Wed, 25 October 2006
Between October 7-11, 2006, participants from across North America gathered together in Vancouver for the Bridging Borders Toward Food Security Conference. Hosted by the Vancouver Food Policy Council, the conference was organized by the California-based Community Food Security Coalition and Food Secure Canada, a new Canadian organization.
Participants at the conference met to discuss strategies for improving access to affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food, and explored opportunities to build sustainable food systems.
Hunger, childhood obesity, urban agriculture, and development on our limited prime agricultural land were just a few of the many issues raised during the conference. As the Vancouver Food Policy Council's Devorah Kahn indicated prior to the conference, "We are meeting to discuss how to work towards viable solutions at the policy and grassroots levels."
As food safety scares grip North Americans, working towards more localized food systems is perhaps more timely now than ever before. With our rapidly changing climate being a result, among others, of our industrialized food systems, climatic changes will also be greatly influencing where food can be grown and how. The subject matter of Bridging Borders Toward Food Security encompasses some of the most pressing issues of our time.
Deconstructing Dinner was on hand to record hours upon hours of the conference, and over the next few months we will be featuring these exclusive recordings. This particular broadcast will provide a collage of the passion that individuals and organizations across the continent are showing for food.
Thu, 19 October 2006
A new ongoing series on Deconstructing Dinner that will look at the chemicals in food. From pesticides to food additives, chemicals are both intentionaly and unintentionally entering into food, and into our bodies.
Recent studies have demonstrated how Canadians are chock full of toxic chemicals. The most startling findings have been that children, are more toxic than their parents. But while many of these chemicals found in our bodies come from environmental pollutants, both industrial and commercial, there are a number of chemicals being added to food. One of the most controversial chemical additives is Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal). The sweetener has once again entered into the media radar since the published results of the most comprehensive study ever conducted on the sugar substitute. The results have indicated that Aspartame, is indeed, carcinogenic. But how have health authoritites responded? Do these recent findings perhaps illustrate the power of corporations in influencing food, policy, and health?
Kathryn Knowles - Director of Resource Development, European Ramazzini Foundation (Italy) - The mission of the European Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences "B. Ramazzini" is to prevent cancer by identifying its causes and studying new strategies for early diagnosis and intensive therapies. The Foundation is a non-profit, private institution with official governmental recognition. Located in Bentivoglio, in the province of Bologna, Italy, its facilities include a Cancer Research Center (CRC) with more than 10,000 square meters of laboratories and archives and an Epidemiological Research Center. The Foundation recently released their findings of the â??First Demonstration of the Multipotential Carcinogenic Effects of Aspartame Administered in the Feed to Sprague-Dawley Rats". The results were published in the March issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).
Sarah Winterton - Programme Director, Environmental Defence (Toronto) - Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. They research. They educate. They go to court when they have to. All in order to ensure clean air, safe food and thriving ecosystems. Nationwide. The organization released their Toxic Nation report in 2005. The study saw 11 adults from across Canada tested for 88 chemicals. Their most recent study released in 2006, titled Polluted Children, tested children, parents and grandparents from five Canadian families for 68 chemicals. Pollution in Canada is getting worse. While some countries step up to tackle toxic pollution, Canada straggles behind. Fortunately, the opportunity exists now to bring the regulation of toxic chemicals up to international standards.
Sat, 14 October 2006
Launched in April 2006, a new DVD and CD set produced by bestselling author Jeffrey Smith (Seeds of Deception) shows that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) put our health and environment at risk. The release of The GMO Trilogy was in conjunction with Earth Day (April 22) and International GMOpposition Day (April 8)- a coordinated 30-nation campaign to raise awareness about genetically modified (GM) food.
Organizations will be asking hundreds of thousands of their members to buy the Trilogy to show at house parties and several manufacturers have sponsored the 3-disc set to keep it affordable.
Deconstructing Dinner will be featuring the 3-part series in audio format between June and September.
Part 2 - Unnatural Selection
Produced by Bertram Verhaag and Gabrielle Kroeber. This stunning European documentary made available for the first time in North America, reveals several harsh consequences of genetic engineering worldwide.
Thu, 5 October 2006
The BC Food Systems Network was formed to work with groups around the province to eliminate hunger and create sustainable food systems for all residents. The Network encourages initiatives to reclaim local ownership of community food systems and develop food self-reliance by sharing information, skills, and resources.
Between September 14-17, the Network gathered in Sorrento as has now been done for seven years. The theme of the conference was "Reclaiming Our Local Food Systems".
Deconstructing Dinner was invited to record the conference, and this broadcast marks the first of many more that will feature these recordings. Featured on this broadcast is the first panel of speakers who introduced the theme of the conference.
Cathleen Kneen - Founder, BC Food Systems Network (Sorrento) - Passionate about food, justice and sustainable agriculture. With her husband Brewster, Cathleen publishes The Ram's Horn, a monthly newsletter of food system analysis (since 1980). Currently sits on the executive of Food Secure Canada.
Dawn Morrison - Community Development Facilitator, Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation (Chase)- Dawn most recently coordinated the first annual BC Interior Indigenous Food Sovereignty Conference held in Penticton. She promotes ecologically and culturally sustainable land use projects.
Brewster Kneen - Author/Publisher, The Ram's Horn (Sorrento) - Brewster's first involvement with food issues was in writing "The Economy of Sugar" in 1971, and then farming for 15 years. He has written other notable titles such as "From Land to Mouth" and "Farmageddon". His current focus is on genetic engineering of food, and privatization of the public domain. Along with his wife Cathleen, Brewster publishes The Ram's Horn, a monthly newsletter of food systems analysis.
Patrick Steiner - Farmer, Stellar Seeds (Sorrento) - Stellar Seeds provides certified organic seeds grown in British Columbia. They grow the majority of seeds at their own farm, and also sell seeds grown by other local organic farmers. They specialize in interesting and unique varieties, many of them heirlooms.