Nathanael Johnson

Nathanael Johnson

Thought for food

Nathanael Johnson (@savortooth on Twitter) is Grist's food writer and the author of All Natural: A Skeptic's Quest to Discover If the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing, and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier.


How can we break the cycle of bigger farms and fewer farmers?

A new documentary, Dryland, illustrates the brutal logic of rural depopulation. But the process isn't inevitable.

Ubuntu for aubergines? Apache for patchouli?

Open-source seeds: While they spread shoots, they plant ideas

"Linux For Lettuce," a writer's account of the movement to counter seed patents with open source licenses, gets to the root of a growing problem.

Growing pains

Organic farming is so much harder than just getting stoned and picking tomatoes

"A Farm Dies Once a Year" offers an unretouched look at growing up on an iconic organic farm -- along with some hope for the movement's future.

Resistance is fertile

How we can fight back against herbicide-resistant superweeds

Roundup is losing potency as weeds evolve resistance. Seed companies want to move to other herbicides. Is farming stuck in a spray-rinse-repeat cycle?

Buzz feed

Bees and butterflies get a boost from the feds

A new White House program doesn't have a lot of muscle behind it, but at least it acknowledges the problem of declining pollinator populations.

All-natural selection

When will the vague “natural” food label die?

All-natural Cheetos? Natural butter flavor granules? The natural food label is pretty much meaningless.


Here’s what happens when GMO antagonists get together for a friendly chat

With Monsanto and anti-GMO activists sharing a stage, you might expect fireworks, or illumination, or even both. Instead, this event was almost chummy.

Chicken tender offer

A meat giant gobbles up another meat giant

Tyson will acquire Hillshire Brands -- further concentrating corporate power in the already centralized animal-farm industry.

The Milkweed Factor

Blame industrial ag for those monarch butterfly declines

Why are the monarchs abdicating? More evidence points to the weed-killing pesticides that wipe out the butterflies' favorite food.

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.