I <3 Zombies

I write nonfiction narratives about the global economy, and I have to read a lot of boring books on topics like globalization, the garment industry, world population, and food.

You have to read a lot of boring books to write an interesting one. (At least I hope WHERE AM I EATING? is interesting. The reviews should start coming in soon enough.)

I do find these subjects fascinating because I see firsthand how these global issues impact people I’ve met — garment workers in Cambodia, farmers in Colombia. But rarely am I absolutely thrilled to crack open a book written by some policy expert or economist. I’m amazed at their brains and I’m happy to have their info and knowledge flow into mind. But I’m less hungry for…

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EATING fact of the day: How you like them apples?

Multinational Apple Juice

Workers in Chinese apple orchards earn a daily wage that their counterparts in the orchards of Michigan earn in 10 minutes.  This and the lack of environmental regulation in China is why 75% of apple juice concentrate consumed in the U.S. is made from Chinese apples, and often have levels of inorganic arsenic higher than the FDA allows in drinking water.

My  Minute Maid apple juice (right) may contain juice from apples from China, USA, Chile, Turkey, Germany, Austria, and Argentina.


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Chugging Budweiser in China

Budweiser: It’s the King of Beers.

Good thing, too, because if the beer world was a democracy, we’d surely elect another, better-tasting, beer to be our leader. But, alas, Budweiser is American as Levi’s (made in Cambodia) and Coca-Cola. In places like, China it is imported. Yes, China sends us computers and we send them our subpar beer.

I saw this dude chugging a Bud atop Shanghai’s Pearl Tower

Budweiser in China

What the strangest place you’ve seen someone chugging a Bud?

I visited Shanghai to research my new book WHERE AM I EATING?AN ADVENTURE THROUGH THE GLOBAL FOOD ECONOMY, which comes out April 22nd (Earth Day)! Over the next five weeks I’ll be sharing new photos, videos, and stories from…

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What has aid ever done for anyone?

Somewhere along the line aid has become less cool.

Everyone is all about teaching a man to fish, not giving him a fish. Everyone is all like trade and not aid. I’m guilty of this too. (See my give a man a job making shoes not a free pair of shoes argument regarding TOMS.) In response to this, Save the Children UK made a Monty Python inspired video about the not-so minor things aid has accomplished.

It’s hilarious and gets the point across.

Want to support smart aid? Be a smart giver. Learn how here – here….

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Don’t see poverty, see potential

Jessica Jackley in Uganda about to have her life changed by changing lives.

Jessica Jackley eventually became the co-founder of Kiva, but before that she was a lovestruck philosophy major who followed her boyfriend across the country to California where she worked a temp job at Stanford.  While there she attended a lecture by Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, which makes microloans to the poor.  She was impressed at how he simply sat down with the poor and asked them what they needed, instead of telling them what they needed. She was inspired to do the same.

She quit her job and spent three months in Uganda interviewing farmers and fishermen.  She saw how small amounts of money could…

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Calling all Ball State student writers

Who are you writing for? Why do you write?

These are big questions.

I want to help you help our community with your writing skillz. (That’s right with a z!)

I’m assembling a League of Extraordinary Writers who want to improve their writing and make an impact in the Muncie community. Over the past few years, I’ve committed myself to helping local organizations tell and share their stories, but there are more stories than I can tell. I need help. I need you!

This League of Extraordinary Writers will work with organizations like the Leadership Board, Big Brothers Big Sisters, TEAMwork for Quality Living, and the Facing Project. Writers will take on assignments with deadlines and have their work featured in newsletters and…

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Be a part of the Facing Project story

(This is a joint note from me and my co-founder of The Facing Project, J.R. Jamison.)

Stories make a difference.

Stories shatter preconceptions and expand our worldview.

Stories change our hearts and inform our minds.

Stories feed our curiosities and our souls.

Every person has a story and so does every community.

What’s yours?

We invite you to be a part of the story of The Facing Project by helping us reach our goal of creating facingproject.com website. The site will house the tools to help the project spread to other communities, and will allow current Facing Project communities the ability to share their stories on their own unique sites, such as fortwayne.facingproject.com. This next step in our story will push this movement forward and provide the opportunity for thousands of unheard voices to be shared.


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University of Kentucky using WEARING!

From the department of awesome news of awesomeness…

The University of Kentucky has announced the selection of WHERE AM I WEARING? as their 2013-2014 common read book.  This means that all incoming freshman will read the stories of Amilcar, Nari, Ai, Arifa, Dewan, Zhu Chun, and all the rest of the amazing folks I write about in WEARING.

I’m so pumped that I can almost forgive the Wildcats for beating my Wally Sczerbiak-led Miami Redhawks 58 to 43 in the 1999 Sweet 16.



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American Made Messenger Bags by LexiWynn

My Timbuk2 laptop bag was made in China. I’m not sure of any bags that are made in USA until now…

LexiWynn Bags are made in Illinois. They’re running a cool Kickstarter campaign to help launch their new label.

Tell me what you’re favorite beer is the comments for a chance to win one of their cool Koozies. You’ll also be entered to win if you RT my upcoming tweet, or share my facebook post. The winner will be randomly selected.

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“We’re talking about Autism.”

(Our boy Griffin)

For the past six months, every waking hour and some of our dreamtime ones, too, have been dominated by what you’re about to read. It’s important to write about stuff like this. That’s why I’m so glad my wife Annie chose to put her thoughts, feelings, and our journey down in words.


“It’s a boy!”

Kelsey and I had been in the ultrasound room for maybe five minutes when the tech announced with certainty the gender of our second child. We looked at each other and smiled. Coming into this, we were both fairly indifferent as to what we were having — we already had a daughter who we were over the moon about,…

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