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.
Independent Canadian Radio Potluck

In January 2006, Deconstructing Dinner was launched to fill a gap not nearly satisfied by Canada's mainstream media. But the subject matter of Deconstructing Dinner is frequently covered by other independent radio stations across the country.

This broadcast will highlight four programs from campus and community radio stations that have explored how our food choices impact ourselves, our communities and the planet. In doing so, we hope to showcase the importance of independent media and the diversity of content that can be found within.

Featured Programs

"Redeye" - Vancouver Co-operative Radio CFRO, (Vancouver, BC) - Redeye is a 3-hour radio program broadcast live every Saturday morning on Vancouver Cooperative Radio, CFRO 102.7FM. It is produced by an independent media collective at the studios of Coop Radio in Vancouver's downtown Eastside. The show has been on the air for over 30 years, providing high-quality public affairs and arts programming to listeners looking for a progressive take on current events.

Jason Mark -
Farmer and author based in San Francisco California. Interviewed by Peter Royce. Urban farms in Havana supply all the fresh fruit and vegetables the city's residents need. Cuba made the transition to small-scale, local, organic production following the break-up of the Soviet Union. The crisis Cuba continues to respond to, is a glimpse into the very crisis that Canadians may very well face in the near or distant future. Aired: 04.14.07

"Alert!" - University of Manitoba CJUM - (Winnipeg, MB) - Broadcast every Friday at 11 AM on 101.5 UMFM in Winnipeg, Alert radio brings you all kinds of leading-edge information they think you want to hear. The show covers politics, economics, issues of social and environmental justice; features interviews, commentaries, profiles of people in the news; has features on music, media, the arts; as well as special shows dedicated to new ideas or significant events.

Mustafa Koc - Former Chair of
Food Secure Canada and Founding Coordinator of Ryerson University's Centre for Studies in Food Security (Toronto). Interviewed by Andre Clement. Health Canada's new Food Guide was recently released, Mustafa Koc speaks about the corporate influence on the creation of the guide. Aired: 03.02.07

"The Friday Morning After" - McGill University CKUT - (Montreal, QC) - CKUT 90.3 FM McGill Radio Inc. is a non-profit campus community radio station that provides alternative music, news and spoken word programming to the city of Montreal and surrounding areas. CKUT is made up of over 200 volunteers who work closely with a staff of coordinators. The Friday Morning After is a weekly public affairs program airing every Friday morning from 7-8am, and is produced by a collective of volunteers.

Alka Chandna - Senior Researcher,
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) - Norfolk, VA. Interviewed by Joe Broadhurst. This segment looks deeper into the massive Menu Foods pet food recall. While the mainstream media reports on only a few deaths as a result of the recall, thousands of pets are said to have died from the tainted food. Alka Chandna speaks about Menu Foods' past and an unregulated industry where everyone has blood on their hands. Did Menu Foods hold back the recall so two weeks of evidence could be thrown away by consumers? Aired: 03.30.07

"You Are What You Eat" - Queen's University CFRC - (Kingston, ON) - CFRC provides innovative and alternative radio programming that enriches and challenges the academic and cultural life of the University and Kingston community. Tune into You Are What You Eat when Sayyida Jaffer explores nutrition, culture and politics and how they relate to food.

On March 22, 2007, Queen's University's
Studies in National and International Development program hosted a panel of experts on the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). The event was titled "The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program in Canada: Route to Mutual Development or Recipe for Migrant Exploitation?". with Ken Forth, Chairman of the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Service (Lynden, ON). Stan Raper, United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) (Toronto, ON). Dr. Leigh Binford, Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, Mexico. Aired: 03.29.07

Direct download: DD042607.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:34am EST

Co-operatives - Alternatives to Industrial Food II

Listen to a few broadcasts of Deconstructing Dinner, and choosing food may suddenly become an intimidating adventure. It is of the utmost importance that we also bring our listeners examples of alternatives to the industrial food system that is spiraling out of the control of Canadians.

Enter the co-operative model of operating a business. Long an example in Canada of how people can assume control over our needs and resources, co-operatives as an alternative to the industrial food system will be the focus of this series. This is an exciting series, as we ourselves at Kootenay Co-op Radio are a co-operative too.

How does a co-operative differ from a traditional business? Most importantly, a co-operative is owned and democratically controlled by the people who use the services or by those working within the co-op. A co-op is operated for the benefit of members and members have a say in decisions affecting the co-op. In the case of food, such a premise directly challenges many of the pressing issues Deconstructing Dinner explores on a weekly basis.

On this Part II of the series, we look at how co-operatives can provide an alternative to agricultural land ownership and how farmers can receive a fair price by working together to market their product.


Rob Diether and Lorraine LeBourdais - Horse Lake Community Farm Co-operative (100-Mile House, BC) - An innovative plan to protect a unique piece of farmland in British Columbia is providing a model of how a community can take ownership of the land that feeds them, and guarantee access to locally grown food. Working with The Land Conservancy (TLC), a co-operative has been formed to purchase and preserve a 133-acre farm at the east end of Horse Lake. Joining the Co-op provides many benefits. These include community involvement in the farm's operation with preferred access to the farm's organic produce, educational and cultural activities and special programs and events on the property.

Cathleen and Brewster Kneen - The Ram's Horn (Ottawa, ON) - In October 2006, Deconstructing Dinner recorded Cathleen and Brewster speak at the Bridging Borders Towards Food Security Conference held in Vancouver, BC. Their workshop told the story of the Northumberland Lamb Marketing Co-operative in Truro, Nova Scotia, which recently marked its 25th anniversary. Their workshop explored the factors that made Northumberlamb a voluntary supply management system, setting prices, controlling quality, negotiating delivery times and volumes with farmers, and supplying the major supermarkets in the province with local lamb year round. Cathleen and Brewster publish The Ram's Horn - a monthly journal of food systems analysis.

Audio Clips

Grassroots Groceries - Produced and hosted by Wajid Jenkins for Sprouts - a weekly news magazine of the Pacifica Foundation. Wajid hosts The Compost Pile at WORT Madison, Wisconsin. Grassroots Groceries looks at the past, present and future prospects for grassroots groceries in Madison, Wisconsin. With a globalized food system that favors centralized, large-volume brokers, small-scale grocers face huge obstacles. One of the original food cooperatives in the United States, the Mifflin Street Community Cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin was forced to close its doors on Friday December 8, 2006. Established in January 1969, Mifflin Coop played a pivotal role in the progressive movement for food justice in the Midwest and beyond. With roots in the radical politics of the movement against the Vietnam War, Mifflin has remained true to its original values and mission. It is a collectively managed, member-owned small-scale grocery. Mifflin was central in the formation and support of other cooperative businesses in the Midwest, loaning money, inspiring discussion and forging new paths. It struggled with debt, changing neighborhood demographics and runaway globalization of the food system. Now, after 38 years, it has closed it's doors, leaving a small but obvious hole in the local food scene in Madison.

Direct download: DD041907.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:49pm EST

Packaged Foods Exposed III - Kraft

The Packaged Foods Exposed series takes a look at the largest food manufacturers in the world. What products fall under their banners; how has their influence shaped economic policy, society and culture; how have they affected the environments they operate in; and what relationships do they foster within the countries they are located?

This series places corporations in a critical light, hoping to provide a more balanced image to the advertising and PR campaigns launched by some of the most influential food corporations on the planet.

In this third episode of the Packaged Foods Exposed series, we take a look at the second largest food manufacturer in the world, and the largest in North America - Kraft Foods.

The first half of the broadcast will look at the company's previous ownership by tobacco giant Altria/Philip Morris, and fast track to today, because since March 30, 2007, Kraft is now an independent company. Many eaters around the world are still unaware that between 1988 and 2007, support for Kraft products was support for the tobacco industry.

Within the second half of the show, Kraft's marketing strategies will be placed under a critical light following our discovery of an advertisement that was rolling in lies. Other highly questionable marketing campaigns will also be explored.


Bryan Hirsch - Organizer, Corporate Accountability International (Boston, MA) - Formerly INFACT, Corporate Accountability International is a membership organization that protects people by waging campaigns that challenge irresponsible and dangerous corporate actions around the world. For 30 years, Corporate Accountability International and our members have scored major victories that protect people's lives by forcing corporations like Nestlé, General Electric and Philip Morris/Altria to stop abusive practices. Kraft Foods has long been boycotted by the organization, but since its recent spin off from Philip Morris, the boycott has now been dropped.

Audio Clips

Making a Killing (2001) - Corporate Accountability International / AndersonGold Films - A powerful organizing tool in the fight for social justice and tobacco control. This documentary exposes Philip Morris/Altria’s deadliest abuses. It reveals the burning truth about how the tobacco giant uses its political power, size and promotional expertise to spread tobacco addiction internationally, leaving in its wake a trail of death and destruction.

Direct download: DD041207.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:33pm EST

The End of Food - The Evolution of Nutrition and Human Health

Finding the adequate nutritional balance within our food is often of paramount importance. When looking at the history of the current food system serving Canadians, it becomes apparent that only for a short time have we been experimenting with such a modern approach to eating. Processed foods and industrial farming are seen as convenient innovations, but how has such a model affected the nutritional composition of our food?

Two speakers addressed this concern at the 2007 Growing Up Organic Conference held in Toronto on February 17th. The conference was organized by the Canadian Organic Growers. This broadcast will examine how, since the innovations coming out of World War II, the nutritional content of the Canadian food supply has plummeted.

Through the assistance of CKLN in Toronto and Heather Douglas, Deconstructing Dinner was on hand to record the conference. This broadcast features the final session of the conference where panelists were posed the question, "Is Organic Worth the Price?".


Thomas Pawlick, Author, The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply - And What We Can Do About It (Kingston, Ontario) - Pawlick's lecture was titled "Our Children's Food, Our Children's Survival". A veteran newspaper and magazine journalist with more than 30 years experience in Canada and abroad, Thomas has taught at both Canadian and foreign universities and colleges. The End of Food exposes the cause of the food crisis--an industrial system of food production geared not toward producing nourishing food, but maximum profit for corporations. Thomas is currently on leave from his position as Associate Professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Regina. Following the book achieving best-seller status, the University cut his salary, cut his research funding, removed him from email lists, and removed all copies of his book from the shelves of the campus book store. Thomas Pawlick is currently restoring a small scale organic farm north of Kingston, Ontario with his son.

Ellen Desjardins, Public Health Nutritionist - Region of Waterloo Public Health (Kitchener, ON) - Ellen's presentation is titled "Eat up! It's good for you! - what the scientific literature says about the health benefits of organics". Ellen has worked in various programs throughout the province and at the federal level for the past 20 years. Ellen has co-authored numerous articles in the area of food security. She has also chaired work-groups and prepared position papers for the Ontario Public Health Association on food systems, public health concerns about food biotechnology, and mercury in fish. In 2005, Ellen was a founding member of the new national organization Food Secure Canada.

Audio Clip

"Food for Fighters" - Produced in 1943 by the United States Office of War Information, this short provides a glimpse into the origins of our current food system. The film was designed to promote the innovations that provided soldiers overseas with nutritionally adequate food. The audio version featured on this broadcast is available in its visual format from the Prelinger Archive at

Direct download: DD040507.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:16pm EST