladesh has made dramatic progress in feeding its people. Can it stop a changing climate from erasing the gains?

Philippines: Too Many Mouths? (8:36) | Sam Eaton | January 23, 2012 | Marketplace
Once a leading rice producer, the Philippines can no longer feed itself. That leaves two options: increase supply or try to do something about demand.

Turning the Population Tide (9:55) | Sam Eaton | January 23, 2012 | PBS NewsHour
When Filipino fishing families got access to birth control, the effects were dramatic: more food, kids in school, and a new will to defend their reefs.

Egypt's Growing Pains (7:32) | Sandy Tolan | December 30, 2011 | Marketplace
More than one million Egyptian farmers have quit the land in the last 20 years, reshaping the country’s physical and political landscape.

In Egypt, Food for a Revolution (9:30) | Sandy Tolan | November 29, 2011 | PBS NewsHour
Egyptians used to grow nearly all their own food. Today, the country relies on imports. The people on the street aren’t happy.

The Complexities of Famine (7:14) | Scott Tong | November 14, 2011 | Marketplace
Somalia and Ethiopia have been through the worst drought in decades. Why are thousands dying on one side of the border and hardly any on the other?

Food for 9 Billion: The Scientific Challenge (9:18) | Jon Miller | November 13, 2011 | Marketplace
Nearly every prescription for feeding the world says we need to invest more money in science. What's that money going to get us?

The Global Potluck | Chris Brookes & Jon Miller | November 13, 2011 | Marketplace
Think of the global food system as a big potluck dinner. What strikes you first is abundance. But look in the kitchen and you start to see problems. (Audio included in "The Scientific Challenge" above.)


Back to Top