Fri, 21 August 2009
Since March 2008, Deconstructing Dinner has featured The Local Grain Revolution - a series tracking the evolution of Canada's first community supported agriculture (CSA) project for grain. The CSA completed its first year in the end of 2008 following a commitment by 3 farmers in the Creston Valley of British Columbia who planted 15 acres of grain for 180 members and 1 business. On this ninth episode, we continue with our detailed coverage of the CSA's evolution and zero in once again on some of the meetings of the CSA's steering committee as they discuss year two of the project.
These and past recordings of the meetings of the Grain CSA provide a listening and learning opportunity not often found within media... and of the hours and hours of audio that Deconstructing Dinner has recorded of the CSA's meetings, this episode will feature some of the more compelling discussions and debates that took place not long after the completion of the CSA's year one. These segments will introduce the CSA's decision to triple in size and incorporate more businesses into the project and in doing so introduce yet another interesting model that has since been called RSA, or, Retail Supported Agriculture.
Matt Lowe, co-founder, Kootenay Grain CSA (Nelson, BC)
Sun, 16 August 2009
The segments include a lecture of Raj Patel - author of Stuffed and Starved, an interview with the University of Regina's Annette Desmarais on the topic of food sovereignty and an interview with freelance journalist Frances Russell on the current state of The Canadian Wheat Board and the Canadian government's efforts to strip the Board of its single-desk marketing of western Canadian wheat.
Raj Patel, author, Stuffed & Starved (Berekley, CA) - Raj Patel has worked for the World Bank, interned at the WTO, consulted for the UN and been involved in international campaigns against his former employers. Currently a researcher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and a visiting scholar at the Center for African Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, his education includes degrees from Oxford, the London School of Economics & Cornell University. He's also a researcher with the Land Research Action Network. His thoughts on food, hunger, and globalization have appeared in a number of US and international news sources, including the Los Angeles Times and The Guardian.
Annette Desmarais, professor, justice studies, University of Regina (Regina, SK) - Justice Studies Prof Annette Desmarais' area of research includes food sovereignty, or, the right of peoples to define their own food systems and not have them be determined from the outside, by the forces of global capitalism. Her related research interests include globalization and agrarian change. She is currently involved in an ongoing research project with the Via Campesina, an international peasant and farm movement, to develop an international research framework for all future study of the group. She is a member of the advisory board of the Journal of Peasant Studies, as well as the Canadian Association of Food Studies, and has published the book La Via Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants, which has been translated into French and Spanish.
Frances Russell, freelance journalist (Winnipeg, MB) - Frances Russell is a Winnipeg-based freelance journalist and author. She is a regular contributor to the Winnipeg Free Press and is the author of two books. Her career as a journalist and columnist spans nearly 40 years. From 1981 to 1999, she wrote a tri-weekly column on national and provincial politics for the Winnipeg Free Press. Prior to this, she worked as a reporter and political columnist with The Winnipeg Tribune, The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail and United Press International in Ottawa. During this time she also provided occasional columns and commentary for CBC-TV, CBC Radio, CBC Newsworld, The Ottawa Journal, The Edmonton Journal, The Toronto Star, Canadian Forum Magazine and Time Canada Magazine.
Mon, 10 August 2009
As one of the clearest examples of the direction in which our food and agricultural systems are heading, Deconstructing Dinner has paid considerable attention to the evolution of genetically modified or "engineered" foods. These ever-present ingredients in our food supply represent one of the most controversial and debated shifts that have taken place among modern agricultural practices over the previous few decades. With the product of this genetic engineering being a plant, tree or animal that could never exist through conventional breeding techniques or natural processes, genetic engineering leaves many farmers, eaters and the majority of countries around the world quite skeptical of their known and unknown risks.
The major foods that have been genetically engineered consist of canola, corn, soy and cotton, and it has long been suggested that genetically engineering all commercially used plants, trees and animals, is the future of our food system. In a world where it seems everything is being privatized, such a prospect comes as expected, because when a company genetically engineers a living organism, they can then patent that lifeform and thereby own that lifeform.
Some notable news in the world of genetically engineered food has bubbled to the surface over the past six months that confirms that the future is shaping up to be a genetically modified one. This episode will examine the recent arrival of genetically engineered sugar into the North American food supply and will discuss the steps being taken to introduce genetically engineered alfalfa, genetically engineered trees and perhaps the most controversial... genetically engineered wheat.
Lucy Sharratt, coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) (Ottawa, ON) - Lucy Sharratt has extensive experience as a researcher and campaigner with organizations concerned about genetic engineering and global justice issues. She worked as Coordinator for the International Ban Terminator Campaign in 2005/6 (the international moratorium on Terminator at the United Nations was upheld and strengthened in this phase of the campaign). Lucy was the Coordinator of the Safe Food/Sustainable Agriculture Campaign at the Sierra Club of Canada and worked as a researcher for the BioJustice Project of the Polaris Institute in Ottawa. Lucy also worked as Project Manager for Voices from the South, a project of the Working Group on Canadian Science and Technology Policy, which focused on issues raised by genetic engineering in the Global South.
Carl Casale, vice-president strategy & development, Monsanto Corporation (St. Louis, MO)
E. Ann Clark, associate professor, Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph (Guelph, ON)
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.
Sat, 1 August 2009
Deconstructing Dinner revisits with the topic of permaculture... a concept and philosophy that has grown significantly in popularity since we first aired a show on the topic back in 2006.
In September 2008, Deconstructing Dinner's Andrea Langlois visited The Blue Raven Permaculture Farm on Salt Spring Island British Columbia. Farmers and Instructors Brandon and Patti Bauer escort Andrea around the farm and describe the principles of permaculture as they apply on their particular parcel of land. We then travel to San Francisco, California and then off to Devon, England where we take a glimpse at two more of the many examples of how permaculture is being adopted worldwide as a new way of cultivating food, shelter and energy and doing so while maintaining a harmonious relationship with their surroundings. Instead of working against nature as agriculture and other systems so often do, permaculture seeks to work within it.
Brandon & Patti Bauer, farmers/instructors, The Blue Raven Permaculture Farm (Salt Spring Island, BC) - The Blue Raven Permaculture Farm is located on 5 acres near Mt. Maxwell Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island. Brandon and Patti have been teaching Permaculture and developing their site since 2002.
Kevin Bayuk, urban permaculture designer (San Francisco, CA) - Kevin Bayuk rents an apartment in the Haight Ashbury district of San Fransicso. He also grows a large amount of his own food, actively composts, raises ducks and captures rainwater- total urban permaculture. One might think you need to own a large plot of land in the country to create an abundant food growing system, but Kevin proves this theory wrong on a number of counts.
Permaculture: Farms for the Future, Rebecca Hosking (Devon, England)