Virginia Gewin
Photo of Virginia Gewin

An Alabama native, I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for the last 20 years.

I write about how humans are profoundly altering the environment - and undertaking extraordinary endeavors to preserve natural systems.

My work has appeared in Nature, Science, Discover, Slate, Washington Post, Modern Farmer, Portland Monthly and many others.

In 2014-2015, along with five colleagues, I was part of a crowd-funded reporting project called "Bracing for Impact" to chronicle efforts to adapt to climate change.

In recent years, I've focused on stories about food and agriculture. In 2016, I was awarded an Alicia Patterson journalism fellowship to spend the year reporting on seed sovereignty, gene banks, crop diversity and food security. Check out my seed-centric stories here:

Climate Change Adds Urgency To Push to Save World's Seeds

April 21, 2016
During the 872-day German siege of Leningrad in World War II, in which an estimated 1.1 million civilians died, a small band of workers devoted themselves to safeguarding a priceless trove of 200,000 seeds at the Institute of Plant Industry. Then the world’s largest seed bank, the collection had been amassed, in large part, by famed Soviet botanist Nikolai Vavilov during expeditions to 64 countries... [link to article]

Wild relatives of key crops not protected in genebanks, study finds

Mar. 21, 2016
The wild, sometimes scraggly cousins of grains and vegetables have a role to play in food security, but urgent action is needed to conserve them, says a new study published today in Nature Plnats. The first global survey of the distribution and conservation of 1076 wild relatives of 81 crops finds that more than 95% are insufficiently safeguarded in the world’s gene banks, which store seeds and other plant tissues that can be used for future breeding efforts.... [link to article]

Crop gene banks are preserving the future of agriculture. But who's preserving them?

May 21, 2015
During the past few years of civil war in Syria, rebel fighters have destroyed Shia mosques and Christian graves, and burned and looted Christian churches while the Islamic State group has demolished priceless artifacts in the region. Nothing seemed sacred to the disparate groups vying for control of the region. Yet, so far, a store of ancient seeds has been left alone... [link to article]