Special programming tackles global food security

(St. Paul, Minn.) January 24, 2012ñAmerican Public Mediaís Marketplace, PBS NEWSHOUR, the Center for Investigative Reporting and Homelands Productions are collaborating on a multi-platform media project, “Food for 9 Billion.” The project examines the challenge of feeding the world at a time of growing demand, changing diets, rising food and energy prices, shrinking land and water resources and accelerating climate change.

Both in format and in subject matter, “Food for 9 Billion” will be one of the most thorough explorations of global food security issues to appear in public media.

The main project elements for “Food for 9 Billion” include a year-long series of radio features on Marketplace, a year-long series of video features on PBS NEWSHOUR and an online experience managed by the Center for Investigative Reporting at Specialists at Cornell University, Franklin & Marshall College and PBS NEWSHOUR are designing interactive web features and materials for teachers and students.

On Monday, Jan. 23, Marketplace and PBS NEWSHOUR each broadcast special features on the ways in which rapid population growth contributes to a deepening food crisis in the Philippines. Both were reported by Los Angeles-based freelance journalist Sam Eaton. Earlier features examined the role of science in boosting global food production, the roots of famine in eastern Africa, and the debate in Egypt over food policies and prices.

“The struggle to put food on the table is such a basic human story,” said Homelands Productions’ Jonathan Miller, executive producer for “Food for 9 Billion.” “We can see it in the families we meet in the Philippines, who are determined to gain some control over their futures. But itís also a complex societal story, mixing economics, science, ethics, politics and culture.”

“Feeding the world will take so much more than producing more food,” said Sharon Tiller, who heads digital media at The Center for Investigative Reporting. “The stories we produce across multiple platforms–including television, radio, animation, and interactive features– will reveal how factors as diverse as population, climate, politics and global trade all interact, allowing us to create a three-dimensional portrait of the monumental challenge we face.”

“‘Food for 9 Billion’ is anchored in the qualities that public media audiences value mostóhigh quality journalism and powerful storytelling with opportunities for response and engagement in the story,” said Jon McTaggart, American Public Media’s president and CEO. “Using all the media technologies available, allows us to support a global challenge with global coverage.”

“Food for 9 Billion” is made possible in part by grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the New Venture Fund and the Grantham Foundation, with additional support from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University. To learn more about “Food for 9 Billion,” visit

Tara Schlosser
Phone: (651) 290-1436

Jonathan Miller
Phone: (607) 266-8128

Anne Bell
Phone: (703) 998-2175

Christa Scharfenberg
Phone: (510) 809-3171

About CIR:
The Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation’s oldest nonprofit investigative news organization. It produces compelling multimedia stories to engage and inform the public, distributing them through hundreds of news outlets, such as FRONTLINE, NPR, The Washington Post and The Daily Beast. CIR launched California Watch in 2009, now the largest investigative team in the state. CIRís reports have sparked congressional hearings and legislation, UN resolutions, public interest lawsuits and changes in corporate policies.

About Homelands Productions:
Homelands Productions is a nonprofit journalism collective that specializes in radio features and documentaries, particularly from the developing world. Since its founding in 1990, Homelands has produced eight major series for public radio, reporting from more than 50 countries and winning 22 national and international awards.

PBS NEWSHOUR is seen by over 5 million weekly viewers and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and via podcast. The program is produced in association with WETA Washington, DC, and in New York. Major corporate funding for the PBS NEWSHOUR is provided by BNSF Railway, with additional support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers. PBS Newshour Extra, a web resource for high school students and teachers, offers current events resources and lesson plans tied to national standards.

About Marketplace:
Marketplace is produced and distributed by American Public Media (APM), in association with the University of Southern California. Public radio consists of more than 900 individually owned and operated public radio stations (or regional systems of stations). American Public Mediaô is one of the largest producers of public radio programming in the world, with a portfolio reaching 16 million listeners via nearly 800 radio stations nationwide each week. In addition to APM, Public Radio International and National Public Radio distribute and produce national programs. For more information on Marketplace visit For more information on American Public Media visit