2013 Fellows & Editors


Below are short biographies of the 2013 Food Fellows and links to their published stories.

Cynthia Graber, Somerville, Massachusetts @cagraber

Cynthia is a science writer and radio producer and a recent Knight Fellow at MIT. She has written for Scientific American, Smithsonian.com, the Boston Globe, BBC and Slate among others. Her radio work has broadcast on Studio 360, The World, Scientific AmericanLatino USA, and The Open Notebook podcast.

Cynthia’s fellowship story on the use of probiotics to increase agricultural production was published by PBS’s NovaNext in June 2014. Read her piece, The Next Green Revolution May Rely on Microbes,” here

The radio version of story was aired by PRI’s The World on July 2, 2014. Listen here.

A Spanish language version of her piece was published in the Columbian newspaper El Spactador on July 27, 2014. Read it here. 

In 2014, Cynthia co-founded Gastropod, a new podcast that looks at food through the lens of science and history with fellow Nicola Twilley. Listen to the episode they did about the microbiome of agriculture and probiotics for soil.

Lauren Markham, Oakland, California @LaurenMarkham_

Lauren is a journalist who reports on immigrants and underrepresented communities. Her work has appeared in This American Life, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, High Country News, Orion Magazine and Vice Magazine. She is also the community programs manager at the Oakland Unified School District Refugee & Asylum Student Assistance Program at Oakland International High School. Lauren’s fellowship story about unaccompanied teenagers from Central America harvesting produce in California’s Central Valley was published in VICE Magazine in March 2014. Read her piece,  “The Lost Boys of California,” here. She also wrote a story on migrant farmworker families who had been released by ICE, and the drought’s impact on them, in Pacific Standard. Read it here, “Scorched.”

Lauren’s in depth, investigative story in VICE broke months before the issue of unaccompanied minors became major national news on the front pages of every national newspaper and the cause of political fights in Washington. The story was viewed more than 32,000 times online and widely shared on social media. After her VICE story came out, Lauren got a book agent and in May 2015, she sold a book about unaccompanied Central American migrants to Crown. The book, titled The Faraway Brothers, got glowing reviews everywhere, including the New York Times.

Bridget Huber, Berkeley, California @bridgethuber 

Bridget is a print and radio reporter working at the intersections of science, food and public health. Her work has appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, The American Prospect, GOOD, The Associated Press and other publications. She has a master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Bridget’s fellowship story about a pair of lawyers and their lawsuits against industrial pork producers over stink was published in the May/June 2014 issue of Mother Jones. Read her piece “Law and Odor: How to Take Down a Terrible-Smelling Hog Farm,” here.

Lisa M. Hamilton, Marin County, CA, @HamiltonLisaM 

Lisa focuses her writing and photography on agriculture and rural communities around the world. She is the author of Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness, and her work has also been published in magazines including Harper’sMcSweeney’s, Orion, and California Sunday. Her 2014 article “The Quinoa Quarrel” won the James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for writing on Food Politics, Policy and the Environment.

Lisa’s fellowship story about open source seeds was published in the summer 2014 issue of Virginia Quarterly Review. Read her piece, “Linux for Lettuce,” here. The article was chosen by Houghton & Mifflin for The Best American Science & Nature Writing 2015.

Nicola Twilley, Los Angeles, California @nicolatwilley

Nicola is a contributing writer at The New Yorker, co-host of the Gastropod podcast, and author of the blog Edible Geography.

Nicola’s fellowship story about the refrigeration boom in China was published in the New York Times Magazine on July 25, 2014. Read her piece, “The Price of Cold.” She is now writing a book exploring the global landscape of artificial refrigeration and its transformative effects for Penguin Press, tentatively titled “The Birth of Cool” (Winter 2019). She is also co-author of a narrative nonfiction book about quarantine forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Following the fellowship, Nicola co-founded Gastropod, an award-winning and popular podcast that looks at food through the lens of science and history with fellow Cynthia Graber.

Heather Tirado Gilligan, Oakland, California, @HeatherGilligan

Heather is senior editor at Timeline. She’s recently reported on WIC and nutritional studies for Slate, school lunches for Modern Farmer and other topics for publications including The Nation and Huffington Post. Heather is a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism. 

Heather’s fellowship story on poverty’s effects on people’s health was published by Slate in February 2014. Read her piece, “Food Deserts Aren’t the Problem,” here.


JACK HITT is the author of a new book, Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character. Most days, he’s a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. He occasionally contributes to the public radio program, This American Life. His book, Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain, was made into a motion picture, “The Way,” directed by Emilio Estévez and starring Martin Sheen. His work has won the Peabody, Livingston and Pope Awards. His Harper’s report on American anthropology was selected for a collection of the best science writing of the past 25 years, The Best of the Best of American Science Writing. His work also appears in Harper’s, Rolling Stone and Wired. He is currently touring a one-man show, “Making Up the Truth”–a series of his slightly incredible real-life stories woven in with the contemporary brain science that nearly answers the question, “Is any of this true?”

ALAN BURDICK is a senior editor at The New Yorker and a contributing editor for OnEarth, where he writes the Synthesist column about technology and nature. Alan’s writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, GQ, Discover, OnEarth, Best American Science and Nature Writing, and elsewhere. He also has served widely as an editor, including at The New York Times Magazine, Discover, and The Sciences. A former Guggenheim fellow, Alan has received the AAAS Westinghouse prize for magazine feature writing and was a co-recipient of the Olive Branch Award for coverage of international security issues. Alan’s first nonfiction book, Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion, was a National Book Award finalist and won the Overseas Press Club Award for environmental reporting.


MICHAEL POLLAN is the author of seven books, including Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all New York Times bestsellers. A longtime contributor to the New York Times Magazine, he is also the Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley. In 2010, Time Magazine named Michael one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

MALIA WOLLAN is a contributing writer for the New York Times. Her work appears in The New York Times Magazine, Fast Company, The Wall Street JournalHarper’s, National Public Radio, New York Magazine, the Associated Press, PBS’s Frontline/World and elsewhere. She is a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and an editor at Meatpaper magazine.