Deconstructing Dinner (general)

Deconstructing Dinner has recently been reflecting on the model of agriculture itself as the primary source through which most people on earth access their food. From our exploration of ethnobiology to recent topics on permaculture, it's clear that there are other models available, which, for some people are a substitute for agriculture, and for others, complementary practices. But what within that dependence on agriculture are we all dependent upon? Multinational corporations? The chain grocery store? Perhaps the microwave!?

Well behind those dependencies, which are precarious at best, is a more deeply rooted dependence... soil - a dependence of which its once-deep roots have demonstrated over time to have become progressively shallower as 'modern' agricultural practices deplete soil depth and nutrients.

On this broadcast, Deconstructing Dinner features voices of researchers who have explored the evolution of agriculture and soil alongside civilization.



David Montgomery, professor, Earth & Space Sciences, University of Washington (Seattle, WA) - David is the author of the 2008 book "Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations" (UC Press). The book explores the idea that we are and have long been using up Earth's soil. Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations. At the University of Washingotn, David studies the evolution of topography and the influence of geomorphological processes on ecological systems and human societies. He received his B.S. in geology at Stanford University (1984) and his Ph.D. in geomorphology from UC Berkeley (1991). David was hosted at Oregon State University in July 2009 by PAGES and was later interviewed by Tom Allen of KBCS.

Ronald Wright, author, A Short History of Progress, (Salt Spring Island, BC) - Ronald Wright is a novelist, historian, and essayist, and has won prizes in all three genres, and is published in ten languages. Ronald was the 2004 Massey Lecturer - a presitigious annual public event in Canada, for which he presented A Short History of Progress. One of his more recent works is "What is America: A Short History of the New World Order". He was born in England, educated at Cambridge, and now lives in British Columbia, Canada.

Direct download: DD072910.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:12pm EST​

As people throughout the Western world are increasingly seeking to reconnect with their food, there's a lot to be learned from the many peoples who have long maintained these dynamic relationships between their sustenance and the earth. Ethnobiologists research these very relationships through a scientific lens and it's a field of study bringing together many disciplines like anthropology, ecology and conservation to name just a few.

Deconstructing Dinner believes ethnobiology is a subject deserving close attention for anyone interested in food security, food sovereignty and local food system conservation and development.

In May 2010, Jon Steinman travelled to Vancouver Island to attend two gatherings on the subject in Victoria and Tofino. In this multi-part series, we'll explore what the Society of Ethnobiology describes is the "search for valid, reliable answers to two 'defining' questions: "How and in what ways do human societies use nature, and how and in what ways do human societies view nature?"

Part I
As is now commonly found among many indigenous communities worldwide, many youth have become significantly if not entirely disconnected from the traditional ways of their ancestors. One of the responses to this threat that some of those youth have employed is found among the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples whose territory stretches 300km along the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island. Nuu-chah-nulth (which translates to "all along the mountains and sea") are a family of 15 First Nations. Connecting some of their youth has been the Nashuk Youth Council - a project of Uu-a-thluk - the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council's Aquatic Management Board. The Youth Council has been seeking out stories and knowledge from their elders about their people's traditional foodways. Those stories and knowledge are in turn being shared digitally through short videos.

The Nashuk Youth Council took to the podium at the 12th International Congress of Ethnobiology hosted in Tofino, B.C.


Nickie Watts, Keenan Jules, Waylon Andrews, John Rampanen, Belinda Lucas, Damon Vann-Tarrant Rampanen, Letitia Rampanen, James Dakota Smith, Tseeqwatin Rampanen, Leonita Jimmy, Maui Solomon

Direct download: DD060310.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

On May 8, 2010, Deconstructing Dinner descended upon the grounds of the Legislature of British Columbia in Victoria where one of the largest rallies of its kind was taking place. The rally was organized as part of the 2.5 week long "Get Out Migration" calling for the removal of open-net salmon farms along the B.C. coast. Between April 21 and May 8, biologist Alexandra Morton travelled from the community of Echo Bay in the Broughton Archipelago and proceeded on foot down Vancouver Island where hundreds of supporters joined her as they approached the BC Legislature. An estimated 4,000 people attended the rally.


Alexandra Morton - biologist, Raincoast Research Society (Echo Bay, BC) - While studying orca whales up until the 1990s, Alexandra watched as the salmon farming industry appeared in the Broughton Archipelago where she calls home. As she observed the arrival of industrial salmon farms, the whales she studied disappeared. She believed the cause was salmon farms, and when 10,000 pages of letters to all levels of government failed to elicit meaningful response, Alexandra realized that she would have to scientifically prove that salmon farming had driven out the whales and caused epidemic outbreaks of bacteria, viral and parasitic infections in wild salmon. By partnering with international scientists and in some cases commercial fishermen, Alexandra has documented the loss of the whales, thousands of escaped farm salmon, lethal outbreaks of sea lice, and antibiotic resistance near salmon farms.

Bob Chamberlin, chairman, Musgamagw Tsawataineuk (Gilford Island, BC) - Chief Bob Chamberlin is from the the Kwicksutaineuk-Ah-Kwaw-Ah-Mish First Nation on Gilford Island, BC. He is the chairman of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council and has been actively involved in efforts that oppose open-net salmon farms.

Stewart Phillip, president, BC Union of Indian Chiefs (Penticton, BC) - Grand Chief Stewart Phillip is from the Penticton Indian Band and is the Chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. Stewart is serving is fourth three-year term as the president of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs.

Darren Blaney, former chief, Homalco First Nation (near Campbell River, BC) - The Homalco First Nation is a member of the Naut'sa mawt Tribal Council.

Rafe Mair, commentator, Rafe Mair (Lions Bay, BC) - Between 1975 and 1981, Rafe served as an MLA for the riding of Kamloops and later became a popular radio talk-show host until 2005. Since then, Rafe has been a vocal opponent of the privatation of BC's rivers and creeks and of open-net salmon farms.

Vicky Husband, environmentalist (Victoria, BC) - Vicky is one of British Columbia's best known environmentalists. Past Conservation Chair for the Sierra Club of B.C., she is tireless in her drive to protect her province's natural heritage, especially the coastal rainforest and marine ecosystems and their inhabitants. She has been a leader in numerous conservation debates, including working for the protection of the ancient rainforests of Clayoquot Sound, and establishing Canada's first grizzly bear sanctuary, on B.C.'s north coast. For the past five years, Vicky has also focused on salmon and other fisheries- management. She is a member in the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada.

Billy Proctor, fisherman (Echo Bay, BC) - Billy Proctor was a commerical fisherman for 60 years and has been a resident of the Broughton Archipelago for 74 years.

Fin Donnelly, member of parliament New Westminster-Coquitlam, Port Moody, NDP (Coquitlam, BC) - Fin is the NDP Critic on Fisheries and Oceans. He has introduced legislation to ban tanker traffic along BC�s sensitive northern coast and transition all fish farms to closed containment. Prior to being elected, Fin played a key role in calling for and securing the Cohen Inquiry into the collapse of the Fraser Sockeye Salmon. He served on Coquitlam City Council for 7 years and was the Executive Director of Rivershed Society of B.C. for 13 years. Fin twice swam the Fraser River (1400km) to promote sustainable living.

Direct download: DD051310.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:50pm EST

Sailing Vegetables in Puget Sound
Part VII of The Local Grain Revolution series featured a full episode on the sailing of locally-grown grains from the Creston Valley of British Columbia to the City of Nelson. A fleet of four boats transported 5,000 pounds of the grains. Shortly after the grains were unloaded in Nelson, sailor Jay Blackmore embarked on another journey, however, this time, on-line. He was keen to find other intrepid communities who were too exploring the practice of sailing food. Sure enough, Jay came across Dave Reid of the Sail Transport Company in Seattle, Washington. For less than a year now, Dave has been in the early stages of creating a business around the idea of sailing vegetables from farms neighbouring Puget Sound and delivering them to customers in Seattle. Dave spoke to Deconstructing Dinner over the phone and shared his exciting business model of a fossil-fuel free distribution system for zucchinis, tomatoes, and many other fresh vegetables.

The Local Grain Revolution VIII (Sourdough Waffles)
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. On this eighth episode, we listen in on a workshop hosted by a member of the CSA, Lorraine Carlstrom. Just as the project has already spawned involvement from many individuals and businesses in the region, Lorraine recognized yet another gap needing to be filled... education in the kitchen. When the 180 CSA members received their 80+lbs of whole grains in December 2008, many members were left wondering what to do with them. Lorraine stepped forward to offer classes to teach members how to use their grains. Among those offered, Deconstructing Dinner recorded one of her first... sourdough waffles.


Dave Reid, Founder, Sail Transport Company (Seattle, WA) - The concept behind Sail Transport Company (STC) is to use wind and tidal power coupled with human ingenuity, skills and labor to provide a reliable system of trade and transport that is fossil fuel independent. Dave Reid first learned to sail Mirrors in Peterhead Bay Scotland in the 80's. He designed the model for STC after realizing that rock climbing was too dangerous, engines were too complicated and processed food didn't taste very good. Dave is involved with other groups such as Seattle Peak Oil Awareness, SCALLOPS, and Sustainable Ballard.

Lorraine Carlstrom, Chapter Leader, Weston A. Price Foundation (Nelson, BC) - Lorraine is a member of the Kootenay Grain CSA and a chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation - a nonprofit, charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated nonindustrialized peoples established parameters of human health and identified characteristics of what he saw as optimum human diets. Dr. Price's research is seend to have demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods. The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism.


Direct download: DD061109.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11pm EST

Direct download: DD060106.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EST