Recent Clips from Brazil

  • Fábrica de Gaiteiros keeps the button accordion relevant in southern Brazil, for Deutsche Welle
  • It's Christmas in July weather at Natal Luz de Gramado, for the Washington Post 
  • How fancy gadgetry is revolutionizing migration science, for The Atlantic
  • This tree in Brazil has been around the moon and also to death's door, for Discover
  • On shoe-leather speleology in the Serra Gaucha, for Roads & Kingdoms.
  • Betrayal and coverup: an unseemly chapter in Brazilian history, for Americas Quarterly
  • A farmer in São Paulo defies conventional hops wisdom, for Draft
  • Extinct megafauna left massive burrows all over southern Brazil, for Discover 
  • Bird taxonomy – and picking common names – is tough stuff, for The Atlantic
  • Manioc is Brazil's gift to global cuisine, for Cook's Science
  • My son is bilingual and it's not all roses, for the Washington Post
  • On the campaign trail with Jimmy Carter in rural Brazil, for Roads & Kingdoms
  • Four food/farm/Olympics-related stories (here, here, here and here) from Rio, for Modern Farmer
  • Highway infrastructure gets dragged into Porto Alegre's fierce soccer rivarly, for Atlas Obscura
  • Some of Brazil's running trash collectors become elite marathoners, for the Washington Post

Back Catalogue: A Narrative Portfolio

Before I moved to Brazil, I mostly wrote about farming and food. Since eating is such a fundamental human activity, writing about farming and food is basically a general-assignment reporting dream job. (There were practical reasons that also attracted me: I lived in rural Virginia, surrounded by farms, and I was started into freelancing in the late '00s, when agriculture was beginning to enjoy cachet among the general public and editors with freelance budgets). 

And so, I've done a lot under the guise of farm/food writing. I've written for The Washington Post about a celebrity farmer and designer turkeys. I've reported for Modern Farmer on statistical analysis and The Christian Science Monitor on federal environmental policy. I've done radio stories for WMRA about a grass mysteryimmigrant assimilation and political machinations.

For years, I was a correspondent for Lancaster Farming Newspaper, which allowed me to get deep in the details of more technical farm sorts of stuff, like forage quality and downward-trending somatic cell counts (that's a good direction to be trending in, FYI).

The story I wrote about an Amish guy at the racetrack is really a story about how dollars and cents make opposites attract. This article about big vegetables took a major detour into genetics and stem cell regulation.

Sometimes, writing about farming is pretty much just writing about life on the farm. But sometimes things get zany.

I write lots of other stuff, too. Freelancers can't always be choosers. I ran a blog for a few years about the best little city in the United States. I've done radio stories on gas pipelines and citizenship ceremonies that didn't have any direct tie to food or farming.

My first freelance piece born and bred in Brazil also had nothing to do with food. It was also the first time I'd ever written about American football. My second one had everything to do with food.