Thu, 26 October 2006
On the date of this broadcast, the community of Nelson, British Columbia celebrates Fossil-Fuel-Free week. While efforts are made to eliminate motorized transportation and turn down the thermostat, to be truly fossil-fuel-free, there would need to be a cessation of eating!
Food relies predominantly on oil as raw material and energy in the manufacturing of fertilizers and pesticides. It is used as cheap and readily available energy for planting, irrigation, feeding and harvesting, processing, distribution and packaging. Fossil fuels are essential in the construction and the repair of equipment and infrastructure needed to facilitate this industry, including farm machinery, processing facilities, storage, ships, trucks and roads. Food processors rely on the just-in-time delivery of fresh or refrigerated food, food additives, including vitamins and minerals, emulsifiers, preservatives, and colouring agents. They rely on the production and delivery of boxes, metal cans, printed paper labels, plastic trays, cellophane for microwave/convenience foods, glass jars, plastic and metal lids with sealing compounds. There is of course the daily just-in-time shipment of food to grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools. And at the end of it all, we use fuel to drive to the grocery store and purchase that food!
Julian Darley of the Vancouver-based Post Carbon Institute uses overwhelming data that forecasts a bleak future our reliance on fuel may lead us into. The energy crisis he points to is one that will force significant political, cultural, and social changes. The Institute suggests Global Relocalization, where communities take on a much greater role in sustaining local food systems, and ultimately, sustaining people.
Darley is the author of High Noon for Natural Gas: the New Energy Crisis (2004) and the forthcoming Relocalize Now! Getting Ready for Climate Change and the End of Cheap Oil (forthcoming in 2007) in collaboration with Celine Rich, Dave Room and Richard Heinberg.
Julian Darley spoke in Vancouver in February 2006, and the Vancouver-based Necessary Voices Society was on hand to record his presentation.
Thu, 19 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, 12 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 intentionally 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 authorities 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 - Program 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.