Thu, 27 July 2006
The genetic modification of our food is a new experiment that has only been underway in Canada since 1994. A campaign was launched in June of 2005 calling for a GE-Free Canada - a Canada free of genetically modified plants. The campaign was launched in Vancouver where a selection of speakers were invited to speak on the genetic modification of our food supply, and the methods through which GE-Free zones could be created. The event was recorded by the Vancouver-based Necessary Voices Society.
Percy Schmeiser - Farmer - Saskatchewan-based farmer who was taken to court by agri-giant Monsanto after his fields of non-genetically modified canola were contaminated with a modified version from a neighbouring field. Monsanto claimed Schmeiser was unlawfully planting the company's patented products and subsequently took Schmeiser to court. Percy speaks of why we need a GE-Free Canada.
Arran Stephens - Founder and President, Nature's Path Foods - Richmond-based Nature's Path Foods produces a line of organic products and specializes in certified organic cereals. Arran Stephens is a published author. and sits on the Vancouver Food Policy Council.
Colin Palmer - Chair, Powell River Regional District - Colin has also served as Mayor of Powell River and as a municipal Councillor. He and his wife Ann have lived in the area for 35 years. Colin owns and operates a local printing business. He speaks of the role municipal governments have in securing a GE-Free Canada. Powell River is one of the first Canadian communities to become a GE-Free zone.
Thu, 20 July 2006
Our food system has been built on a foundation of oil (gasoline, pesticides, fertilizers). As we reach the highest use of oil-dependent practices ever, we are also reaching a critical point in the availability of this finite resource. Peak Oil has been the term used to describe the point in time when extraction of oil from the earth reaches its highest point and then begins to decline. We won't be able to say with certainty when we have reached peak oil until after the fact. Many experts say we have already reached the peak.
How can the world's population be fed without the extensive use of fossil fuels in the production, processing and distribution of food? What changes can we make to implement food security at the local level, while promoting popular education, public health and community control?
Wayne Roberts - Project Coordinator for the Toronto Food Policy Council, and regular contributor to Toronto's NOW Magazine. In a recent presentation hosted by the Vancouver Public Library and the Necessary Voices Society, Dr. Wayne Roberts helped tackle the question, "What will we eat when the oil runs out?" We hear clips from this presentation
Charles Levkoe - Urban Agriculture Coordinator The Stop Community Food Centre. The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto, strives to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds community and challenges inequality. A fixture in Toronto for over 30 years, The Stop believes that food access and security are basic human rights. Charles received a Masters degree in Food Security and Popular Education from the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Charles is also on the board of the American Community Gardening Association.
Thu, 13 July 2006
What alternatives exist to the standard grocery store excursion? Farmers' Markets are certainly one option, but how about food delivered right to your door! While many home grocery delivery services have failed miserably, the most successful operations seem to be those fostering more sustainable food systems. Let's explore some of these options.
Also to explore is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA); yet another form of sourcing fruits and vegetables from a location other than the inanimate grocery store shelves. The CSA movement sees customers sharing the costs and benefitis of farming by investing in the growing season of a local farm.
David Van Seters - Founder and CEO, SPUD (Small Potoates Urban Delivery Inc.) - In business since 1998, SPUD is Canada's largest organic grocery home delivery service. The business serves over 5000 customers in the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria, Vancouver Island, Calgary and Seattle. SPUD is committed to protecting the environment by buying local, organic, minimally packaged, and eco-friendly products. They build community by creating more direct connections between food producers and consumers; reduce traffic congestion and pollution by delivering groceries on a set route; and ensure their customers know where their food is coming from.
Mark Bomford - Program Coordinator, UBC Farm at the University of British Columbia - The UBC Farm is a 24- hectare teaching, research and community farm located on the UBC campus in Vancouver. As a new project launched in the summer of 2005, the UBC Farm now offers a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box program. The initiative acts as a working example of the benefits of sustainable food systems.
Velvet Kavanagh - Organic Goddess, Endless Harvest Organic Food Delivery - Launched in 1998 just outside Nelson, British Columbia, Endless Harvest is an example of a small-town organic grocery delivery service that looks to foster sustainability through its business practices. Endless Harvest was started to provide people with an easy, affordable way to eat organic and locally grown food; to help people make informed decisions about food; and to help local farmers reach new markets.
Thu, 6 July 2006
The first of a periodic series that will explore the foodservice industry and those who are making unique efforts to create more sustainable interactions between the field and the table.
Michael Allemeier - Winery Chef, Mission Hill Family Estate (Westbank, BC): Located in the fertile Okanagan Valley, Michael Allemeier has taken food service to a new level. On the other hand, it can be said that Allemeier has returned the operation of a restaurant back to the way they have more traditionally functioned. Before joining Mission Hill in 2003, Michael saw his time spent at Bishop's Restaurant in Vancouver, Wildflower Restaurant in Whistler, and Teatro in Calgary. He is most visually recognized as having been one of the hosts of the Food Network's "Cook Like a Chef" - an internationally syndicated television program.
Andrea Carlson - Chef de Cuisine, Raincity Grill (Vancouver, BC): In 1998 Carlson joined Vancouver's C Restaurant where she stayed for two years as Executive Sous Chef before embarking on a jaunt across Eastern Europe and Turkey. Upon returning Andrea created a bakery on Savoury Island and later spent a season at Sooke Harbour House in 2002. In May 2003, Andrea returned to C and assumed the position of Pastry Chef and is now back at Raincity Grill as Chef de Cuisine. Carlson maintains a commitment to all things seasonal; evident in her recent launch of the 100-mile Tasting Menu - inspired by James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith's 100-Mile Diet. "100-miles" refers to the limit at which ingredients can be sourced: creating a truly local and seasonal menu.