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Joseph Erbentraut
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Joseph Erbentraut covers promising innovations and challenges in the areas of food and water. In addition, they explore the evolving ways Americans are identifying and defining themselves.

They have been writing ever since their middle-school launch of the Sixth Grade Times, which offered in-depth coverage of school-wide assemblies, birthday parties and breaking playground gossip. Overseeing a staff of five with an angsty teenage fist, they sold issues for a dime apiece and caused quite a stir with one particular series of bag-lunch exposes.

A decade later, Erbentraut earned a B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and moved shortly thereafter to Chicago, where they have lived ever since.

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Entries by Joseph Erbentraut

Organic Farming Could Feed The World, If Only We Would Let It

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2016 | 12:44 PM

When it comes to organic farming, many in the agricultural industry are on board in theory, if not in practice. And that’s largely because of low crop yields.

For many years, the prevailing perception has been that organic farming — which avoids synthetic pesticides...

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Your Queer Loved Ones Just Lost 49 Family Members. Be Patient With Them.

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2016 | 3:30 PM

It already feels so long ago. And yet, at the same time, like it just happened minutes ago.

When I woke up to news of the shooting deaths of what initially were thought to be “about 20” victims at Pulse nightclub, a gay bar hosting...

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The Reason We Waste So Much Food Is Because We Love Our Families Too Much

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2016 | 3:31 PM

If there’s one thing Americans do better than pretty much anyone else, it's putting perfectly good, edible food to waste.

An estimated 30-40 percent of food that is grown, harvested, processed and transported to retailers in this country ultimately goes uneaten. And all...

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Portland, Oregon, Has A Lead Problem. Kids Are Paying The Price.

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2016 | 3:45 PM

Students in Portland Public Schools, the largest school district in Oregon, haven't taken a drink from a water fountain in almost two weeks.

That’s because all the district's fountains have been shut off since May 27, after PPS announced that high levels of lead had...

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Are Drought Truthers The New Climate Change Deniers?

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2016 | 2:38 PM

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has said some incredibly questionable and inaccurate things over the course of his campaign for the White House. But his comments last month on the California drought may have hit a new low, at least as far as science is...

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The Hidden Cost Of Cheap Pizza

(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2016 | 3:35 PM

If you’re tuned into the politics of food and the influence that large corporations can have on public policy, you’re probably familiar with the term Big Food by now. And Big Ag. And don’t forget Big Soda.

But you probably haven’t heard about another powerful...

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Why Eating Better Starts With Changing Our Work Habits

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 12:52 PM

What would you say are the defining characteristics of the American eater?

If you look at our obesity rates, they'd suggest we’re mostly overeaters. But beyond that, the question is tougher.

It’s not so much that we lack a U.S. food personality...

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This Texas City Has Gone Without Safe Tap Water For Almost 2 Weeks

(1) Comments | Posted May 24, 2016 | 1:34 PM

The nickname of Corpus Christi, Texas -- the eighth largest city in the state by population, and one of the 60 largest cities in the U.S. -- is the Sparkling City by the Sea.

It's not a terribly apt nickname right now.


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House GOP Is Determined To Make It Harder For Poor Kids To Get Free School Lunches

(1) Comments | Posted May 18, 2016 | 10:38 AM

House Republicans appear determined to advance an aggressive rollback of a program credited with helping low-income children get free school lunches.

The Committee on Education and the Workforce on Wednesday advanced a child nutrition reauthorization bill introduced by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Indiana) to the House floor. The...

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It's Disturbingly Common For Americans To Go Days Without Safe Drinking Water

(1) Comments | Posted May 13, 2016 | 4:58 PM

On April 19, Brian Power woke up to a big problem.

A 12-inch water main had burst open at 4:15 a.m. near the Cougar Country Drive-In, the restaurant he manages in Pullman, Washington.

The main break had dumped several hundred thousand gallons of water...

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If 'The Biggest Loser' Doesn't Work, Why Is It Still On The Air?

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2016 | 11:50 AM

By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines all over your News Feed.

Last week, a study published in the journal Obesity found that all but one of the former contestants researchers tracked from the first through eighth seasons of NBC’s “The...

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Here's What Happens When You Ask Your Parents How They Really Feel

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 8:17 PM

My family and I have always been strong proponents of what others have called Midwestern Nice.

We've always, for the most part, gotten along. When I think back to growing up in my parents' house, few major conflicts come to mind. Even my only brother, Jake, and I...

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Farm Workers Are Taking On Poor Pay And Conditions -- And Winning

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 1:50 PM

By now, the message of the food movement has rung loud and clear -- eat your vegetables, eat local and get to know your local farmers.

Largely left out of those conversations are many of the workers employed by those local farmers who are responsible...

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Millennial Farmers Fight An Uphill Battle. It's Time To Support Them.

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 3:12 PM

American agriculture has a big problem to deal with. And there’s no easy fix on the table.

According to the most recent data from the Department of Agriculture, the average age of an American farmer is 58 years old, and that number has...

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Comida de laboratório: A ciência pode nos ajudar a alimentar o mundo

(0) Comments | Posted April 19, 2016 | 5:42 PM


O professor Mark Post mostra o primeiro hambúrguer de carne desenvolvido em laboratório, apresentado em um evento em 5 de agosto de 2013. Post é apenas um entre muitos cientistas que trabalham para inovar os alimentos que comemos.

Em um laboratório em uma universidade na Holanda,...

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You Don't Have To Go Vegan To Eat Way More Sustainably

(0) Comments | Posted April 19, 2016 | 2:35 PM

We've known for some time now that eating meat is putting a massive strain on our planet.

But if you want to take steps to reduce the carbon footprint of your dinner, it’s not necessary to eliminate animal products...

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Guys, Gwyneth Paltrow Is in on the Joke

(7) Comments | Posted April 18, 2016 | 10:15 AM

Is there a more convenient proverbial punching bag than Gwyneth Paltrow?

Paltrow has achieved more success in more fields than most of us could conjure in even our wildest dreams. She's an Oscar winner. She's at the helm of Goop, initially just a newsletter and now a successful...

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Support For GMOs Rises With Education Level

(1) Comments | Posted April 13, 2016 | 3:46 PM

With major food companies like General Mills, Kellogg and ConAgra set to introduce new labeling that identifies products containing genetically-modified organisms, the controversial issue is back on the table.

Advocates for labeling GMOs won the most recent legislative battle in Congress, shelving industry-backed legislation...

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Tyson Foods CEO Does The Right Thing For No Good Scientific Reason

(0) Comments | Posted April 12, 2016 | 3:48 PM

A much-noted move by the nation’s largest poultry provider to drastically reduce its use of human antibiotics in chickens apparently has little to do with the prevailing science that links such usage to antibiotic resistance in people.

At least, Tyson Foods' CEO managed to...

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This Is Why It's Racist To Call 'Ethnic' Restaurants 'Gross'

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2016 | 1:26 PM

If someone were to walk up to you on the street and ask what type of food is most likely to give you food poisoning, what would you say?

Well, if your answer falls under the umbrella of "ethnic" food, it's fair to say that...

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