Jim Downing


Agricultural Writer, The Sacramento Bee

Jim Downing covers agriculture, climate change and the green economy at The Sacramento Bee, where he has been a staff writer since 2005. His favorite stories explore the economics of the food business, from the marketing strategies at the local supermarket to the global forces that influence what farmers grow and how they grow it. In a series of recent articles, he uncovered the widespread use on California's organic farms of fertilizers spiked with synthetic nitrogen.

Before coming to The Bee, Jim was a science writing fellow at The Seattle Times. His freelance pieces have been published in The Economist, High Country News and the Indian environmental magazine Down to Earth. From 2001 to 2003 he worked as a water and sanitation consultant for the World Bank's New Delhi office.

While a student at Deep Springs College, Jim managed a two-acre organic garden that once sold a few potatoes to Chez Panisse. He received his BS in agricultural engineering from Cornell and holds a master's degree from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley.

Jim will someday inherit the small ranch his great-grandfather homesteaded in eastern Wyoming. He and his wife Seema are now harvesting fenugreek and green garlic from their community garden plot in downtown Sacramento.