2017 Fellows & Editors


Below are short biographies of the 2017 Food Fellows. We’ll put up links to their published fellowship stories when they go live.

Joe Wertz, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma @joewertz

Joe Wertz is a senior reporter and managing editor at StateImpact Oklahoma, which investigates how government policy affects people. He reports regularly on energy and environment issues for national NPR audiences and other national outlets, and has recently covered stories ranging from the petroleum-state policy problems posed by crude-funded classrooms and oil and gas-linked earthquakes to prairie chicken sex tapes.

Boyce Upholt, Cleveland, Mississippi @boyceupholt

Boyce Upholt is a freelance writer based in the Mississippi Delta, focusing on stories about how people shape places and places shape people. He was named a 2016 “Writer of the Year” by the International Regional Magazine Association for his work at Mississippi Magazine, and has written for The AtlanticThe New Republic, and Undark Magazine, among other publications. His radio reporting has appeared on WHYY’s “The Pulse.”

Boyce’s fellowship story on Monsanto’s herbicide dicamba was published by The New Republic in December 2018, read it here, “A Killing Season.”

Doug Bock Clark, Durham, North Carolina, @dougbockclark

Doug Bock Clark is a writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, GQ, WIRED, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, and many other publications.  His first book, about the world’s last hunger-gatherer whaling tribe, will be published in 2018 by Little, Brown.  He won the 2017 Reporting Award and was a finalist for the 2016 Mirror Award.  He has been honored with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and two Fulbright Fellowships.  You can find more of his work at www.dougbockclark.com.

Doug’s fellowship story was published in Rolling Stone magazine in March 2018,  read it here “Why is China Treating North Carolina Like the Developing World?”

Sandy Allen, Upstate, New York @sealln

Sandy Allen is a freelance writer whose debut book  A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story about Schizophrenia was published in January 2018 by Scribner. Sandy received an MFA from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and is a former BuzzFeed features editor and co-founder of the online-literary quarterly Wag’s Revue. Sandy’s previously published features and essays can be found at hellosandyallen.com. Sandy is host of the podcast Mad Chat.

Marissa Ortega-Welch, Oakland, California @radiomarissa

Marissa Ortega-Welch is a reporter and editor at KALW Public Radio. Her stories have also aired on KQED and Latino USA. She is a recipient of the USC Annenberg California Health Journalism Fellowship and the Latino USA California Endowment Health Reporting Fellowship. In addition to reporting, she enjoys teaching radio journalism, both at KALW and inside San Quentin state prison.

Marissa’s three part series on the history of agricultural pest control aired on KALW in December 2018, listen here Operation Pest Control Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Maddie Oatman, San Francisco, California @moatman

Maddie Oatman is writer and story editor at Mother Jones and the co-host of the magazine’s food politics podcast Bite. Her work has been featured in TheBest American Science and Nature Writing, and her story on Iowa’s barramundi farmers recently won a first place award from the Association of Food Journalists.

Maddie’s story on undocumented agricultural workers and the wine country fires was published in the January/February 2018 issue of Mother Jones. Read it here, “Escaping a Wildfire and Fighting to Stay Here.”

Chris Harland-Dunaway, Studio City, California @chrishdeee

Chris wrote for cycling magazines before he became an independent radio producer. He is a recent graduate from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism with forthcoming investigative work for Reveal. In April he is releasing a story podcast called, The Side of the Road, about an epic 125-year-old bicycle race through the Ardennes forest in Belgium.

Eve Abrams, New Orleans, Louisiana @Eve_Abrams

Eve Abrams produces Unprisoned, a Peabody finalist and Gabriel Award winning radio and podcast series which tells stories about the root causes of mass incarceration and the ways our families, neighborhoods, and notions of justice are impacted by the criminal legal system. She won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her documentary series Along Saint Claude, and has reported stories on everything from birdsong to the domestic slave trade for a variety of public radio programs. For more see eabrams.com.

Eve’s two part radio series aired on Marketplace in February 2018. Listen here, “Farm-to-table comes to a Louisiana jail,” and “Montana inmates learn job and life skills while raising cattle on prison ranch.”

Caitlin Dewey, Washington D.C., @caitlindewey

Caitlin Dewey is the food policy reporter at the Washington Post, where she has covered everything from drifting pesticides to cross-border dairy disputes. She previously served as the Post’s first digital culture critic and won two national excellence-in-features awards for her work on technology, society and culture.

Joe Fassler, Brooklyn, New York @joefassler

Joe Fassler is features editor at The New Food Economy, a digital magazine about the political, economic, and cultural forces shaping the way we eat. He’s also a longtime contributor to The Atlantic, where he runs the “By Heart” series of author interviews, recently collected in Light the Dark: Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process (Penguin, 2017). In 2011, his food and public health reporting for TheAtlantic.com was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award in Journalism.


Corby Kummer is a senior editor at The Atlantic and the author of The Joy of Coffee and The Pleasures of Slow Food, the first book in English on the Slow Food movement. He has been restaurant critic of New YorkBoston, and Atlanta Magazines and food and food policy columnist for The New Republic. He is editor-in-chief of Ideas: The Magazine of the Aspen Institute and is launching Food and Society at the Aspen Institute, a program dedicated to improving the country’s food supply and public health. He is a weekly featured commentator on food and food policy on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio. He has received five James Beard Journalism Awards.

Deborah George is a Senior Editor at Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.  She’s also a contributing editor with the long-running Radio Diaries series, which airs on All Things Considered (NPR News). She was a staffer at NPR for 20 years. Her documentary work has garnered two Peabody Awards, in 2009 for The Great Textbook War and Clarissa’s Diary in 2012 and five Dupont Awards from Columbia University.

Jack Hitt is the author of the 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?”

Clara Jeffery became editor-in-chief of Mother Jones in May 2015. Prior to that she was co-editor with Monika Bauerlein. She has spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by the addition of now 13-person Washington bureau, an overhaul of the organization’s digital strategy and a corresponding 15-fold growth in traffic, and the winning of two National Magazine Awards for general excellence. When Jeffery and Bauerlein received a PEN award for editing in 2012, the judges noted: “With its sharp, compelling blend of investigative long-form journalism, eye-catching infographics and unapologetically confident voice, Mother Jones under Jeffery and Bauerlein has been transformed from what was a respected—if under-the-radar—indie publication to an internationally recognized, powerhouse general-interest periodical influencing everything from the gun-control debate to presidential campaigns. In addition to their success on the print side, Jeffery and Bauerlein’s relentless attention to detail, boundless curiosity and embrace of complex subjects are also reflected on the magazine’s increasingly influential website, whose writers and reporters often put more well-known and deep-pocketed news divisions to shame. Before joining the staff of Mother Jones, Jeffery was a senior editor of Harper’s magazine. Fourteen pieces that she personally edited have been finalists for National Magazine Awards, in the categories of essay, profile, reporting, public interest, feature, and fiction. Works she edited have also been selected to appear in various editions of Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing, and Best American Science Writing. Clara cut her journalistic teeth at Washington City Paper, where she wrote and edited political, investigative, and narrative features, and was a columnist. Jeffery is a graduate of Carleton College and Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. She resides in the Mission District of San Francisco.


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 writer and columnist for The New York Times Magazine where she recently wrote about the quest to make a natural blue food dye; what self-driving cars will mean for roadkill, and how scientists all over the world are building repositories of everything from seeds to ice to mammal milk — racing
to preserve a natural order that is fast disappearing. Her work has appeared in Fast CompanyThe Wall Street JournalHarper’sNational Public RadioNew York Magazine, the Associated Press, PBS’s Frontline/World and elsewhere. She was an editor at the once beloved, now defunct food magazine Meatpaper. She is a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.