Sat, 28 March 2009
Over the past few years, Deconstructing Dinner has involved itself with the Nelson, B.C. based networking group, Community Food Matters. Like many similar community food security groups operating throughout North America, Community Food Matters is made up of organizations, businesses and individuals interested in enhancing the local food system.
On March 24, 2009, Deconstructing Dinner, alongside Community Food Matters, hosted an event designed to stimulate awareness and collaboration within the community. For those outside of the community, the event acts as a model of how other North American communities concerned with local food security could gather once a year and share their work and future plans.
What resulted from the March 24 event was an amazing snapshot of the capacity of just one community seeking to tackle the difficult but critical task of fostering a viable local food system.
This episode marks part one of two episodes featuring recordings compiled at the event.
Funding for this project has been provided by the Community Food Action Initiative, in cooperation with Interior Health
Abra Brynne - Kootenay Local Agricultural Society (KLAS) (Nelson, BC)
Suzanne Miller - Kootenay Organic Growers Society (KOGS) (South Slocan, BC)
Aimee Watson - Kaslo Food Security Project (Kaslo, BC)
Matt Lowe - Kootenay Grain CSA (Nelson, BC)
Gail Southall - Creston Valley Food Action Coalition (Creston, BC)
John Alton - West Kootenay Eco Society (Nelson, BC)
Laura Sacks - Soil Matters CSA (Tarrys, BC)
Laura Gareau - Nelson Food Cupboard Society (Nelson, BC)
Jesse Phillips - Oso Negro Coffee (Nelson, BC)
Sandi McCreight - Kootenay Food Strategy Society (Castlegar, BC)
Colleen Matte - Earth Matters (Nelson, BC)
Tara Stark - Interior Health (Nelson, BC)
Michelle Beneteau - Kootenay Country Store Co-operative (Nelson, BC)
Frank & Libby Ruljancich - Growing Through the Seasons (Deer Park, BC)
Conversation Voices: Florence Christophers (Nelson CARES Society), Ryan Martin (Hume Hotel / Best Western), Brenda Hyshka (Aurora Gardens), Marilyn James (Sinixt Nation), Geoffrey Austin (Fisherman's Market), Robert Agnew (Upper Columbia Co-operative Council), Nadiv (Preserved Seed Cafe / Mount Sentinel Farm)
Fri, 20 March 2009
Michael Ableman is a farmer, author and photographer. Since he moved to Canada from the United States about 10 years ago, Michael has been creating a diverse model of how a farm can become a community unto itself.
Foxglove Farm on Salt Spring Island is a working 120-acre historic organic farm. The farm currently produces strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, asparagus, melons, greens, roots, a wide range of annual Mediterranean vegetables, as well as a new orchard of diverse varieties of peach, plum, apple, pear, quince, persimmon, and cherry.
Beyond Foxglove's status as just a farm, the site is also home to The Center for Art, Ecology & Agriculture, which was established to demonstrate and interpret the important connections between farming, land stewardship, food, the arts, and community well being.
In February 2009, Michael was hosted in Nelson by the Kootenay Local Agricultural Society. As he addressed the Nelson audience, Michael communicated a long list of ideas that he believes all communities must adopt to ensure that we can "feed the future before our choices are narrowed for us". He concluded his talk with a descriptive glimpse into the images and stories that fill his 2005 book, "Fields of Plenty".
Kootenay Co-op Radio recorded his talk.
Sat, 14 March 2009
Canadian Beef Consolidated Further
Deconstructing Dinner examines the recent takeover of Canada's largest beef packing plant - Lakeside Packers, located in Brooks, Alberta. The plant maintains a capacity to process 4,700 head of cattle each day (that translates to a whopping 43% of all beef processed in Canada... from one facility!). The takeover leaves Alberta-based XL Foods with 51% control of Canadian beef and leaves just two companies controlling 83%.
In light of the recent and largest meat recall in Canadian history, we now know just how much of an impact that a tainted product from one company (Maple Leaf Foods) can have on Canada's food supply. The idea of any further consolidation in the meat packing sector, would, understandably, leave an already shaky Canadian public quite concerned.
To learn more about how this takeover might impact Canada's beef producers and the beef-eating public, we hear from the Compeititon Bureau's Denis Courriveau and the National Farmers Union's Fred Tait.
Backyard Chickens V (Farming in the City VII)
If the thought of two companies controlling 83% of Canadian beef produced from only five plants turns you off of industrial protein, there is of course the increasingly popular alternative of finding some protein in your backyard. While digging up insects may be an option, backyard chickens might be easier, and for Vancouver residents, much easier! On March 5, Vancouver's city council unanimously approved a change to the city's bylaw that has long prohibited backyard chickens. Vancouver is now preparing itself for a backyard chicken revolution.
We also hear from the familiar and entertaining Bucky Buckaw, as he responds to listener questions on whether chickens can be trained to do tricks!
Fred Tait - Manitoba Coordinator, National Farmers Union (NFU) (Rossendale, MB) - Fred and his wife have raised beef cattle all of their life on their farm in Rossendale, Manitoba (southwest of Portage la Prairie). The NFU "works toward the development of economic and social policies that will maintain the family farm as the primary food-producing unit in Canada". The National Farmers Union is the country's only voluntary, direct-membership national farm organization. Less than two weeks before Fred spoke to Deconstructing Dinner, he was in Ottawa speaking to the Standing Committee on Agriculture on the state of Canada's beef producers.
Denis Corriveau - Senior Competition Law Officer, Industry Canada - Competition Bureau - (Gatineau, QC) - The Competition Bureau is an independent agency that, according to their web site, "contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice." Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act. The basic operating assumption of the Competition Bureau is that competition is good for both business and consumers.
Jeff Nield - Operations Manager, FarmFolk/CityFolk (Vancouver, BC) - FarmFolk/CityFolk Society is a non-profit society that works with farm & city to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. They develop and operate projects that provide access to & protection of foodlands; that support local, small scale growers and producers; and that educate, communicate and celebrate with local food communities.
Bucky Buckaw - Host, Bucky Buckaw's Backyard Chicken Broadcast (Boise, ID) - Bucky Buckaw gives advice on raising backyard chickens as just one example of how a locally based economy can work. Through this segment, he informs listeners about the downside of factory farming and what kinds of toxic chemicals you can expect to find in the resultant livestock. He promotes organic gardening and composting, and supporting local farmers.
Fri, 6 March 2009
Since March 2008, The Local Grain Revolution series has been following the evolution of Canada's first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project for grain.
The project has inspired a wave of support from the communities of Nelson and Creston, including support from the Kootenay Lake Sailing Association. In September 2008, a group of sailors approached the CSA and offered to sail as much of the grain as they could from the Creston Valley to Nelson along Kootenay Lake. In less than a month, four sailboats had committed to the weekend excursion and Deconstructing Dinner's Jon Steinman joined the crew of the Kelpie so that listeners could, at the very least, take an audible part in the exciting fossil-fuel free mission.
Matt Lowe, Climate Change Campaigner, West Kootenay EcoSociety (Nelson, BC) - The West Kootenay EcoSociety promotes ecologically and socially sound communities while protecting species and ecosystems in the Southern Columbia Mountains ecoregion. Matt is the co-founder of the grain CSA.
Jay Blackmore, Sailor, Kootenay Lake Sailing Association (Nelson, BC) - When Jay first heard about the CSA, he was eager to become part of this exciting initiative. He quickly gathered a group of sailors who will be sailing the grains from the Creston Valley to Nelson on the weekend of October 25, 2008.
David Oosthuizen, Sailor, Kootenay Lake Sailing Association (Nelson, BC) - David was the skipper of the Kelpie.
Roy Plummer, Volunteer (Fruitvale, BC)
Jon Steinman, Producer/Host, Deconstructing Dinner (Nelson, BC)
Keith Huscroft, Farmer, Huscroft Farm (Lister, BC)
Cecile Andrews, Author, Slow is Beautiful (Seattle, WA)
Drew Gailius, Farmer, Full Circle Farm (Canyon, BC)
Earl Hamilton, Musician/Educator (Nelson, BC) - Earl was invited to author a song in honour of the Creston Grain CSA. He has since been recorded performing "Close to Home" in the studios of Kootenay Co-op Radio and performed the song live on the shores of Nelson just after the grain had arrived via sailboat from the Creston Valley. Earl was joined by Norman Richard