Deconstructing Dinner
Deconstructing Dinner is a podcast/radio show that broadcast between 2006 through 2011 with a brief return of a handful of episodes in 2014. Almost 200 episodes are available on topics ranging from corporate consolidation, animal welfare, urban food production and the local and good food movements. With host Jon Steinman.
Chemical Food II

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.

Additional Audio

Twenty Years Without Justice: The Bhopal Chemical Disaster, Sanford Lewis, Strategic Video Productions - The official 20th anniversary film of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.

Direct download: DD110206.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:27pm EDT

Food for Fuel, Fuel for Food

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.

Direct download: DD102606.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:04pm EDT

The GMO Trilogy - Hidden Dangers in Kids Meals

Launched in April 2006, a new DVD and CD set produced by bestselling author Jeffrey Smith (Seeds of Deception) shows that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) put our health and environment at risk. The release of The GMO Trilogy was in conjunction with Earth Day (April 22) and International GMOpposition Day (April 8)- a coordinated 30-nation campaign to raise awareness about genetically modified (GM) food.

Organizations will be asking hundreds of thousands of their members to buy the Trilogy to show at house parties and several manufacturers have sponsored the 3-disc set to keep it affordable.

Deconstructing Dinner will be featuring the 3-part series in audio format.

Part 3 - Hidden Dangers in Kids Meals: Genetically Modifed Foods

Shocking research results, inadequate regulations and warnings from eminent scientists explain why GM foods are dangerous and should be removed from kids' meals. The dramatic story of how student behavior in a Wisconsin school was transformed with a healthy diet provides added motivation to make a change. It features Jeffrey Smith and more than a dozen scientists and experts.

"Hidden Dangers pierces the myth that our government is protecting our food supply"
- John Robbins, Diet for a New America

"It will change the way you look at food forever."
- Howard Lyman, Mad Cowboy

"The revelations in Hidden Dangers make our choice clear - take needless risks with genetically engineered food or just say no to this madness."
- Frances Moore Lappé, Diet for a Small Planet

"Watch this video and start educating yourself."
- Candace Pert, PhD, Molecules of Emotion

"Play this video for parents! It's powerful, moving, and will shake people awake to how crazy it is to feed genetically engineered foods to children. It will change what parents and schools buy, which will change what manufacturers use in their products."
- Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association

"When parents watch scientist after scientist describe the dangers of GM foods, I wouldn't want to be a stubborn food service director trying to stand in their way."
- Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism

Direct download: DD092806.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:28am EDT

Conscientious Cooks II

A periodic series that will explore the foodservice industry and those who are making unique efforts to create more sustainable interactions between the field and the table.

On part two of this series, we visit with two chefs who approach food preparation in very different ways, yet both retain a common bond that sees a respect for food that is often void in many restaurant environments.


Chantale Roy - Raw Food Chef, Instructor and Consultant, raw - Cuisine Plenitude (Nelson) - Raw food is one of many new diets being introduced to our North American culture. On the other hand, a raw food diet was the only diet prior to the advent of fire. In this sense, "raw foodists" see such a diet as being a more natural and healthful approach to eating. Through her work, Chantale Roy lives her passion for gourmet cuisine, optimum health and divine respect for humanity and the earth. She has practiced Permaculture and Community Supported Agriculture in Quebec. Chantale has studied at Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in California and has just recently arrived in BC where she operates a business offering prepared raw foods to those in the Nelson area. Chantale additionally offers educational classes that assist participants in making the transition to a raw food diet.

Daveq - Manager, Chef, Farmer, Preserved Seed Cafe and Mate Factor Teahouse (Nelson) - Not many restaurants source a portion of their food from their own farm! The Preserved Seed is a shining example of a restaurant looking to foster a more sustainable approach to sourcing and preparing food. Located in Nelson, the Preserved Seed is an extension of Mount Sentinel Farm - an "Intentional Community" located just outside of the city. The common North American definition of community is often distorted within a culture that encourages individual gains. While the Preserved Seed's approach to food is unique unto itself, the community that supports the restaurant is also one to look to when addressing how both food and community are integral to each other.

Direct download: DD091406.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:02am EDT

Bioneers II

Bioneers was conceived to conduct educational and economic development programs in the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, traditional farming practices, and environmental restoration. Their radio programs are heard in over 200 cities.

Series III, PART 10: PLANTS AND PEOPLE – WHO'S CULTIVATING WHOM? Award-winning journalist for the New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World, and The Omnivore's Dilemma, takes a fresh perspective on the co-evolution of people and plants.

Series I, PART 12: WISDOM AT THE END OF THE HOE – FARMING AS IF BIOLOGY MATTERED What is it like living at a plant's pace? Is the gardener growing the garden or is the garden transforming the gardener? John Jeavons, Starhawk, Cathrine Sneed, Bob Cannard and Penny Livingston point to the genuine solutions for farming in harmony with the Earth. They are restoring soils and restoring souls.

Direct download: DD090706.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:10am EDT