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.
Nature as Our Guide

Our most recent Part I of the multi-part series "A Primer on Pesticide Propaganda" has assisted in inspiring the collection of individuals lending their voices to this show.

Of greatest relevance in tying the Pesticide series to today, is reintroducing the very ideology that drives the conventional food system of which we are all mostly a part, and that is one founded upon science. Farmer and Poet Wendell Berry has some important thoughts on this scientific relationship with nature and food.

Also lending their voice will be Michael Pollan as he presents his unique and provocative thoughts on an alternative approach to viewing nature and our food; from the plants' and insects' point of view!

Rounding off the show, we'll listen in on an episode of Peak Moment Television, a weekly broadcast produced in Nevada County, California. Judy Alexander has been experimenting with growing as much food as she possibly can around her Port Townshend home. This tour of her garden will present an on-the-ground example of how engaging in localized food production, one can begin to witness a very alternative ideology to how our food is produced. Instead of relying on science and its reductionist and limiting theories, the wisdom of natural systems are instead allowed to guide what seems to be a far more responsible approach to sourcing our sustenance.


Michael Pollan - Journalist/Author The Omnivore's Dillema (Berkeley, CA) - Most recently the author of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. His previous book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006), was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award for best food writing, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001).

Wendell Berry - Farmer/Poet Lane's Landing Farm (Port Royal, KY) - An American academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer. He is a prolific author of novels, short stories, poems, and essays. Berry writes and works the land on Lane's Landing Farm, five miles from his birthplace in northern Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Madison, Indiana.

Other Featured Audio

Peak Moment: Community Responses For a Changing Energy Future are weekly 28-minute programs featuring host Janaia Donaldson's conversations and on-site tours with guests. It highlights practical solutions and responses towards a lower-energy, more connected, sustainable life. How can we thrive, build stronger communities, and help one another in this time of transition? The show is cablecast on community-access TV stations throughout the USA. (Episode 87 with Judy Alexander)

Judy Alexander - (Port Townsend, WA) - In summer 2006, Judy Alexander embarked on an experiment to see how much food she could grow, and how many neighbors could benefit, from the garden around her house. Check out her homegrown rainwater collection and irrigation system -- watering her 60+ edible crops. Meet the bees, the chickens and the worms. And catch her joy in producing so much food for so little effort.


Direct download: DD022808.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:08pm EDT

A Primer on Pesticide Propaganda I

This series has long been in the works since Host Jon Steinman attended the CropLife Canada conference back in September 2007.

Since the recent streak of municipal pesticide bans were put into place across Canada, the pesticide industry has been on the defense. Represented by trade association CropLife Canada, the public relations strategies being used by the industry were front and centre at the Saskatoon conference. But what about in the media?

On this multi-part series, Deconstructing Dinner explores the messages coming from industry and Canada's regulatory bodies; it will examine research on the pesticide and cancer connections; it will dig deep into the care that agricultural migrant workers receive when working within our borders; and it will challenge one of the most frequently used arguments - "Without pesticides, the world would go hungry!".

Part I
As part of his conference media package, Jon Steinman received a DVD produced by seed and pesticide manufacturer Syngenta Crop Protection Canada. Titled, "A Primer on Pesticides", this production will provide the basis for this Part I of a multi-part series A Primer on Pesticide Propaganda.

Using historical recordings on pesticides, Steinman explores the history of pesticide use throughout North America and makes the connections between war and agriculture. The underlying ideology of being at war against nature is placed into a critical light with Steinman's deconstructing of the many "enemy" weeds that are destroyed by chemicals every day. As is discovered, some of those pesky weeds are actually far more nutritious and resilient than most of what makes up the dominant food supply!


Donna Houghton - Toxicologist Syngenta Crop Protection Canada (Guelph, ON)

Robert Wright - Field Development Manager - Eastern Canada Syngenta Crop Protection Canada (Guelph, ON)

Marian Stypa - Regulatory and Biological Development Syngenta Crop Protection Canada (Guelph, ON)

Nancy Tout - Lead Scientist Dietary Safety Assessment Syngenta Crop Protection Canada (Guelph, ON)

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.

Other Featured Audio

Death to Weeds (1947) - A short film produced by Dow Chemical to promote the use of their pesticide 2,4-D.

Direct download: DD022108.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:53pm EDT

Deconstructing Dinner in our Schools I (Remastered)

How do food issues make their way into our public schools? As Deconstructing Dinner's Jon Steinman recalls, "I remember graduating from high school not knowing the first thing about growing food and having very little idea how the food I consumed impacted the planet on which we live." With schools being the building blocks of our society and culture, how does our publicly-funded education system incorporate into curriculum this all important subject - food.

Part I
Host Jon Steinman takes a ride with Nelson-based Earth Matters as they introduce their Food-to-Table program in local public schools. As a component of the countrywide One-Tonne Challenge, the program involved in-class presentations on how our food choices influence climate change, and saw students visit local grocery stores where food was discussed in-depth.


Colleen Matte and Su Donovaro - Earth Matters (Nelson, BC) - Colleen and Su were the coordinators of the One-Tonne Challenge Food-to-Table program. Earth Matters is a youth-driven environmental organization focusing on the development and implementation of innovative experiential education and community development programs.

Karl Machado - Teacher, L.V. Rogers Secondary School (Nelson, BC) - Karl teaches a unique environmental science class for Grade 12 students. His class particpated in the Food-to-Table program.

Marilyn Lawrence - Teacher, A.I. Collinson Elementary School (Nelson, BC) - Marilyn is the grade 4/5 teacher. Her class participated in the Food-to-Table program.

Sarah Miles and Amber Johnson - Students, L.V. Rogers Secondary School (Nelson, BC)

Grade 4/5 Students - A.I. Collinson Elementary School (Nelson, BC)

Direct download: DD021408.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:41pm EDT

Future of Food III
In November 2007, Deconstructing Dinner attended one of the first regional food security conferences ever held in Canada. With a population of less than 10,000 people, the City of Nelson, British Columbia, hosted over 250 people for the first evening of keynote speakers. With an equally impressive 170 in attendance on the second day of keynote speakers and workshops, the conference acts as an example for other Canadian communities wishing to begin organizing themselves to take greater control over the food available to them.

Deconstructing Dinner hopes the raw recordings, shows, and resources presented on the Conference Page will aid groups across the country looking to ensure the presence of a socially and environmentally responsible local food system that benefits local economies.

Part III
On Part III we listen in on segments from two of the four conference workshops: Technical Aspects of Farming and Community Development. This episode highlights the dialogue that such a conference can help inspire, and emphasizes the wealth of knowledge and talent that may be hidden in the recesses of North American communities.

Conscientious Cooks V
In September 2007, Host Jon Steinman travelled to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. During his time there, he sat down to a tasty meal at Weczeria - a small restaurant where chef Daniel Walker ensures ingredients are uniquely Saskatchewan. While some restaurants display their coveted awards, Walker instead adorns his walls with photographs of his suppliers.


Merv Sloss, Local Flavours Products and Services Co-operative (Creston, BC) - LFPSC is a food co-operative that looks to directly link producers, processors, distributors and retailers with consumers.

Herb Barbolet, Associate - Simon Fraser University's Centre for Sustainable Community Development (CSCD) (Burnaby, 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. Herb farmed organically for ten years and was co-founder of FarmFolk/CityFolk, a nonprofit that works to create local, sustainable food systems.

Jeremy Lack, Farmer - Mad Dog Farm (Tarrys, BC)

Wayne Harris, Farmer - Mountain Valley Dairy (Lister, BC)

And more from workshop delegates, panelists and facilitators...


Dan Walker, Owner/Chef - Weczeria: Food & Wine (Saskatoon, SK) - The word "Weczeria" is an homage to Daniel and Nicole Walker's roots. Daniel is of Ukrainian ancestry and Nicole is of Polish ancestry; together they chose Weczeria, the Ukrainian word for "evening meal." Although the restaurant's cuisine is not Ukrainian, the couple's heritage influences their preference for local ingredients and their desire to feed people the way they were fed growing up, how good Ukrainians feed people: with heart and hospitality.

Direct download: DD020708.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

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.


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: 1:53pm EDT