iOS app Android app

Joseph Erbentraut
GET UPDATES FROM Joseph Erbentraut
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.

Tips? Email

Entries by Joseph Erbentraut

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...

Read Post

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.


Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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,...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

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...

Read Post

You Won't Believe What Colorado Is About To Legalize

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2016 | 5:05 PM

Colorado is mighty progressive on some issues, but it's the only state in the country with a ban on residential rain barrels. Now, that ban may be on its way out.

In March, the state’s Democrat-controlled House almost unanimously advanced a...

Read Post

How One Tiny Vermont College Is Taking On Big Agriculture

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2016 | 1:25 PM

Nobody knows better than a farmer that big things can grow from tiny seeds. The small state of Vermont has already driven major food producers to adopt GMO labeling nationwide

Next, could a humble, environmentally focused college in that Northeastern state help bring Big...

Read Post

Science Could Help Us Feed The World, If Only We Let It

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2016 | 3:53 PM

At a university lab in the Netherlands, professor Mark Post is working tirelessly to perfect the world’s first lab-grown beef burger. If he is successful, beef lovers the world over will be able to eat a burger that is possibly more environmentally friendly and healthier than...

Read Post

We Know We Should Eat Less Meat, So Why Aren't We Doing It?

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2016 | 1:17 PM

By now, the warnings on meat consumption are pretty clear.

The United States’ over-indulgence in meat is not only bad news for our health, but also for our planet, not to mention the animals themselves. A new study...

Read Post

Potlucks Are Cool Again, And Here's How That's Good News For Your Health

(1) Comments | Posted March 24, 2016 | 1:24 PM

There was a time not too long ago when the word “potluck” conjured images of congealing casseroles with varying levels of warmth piled side-by-side on long tables in musty church basements. For some, this remains the case.

But, newsflash to the uninitiated: Potlucks today appear...

Read Post

The Presidential Candidates Seriously Don't Seem To Care About Our Food Supply

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2016 | 11:56 AM

Last month, we noticed something.

Though various media outlets have reported on how much the presidential candidates’ campaigns have spent on pizza and other fast food, we know little about where the candidates stand on the food and agricultural policy...

Read Post