Thu, 9 November 2006
In the last 50 years, Canada's food system has come to be all about efficiency, quantity, and economy - not health, employment, environment, and self-reliance. The response of our communities to this threat, while admirable, is wholly unequal to its magnitude.
As a special food system issue of the Centre for Community Enterprise's (CCE's) quarterly Making Waves, Canada's community economic development publication invites readers to identify the real issues, the real opportunities, the real difficulties - and to start building a real food system.
The edition is titled Growing Hope, and will act as a resource to stimulate discussion on the National Practitioners Dialogue - a web board "discussion" designed to gather input from now until March 2007. This discussion will be melded into a draft agri-food policy document to be distributed for comment to web-board participants, Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) members and members of allied community networks across Canada. From this feedback, a polished draft will be debated at the CCEDNet conference in April 2007 in St. John's Newfoundland with other national stakeholders in attendance. The final version will be promoted by CCEDNet and partner organizations in the national dialogue process to take place in Canada in 2007 running up to new Agricultural Policy Framework legislation expected in 2008.
This project represents the future of sustainable agriculture and food policy in Canada.
Frank Moreland and Sandra Mark - Edible Strategies Enterprises Ltd. (ESEL) (Fanny Bay, BC) - ESEL is a consultancy specializing in the application of community economic development to issues of local food sustainability. Both Frank and Sandra appeared as guests on the inaugural broadcast of Deconstructing Dinner in January, 2006.
Herb Barbolet - Associate, Simon Fraser University's Centre for Sustainable Community Development (CSCD) (Vancouver, BC) - The CSCD is a teaching and research unit of Simon Fraser University, established in 1989. The Centre uses the resources and talents of the University to teach and encourage accountable and sustainable community development. As Associate since 2003, Herb has co-authored food assessment studies for provincial health authorities and a guide to food assessments for the provincial health services authority. Herb farmed organically for ten years and was co-founder of FarmFolk/CityFolk, a nonprofit that works to create local, sustainable food systems. He appears frequently on radio, in print, and on television. He remains an active food consultant.
Colleen Ross - Women's President, National Farmers' Union (NFU) (Iroquois, Ontario) - Members of the NFU believe that the problems facing farmers are common problems, and that farmers producing diverse products must work together to advance effective solutions. 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. Colleen farms near Iroquois, Ontario.
Michael Heasman - Founder/Editor, Food for Good (Winnipeg, Manitoba) - Michael Heasman is a researcher and communicator on food policy specializing in food and health, social responsibility, and corporate activity. He is the founder and editor of Food for Good, a business newsletter that tracks and promotes a critical understanding of corporate citizenship and sustainable food business. In addition to Food Wars, he is co-author of The Functional Foods Revolution: Healthy People, Healthy Profits? and Consumption in the Age of Affluence: the World of Food.
Thu, 2 November 2006
An ongoing series on Deconstructing Dinner that looks at the chemicals in food. From pesticides to food additives, chemicals are both intentionally and unintentionally entering into food, and into our bodies.
In this second part of the Chemical Food Series, we attempt to better understand the chemical pesticides that are sprayed on the vast majority of the foods available to us. How are they regulated? Are safety standards adequate? What are the health risks of the pesticide residues found in our food?
One particular pesticide Sulfuryl Fluoride, has recently become a controversial issue since tolerance levels for the chemical have been raised. There is now said to be an increasing presence of fluoride in the environment and in our diet. Approximately 40% of Canadians live in cities with fluoridated water supplies, and in the United States; 67% of the population. The total exposure to fluoride is now steadily increasing, and we will look closely at fluoridated drinking water to introduce these risks posed by Sulfuryl Fluoride. While most British Columbians do not receive fluoridated drinking water, our industrial food system sees foods and beverages being shipped from cities that do.
One of the world's largest pesticide manufacturers is The Dow Chemical Company. We will put the spotlight on Dow, a company that has close ties to the issues covered on this broadcast.
Charles Benbrook - Chief Scientist, The Organic Center (Oregon) - The Organic Center foresees the conversion of agriculture to organic methods improving health for the earth and its inhabitants. They aim to generate credible, peer reviewed scientific information and communicate the verifiable benefits of organic farming and products to society. Dr. Charles Benbrook worked in Washington, D.C. on agricultural policy, science and regulatory issues from 1979 through 1997. He served for 1.5 years as the agricultural staff expert on the Council for Environmental Quality at the end of the Carter Administration. In early 1981, he was the Executive Director of the Subcommittee of the House Committee on Agriculture with jurisdiction over pesticide regulation, research, trade and foreign agricultural issues. In 1984 Benbrook was recruited to the job of Executive Director, Board on Agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences, a position he held for seven years.
Richard Wiles - Senior Vice-President, Environmental Working Group (EWG) (Washington D.C.) - EWG has been at the forefront of the debate on PCBs in farmed salmon, benzene in soft drinks and fluoride in city drinking water. Richard Wiles directs EWG's programs. He is a former senior staff officer at the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Agriculture, where he directed scientific studies, including two that resulted in landmark reports: Regulating Pesticides in Food: The Delaney Paradox and Alternative Agriculture. Wiles is a leading expert in environmental risks to children, and under his direction, EWG has become one of the most respected environmental research organizations in the country.