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.
Deceivable Dairy I

Clean, white, wholesome milk, cream, cheeses, butter, yogurt and ice cream - very common ingredients within the diet of Canadians.

Dairy was recently the centre of attention throughout the Canadian media, following a raid on a farm in Ontario where raw milk was being produced and sold. As the sale of raw milk is prohibited throughout Canada, this exposure reintroduces the controversy surrounding the standard pasteurization of milk products.

Dairy products are a staple of the Canadian diet, but how much information are Canadians missing out on? As one of the most aggressive marketers within the agriculture/food industry, dairy receives a pretty positive image. But behind the production of milk are issues surrounding animal welfare, environmental impacts and consumer health.

As this topic is so unexplored by the media, this will mark the first of a 2-part series on Dairy production in Canada. Join us as we explore the surprisingly un-chartered territory of dairy: raw milk vs. pasteurized, grass-fed vs. grain-fed, environmental impacts of dairy systems, organic dairy, animal welfare, and how the veal industry is a byproduct of your stick of butter.


Sally Fallon - President and Treasurer, Weston A. Price Foundation (Washington D.C.) - A nonprofit charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated non-industrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets. The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the Foundation, and promotes the production and consumption of pasture-raised raw milk products. Sally is a journalist, chef, nutrition researcher, homemaker, and community activist. She is the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (NewTrends).

Dr. Alan Fredeen - Professor, Plant and Animal Science, Nova Scotia Agricultural College (Truro, NS) - Comprising NSAC's Department of Plant and Animal Sciences is the Atlantic Pasture Research Group. The APRG is an informal association of scientists in the Atlantic region with an interest in research on grazing animals and pastures. Among Dr. Fredeen's areas of interest, is the environmental comparisons of pasture-raised dairy versus the more conventional confined systems.

Ric Llewellyn - Jerseyland Organics (Grand Forks, BC) - A family owned and operated dairy. Ric & Vickie Llewellyn settled there in 1985 with their herd of pure bred Jersey cattle that now number 95(+) head. In 1994 Jerseyland Cheese began commercial production after completing its transition to "Certified Organic" status. Thus making Jerseyland B.C.'s & Western Canada's first "organic" dairy and Western Canada's first producer of organic cheeses and yogurts.

Direct download: DD012507.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:09pm EST

Thought for Food - Alternatives Journal

In a recent issue of the highly-respected Alternatives Journal, the subject of food, filled the pages within. Titled "Thought for Food", the edition connected a new generation of food activists to a classic member of Canada's food heritage. It honours the People's Food Commission that, in the late 1970s, traveled across the country to hear the views of fellow citizens and then assembled the trend-setting report: The Land of Milk and Money.

On this broadcast of Deconstructing Dinner, we hear from 3 of the issue's authors and a subject-specific guest, for what will provide a potluck of topics and ideas to explore.


Darrin Qualman - Director of Research, National Farmers' Union (NFU) (Saskatoon, SK) - "The Cupboard Is Bare" - Transnational interference grinds down world grain supplies. What you should know about grain prices. NFU members 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. Darrin is also the Water Issues Coordinator of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society.

Rachelle Sauvé - Freegan, Food Not Bombs (Peterborough, ON) - "Dumpster Dining" - Freegans consume waste food to protest consumer waste. While this article was authored by Ferne Edwards, Rachelle Sauvé is very much the subject matter herself. She eats as a vegan and does her best to defy the cycle of capitalist production and consumption by finding the majority of all things that she consumes from resources that are set to be waste or have been discarded as waste. Rachelle believes strongly "that in an economic system that exploits and subjugates the majority of people, those who need food, shelter, clothing, etc... have the right to and should reclaim the waste products of an over consumptive society to provide for their basic needs."

Marc Xuereb - Public Health Planner, Region of Waterloo Public Health (Kitchener, ON) - "And Miles to Go Before I Eat - Home-Grown Hurrah" - Marc recently authored the study, "Food Miles - Environmental Implications of Food Imports to Waterloo Region". The report documents the average distances travelled by imports of selected food items to Waterloo Region as well as the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with their transport.

Peter Andreé - Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Carleton University (Ottawa, ON) - "And Miles to Go Before I Eat - Local Limitations" - Peter's contribution to the "Thought for Food" issue, provided a critical response to Marc Xuereb's "Home Grown Hurrah". Peter identifies that supporting local, is not necessarily the most environmentally friendly choice. Specializing in Politics and the Environment, Peter's primary interest lies in food issues. He is the author of the forthcoming "Genetically Modified Diplomacy" (UBC Press). His academic research most recently took him to Australia's Monash University.

Direct download: DD011807.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:24pm EST

100-Mile Diet / Local Food Strategies

When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically travelled at least 1,500 miles. On the first day of spring, 2005, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon chose to confront this unsettling statistic with a simple experiment. For one year, they would buy or gather their food and drink from within 100 miles of their apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Since then, James and Alisa have gotten up-close-and-personal with issues ranging from the family-farm crisis to the environmental value of organic pears shipped across the globe. They've reconsidered vegetarianism and sunk their hands into community gardening.

Their 100-Mile Diet struck a deeper chord than anyone could have predicted. Within weeks, reprints of their blog at had appeared on sites across the internet. Then came the media, from BBC Worldwide to Utne magazine. Dozens of individuals and grassroots groups have since launched their own 100-Mile Diet adventures.

In October 2006, Deconstructing Dinner recorded exclusive sessions of the Bridging Borders Toward Food Security Conference held in Vancouver. The conference was organized by the California-based Community Food Security Coalition and Food Secure Canada. Both James and Alisa shared their thoughts about their 100-Mile experience to an audience of Food Security practitioners. This broadcast features their presentation.

Additional clips for this broadcast were compiled in September 2006 at the Sorrento Gathering of the BC Food Systems Network.


Alisa Smith - 100-Mile Diet Society (Vancouver, BC) - is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her articles have been printed in U.S. and Canadian publications from Reader's Digest to Utne. The books Liberalized (New Star, 2005) and Way Out There (Greystone, 2006) also feature her work. Smith has a Master's degree in history and has taught magazine writing. She has been a member of the Cypress Community Garden for five years, and hopes someday to successfully grow an eggplant.

James (J.B.) MacKinnon - 100-Mile Diet Society (Vancouver, BC) - is the author of Dead Man in Paradise (Douglas & McIntyre), which won the 2006 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction. His work as a journalist has earned two national magazine awards, and he is a senior contributing editor to Explore Magazine. A past editor of Adbusters, MacKinnon speaks regularly on writing and the politics of consumerism. After a year on the 100-Mile Diet, he will never again eat store-bought sauerkraut.

Brent Warner - Industry Specialist, Agritourism/Direct Marketing, British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture & Lands (Victoria, BC) - Brent is a horticulturalist who has worked with the Ministry since 1980. Brent is the Secretary of the North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association. He authored "Marketing on the Edge" - a guide for farmers/producers to assist in diversification and marketing of their products directly to the public.

Heather Pritchard - Executive Director, FarmFolk/CityFolk (Vancouver, BC) - An organic farmer for 21 years and a member of the Glorious Organics Cooperative. Sits on the Vancouver Food Policy Council, the GVRD Agricultural Advisory Committee, Colony Parks Association and BC Food Systems Network. FFCF's mission is: farm and city working together to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. FFCF has recently engaged into a collaborative endeavour to create CFCA (Collective Farm Community Alliance); created to support the creation and sustaining of collectively owned farms.

Kathleen Gibson - Principal, GBH Consulting Group Ltd (Victoria, BC) - a food systems specialist and policy analyst. Kathleen also works as a Help Desk Coordinator for the Meat Industry Enhancement Strategy of the BCFPA (BC Food Processors Association). (Kathleen was unable to make this recorded session of the conference, and Brent Warner acted as the voice for her presentation!)

Direct download: DD011107.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Best of Deconstructing Dinner Jun-Nov '06

Launching the second season of Deconstructing Dinner, this broadcast explores the highlights from all shows aired between June and November of 2006. Show segments have been orchestrated alongside a soundtrack courtesy of Six Degrees Records.

Direct download: DD010407.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST