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.
The Birth of a Farmers' Market

In October 2007, Host Jon Steinman paid a visit to the community of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. With a population of 80,000, it came as a surprise to discover that the city does not maintain a functioning farmers' market where food is the focus. Recognizing how the absence of one threatened the already vulnerable state of Vancouver Island agriculture, the Food Sustainability Sub-Committee of the Mid-Island Co-op organized a one-day Farmers' Showcase. The event acted as a trial farmers' market to determine the feasibility of such an event on a weekly basis.

With over 3,000 people swarming upon the farmers and producers, the success of the market was a clear sign of the healthy potential for an increase in local food production on Vancouver Island.

Guests

Dirk Becker, Farmer/Activist, Compassion Farms (Lantzville, BC) - Dirk farms organically on 2.5 acres. He uses farming as a means to inspire others to reconnect with the land of which we are a part. Dirk is a member of the Food Sustainability Sub-Committee of the Mid-Island Co-op. He hosts a weekly radio program on CHLY Nanaimo - Heart and Mind, Tuesday, 1-2pm.

Arata Tanaka, Baker, Flour, Water, Salt Breads (Mill Bay, BC) - In 2006, Arata was permitted to build a wood-fired brick oven on the property of Merridale Estate Cidery. He sells his bread at Vancouver Island markets.

Betty Benson, Farmer, Cedar Valley Poultry (Nanaimo, BC) - The Benson family has been supporting agriculture in the Nanaimo area since 1948. Betty now raises organic Chickens and Turkeys and recently launched an adopt-a-turkey program.

Bob Handel, Farmer, Happy Beef (Nanaimo, BC) - Maintaining a small herd of cattle, according to their customers, Bob and Gerry Handel sell some of the finest tasting beef on Vancouver Island.

Maureen Drew, Partner, Artisan Edibles Fine Food Company (Parksville, BC) - Artisan Edibles condiments and preserves blend the best flavours of Vancouver Island and the world. Their mission is to develop flavourful condiments using Vancouver Island's natural bounty.

Stan Reist, Co-Owner, Flying Dutchman (Nanaimo, BC) - Supplies bees, bee-keeping supplies and honey sales from the Mountains and Valleys of Vancouver Island.

Craig Evans, Landscape & Garden Coordinator, Providence Farm (Duncan, BC) - A working organic farm dedicated to restoring the spirit and skills of those with physical, mental, and emotional challenges.

Sharon Vansickle, Sharon's Kitchen Crafts (Nanaimo, BC) - Sharon produces a wide-range of condiments and preserves and offers canning workshops to area-residents.

Lorelai Andrew, Food Sustainability Sub-Committee, Mid-Island Co-op (Nanaimo, BC)

Direct download: DD013108.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The patenting of our food supply through biotechnology could be suggested as one of the greatest systems of control ever devised. As the executive branches of North American governments alongside corporate interests push forward the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), it must be noted that reference to ‘biotechnology’ is littered throughout SPP literature. While Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) has taken on the legitimacy of the SPP as a major campaign, it became clear following last week’s comments by MP Alex Atamanenko, that the ability to politically challenge this system of food control is running into more hurdles.

There are, however, community-led alternatives – GE-Free Zones. Last week’s broadcast concluded with a sampling of audio clips from the first GE-Free Kootenays meeting that took place in Nelson, BC in November 2007 when 23 local residents and politicians gathered together to discuss the creation of such a zone. This broadcast continues in more depth and explores more of the dialogue that took place during that meeting, and in doing so, seeks to create better understanding of how communities can begin taking such concerns into their own hands.

We also spend time learning of similar efforts being forged in one of the last areas of North America still free of genetically engineered crops – The Yukon.

Guests

Tom Rudge – GE-Free Yukon (Whitehorse, YK) – Tom is a steering committee member of the Society for a GE Free BC. He is a Director of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), a Founding Member of the Fireweed Community Market, the leader of the Whitehorse Slow Food Convivium. Tom has been around since the beginning of the organic food movement in the Yukon, and is part of Growers of Organic Food Yukon – a chapter of the Canadian Organic Growers. He has a degree in Agriculture, and operates a certified organic farm “Aurora Mountain Farm”.

Jessica Stevenson – ResearcherGreenpeace Canada (Vancouver, BC) – Greenpeace Canada has been running an ongoing campaign titled “Say No to Genetic Engineering”. The organization has commissioned a number of polls, among them one that indicated British Columbians overwhelmingly demand labelling of foods that contain genetically-engineered ingredients. Greenpeace opposes the release of GE crops and animals into the environment based on the precautionary principle. They advocate interim measures including the labelling of GE foods and the segregation of GE crops and seeds from conventional and organic seeds. Greenpeace supports the 58 recommendations made in 2001 by the expert panel of the Royal Society of Canada. They also oppose all patents on plants, animals, humans and genes.

Voices

Angela Reid – Deputy LeaderGreen Party of British Columbia (Kelowna, BC) – Angela has run as a Green Party candidate in four elections, two provincial and two federal, between 2001 and 2006. In the spring of 2006, Angela was appointed to the Federal Council of the Green Party of Canada (GPC), and soon after was elected as a Councillor at Large during the GPC’s August Convention in Ottawa. Angela is also the CEO of the GPC’s Kelowna Electoral District Association, and was recently appointed the Okanagan Regional Representative for the Green Party of British Columbia. She operates Tigress Ventures – providing consulting services for environmental and socially oriented businesses.

Gord McAdams – CouncillorCity of Nelson (Nelson, BC) – Gord has worked as an Ecologist for BC’s Ministry of Water, Air and Land Protection. In 2005, he was fired for bringing confidential government documents to the BC Supreme Court in support of a court action brought by the West Kootenay Ecosociety. The documents showed that the Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection had made “an unauthorized exercise of his statutory power” when he favoured a developer by agreeing to move an access road in Grohman Narrows Provincial Park. The government documents clearly stated that the new road would bury nests and kill eggs of endangered painted turtles in the Park. On December 11, the Campaign for Open Government and the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association presented Gord with the Whistleblower Award for 2007.

Direct download: DD011708.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The Colonization of the Canadian Farmer II: Canadian Media and Creating GE-Free Zones

This broadcast explores the english print media coverage in Canada throughout 2007 on the controversies surrounding genetically engineered foods. Why has Canada become such a willing host to GE foods whereas throughout most of the world, bans, moratoriums and watchful eyes keep genetically modified organisms off grocery store shelves? Host Jon Steinman looks to provide one answer by deconstructing some of the confusing language that the Canadian public is receiving from some of the most vocal and published proponents of GE foods. The Kootenay region of BC for one has become a hotbed of media debates on the topic as it's NDP Agriculture Critic Alex Atamanenko who represents the riding in Ottawa. Atamanenko is at the forefront of politically challenging the presence of genetically engineered foods in Canada.

The broadcast also launches a segment on the creation of regions free of genetically-engineered crops. In November 2007, Deconstructing Dinner recorded the first meeting of residents and politicians who began strategizing around the launch of a campaign to create a GE-Free Kootenays. This segment continues into next week's broadcast.

Voices

Marc Loiselle, Communications and Research Director - Saskatchewan Organic Directorate's OAPF (Vonda, SK) - Marc farms on a century old family farm. The Loiselle Organic Family Farm grows cereal, oilseed, pulse, clover and hay crops. They raise chickens, goats and cattle. Marc has worked with certified organic and biodynamic practices for 22 years. Marc is one of a few farmers in Canada growing Red Fife Wheat.

Mischa Popoff, isitorganic.ca (Osoyoos, BC) - Mischa was an organic inspector until 2003. In an interview with The Western Producer, Popoff questioned the integrity of the organic sector, following which, he had trouble finding work in the industry. Popoff was a nominee in the 2007 federal Conservative Party candidacy for the BC Southern Interior riding.

Alex Atamanenko, MP BC Southern Interior / NDP Agriculture Critic, "New Democratic Party of Canada" (Ottawa, ON / Castlegar, BC) - Elected the Member of Parliament for British Columbia Southern Interior in 2006. Alex is the critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Canadian Wheat Board. Atamanenko was born in New Westminster, and was educated at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto.

Lorne Hepworth, President, CropLife Canada (Toronto, ON) - CropLife Canada is the trade association representing the manufacturers, developers and distributors of plant science innovations — pest control products and plant biotechnology — for use in agriculture, urban and public health settings.

and... Participants at the November 10, 2007 GE-Free Kootenays meeting held in Nelson, BC

Direct download: DD011008.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:29am EST

The Colonization of the Canadian Farmer: Saskatchewan Organic Farmers vs. Monsanto/Bayer

If you were told, that organic farmers are giving up growing organic crops, would you be concerned? Organic standards prohibit the presence of genetically engineered organisms within a harvest, but since outcrossing between plants is unavoidable in nature, genetically engineered canola is so easily crossing with non-GE varieties being grown organically, that these crops are unable to be certified as organic.

Monsanto has long been at the forefront of controversy around genetically engineered plants, and most notably, when their hired hands began trespassing onto farmers properties, taking samples, and then accusing farmers of stealing their technologies. One farmer who has now become world-renowned for his defiance of such actions, was Percy Schmeiser, whose field of non-genetically engineered canola became the unwilling host to Monsanto's patented GE variety known as Roundup Ready Canola. It was this case, that eventually set the precedent that a company can indeed own the lifeforms (the plants) that inadvertently make their way onto a farmers field. But if a company maintains ownership of the seed and hence the plant, then should that company maintain responsibility for the damages that their property causes?

The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate has since 2002 been seeking compensation for the damages caused by the property owned by the American-based Monsanto and Germany's Bayer. A class action lawsuit was chosen, as the issues raised by the two plaintiffs are no different than those faced by any organic farmer operating in Canada. In May 2005, the lower court in Saskatchewan denied the group such class action status, and subsequent appeals were also denied in May 2007 and then again in December 2007 by the Supreme Court of Canada. This exhausted all legal avenues for such a case. But while the denial of acquiring such status is a blow to the farmers, it's far from being the end to their fight.

Guests

Sean Gardner, Vice President & General Manager - Monsanto Canada Inc. (Winnipeg, MB) - Monsanto's Canadian operations are part of the larger, global Monsanto company headquartered in St. Louis, MO. The company produces canola, corn and soybean seed products, and a range of herbicides most often found under the brand name - Roundup. Sean has been with the Canadian operation since 2005 and in his current position since August 2006. He previously worked as Monsanto's country lead for the Mediterranean area comprised of Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Sean joined Monsanto in 1998 when the company acquired PBI Cambridge. Prior to joining Monsanto, Sean worked at Unilever.

Arnold Taylor, President - Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD) (Kenaston, SK) - Since 1991, SOD has acted as an umbrella organization for organic producers, certifiers and processors. They are the SK chapter of the Canadian Organic Growers. The organization maintains a membership of 600-700. Arnold operates Taylor Organic Farms with his son. The 3,000 acre farm has been certified organic since 1992. Arnold is the President of the Canadian Organic Growers and the Chair of the Organic Federation of Canada. He is also the chair of SOD's Organic Agriculture Protection Fund Committee.

Marc Loiselle, Communications and Research Director - Saskatchewan Organic Directorate's OAPF (Vonda, SK) - Marc farms on a century old family farm. The Loiselle Organic Family Farm grows cereal, oilseed, pulse, clover and hay crops. They raise chickens, goats and cattle. Marc has worked with certified organic and biodynamic practices for 22 years. Marc is one of a few farmers in Canada growing Red Fife Wheat.

Other Voices

Denise Dewar, ex Executive Vice-President Plant Biotechnology - CropLife Canada (Toronto, ON) - CropLife Canada is the trade association representing the manufacturers, developers and distributors of plant science innovations — pest control products and plant biotechnology — for use in agriculture, urban and public health settings. Denise is now in the same position for CropLife International.

Mischa Popoff, isitorganic.ca (Osoyoos, BC) - Mischa was an organic inspector until 2003. In an interview with The Western Producer, Popoff questioned the integrity of the organic sector, following which, he had trouble finding work in the industry. Popoff was a nominee in the 2007 federal Conservative Party candidacy for the BC Southern Interior riding.

 

Direct download: DD010308.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:23pm EST