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.
Backyard Chickens I (Farming in the City III)

Many forms of urban agriculture have existed for thousands of years.

As practical and environmentally responsible as growing food within a city can be, the art of gardening has seemingly disappeared in many urban settings. As current farming practices are proving to be unsustainable in the long-term, urban agriculture is looked upon by many as being a critical shift that needs to take place if we are to ensure a level of food security in the near and distant future.

The Farming in the City series will now be incorporating a new focus on urban backyard chickens. Raising poultry within an urban setting provides eggs, fertilizer, garden help and meat with a minimal environmental footprint. Having suffered decades of disconnection from our food, bringing the farm into the city, and in this case animals, can provide a much needed dose of agricultural and food awareness. It's this very disconnection that has allowed for the appalling conditions now found in factory egg and chicken barns.

Helping guide this series will be Bucky Buckaw and his Backyard Chicken Broadcast. Produced in Boise, Idaho at Radio Boise, Bucky hosts weekly segments on backyard chickening. His experience and knowledge can help guide any urbanite wishing to set up some backyard chickens. On this broadcast, we listen in on four Bucky Buckaw episodes: Intro, Shelter, Feed and Winter.

Backyard Chickens can present a controversial issue in many parts of North America. While many cities do indeed permit the raising of poultry within city limits, some cities do not. One of these "no chicken" cities is Nelson, BC. We will visit with one Nelsonite who has been working to reduce his ecological footprint, and in doing so, is defying the environmentally irresponsible City of Nelson bylaw.


Bucky Buckaw - Host, Bucky Buckaw's Backyard Chicken Broadcast (Boise, ID) - Bucky Buckaw gives advice on raising backyard chickens, as just one example of how a locally based economy can work. Through this segment, he informs listeners about the downside of factory farming and what kinds of toxic chemicals you can expect to find in the resultant livestock. He promotes organic gardening and composting, and supporting local farmers. He shares fascinating chicken lore from the millennia that will fascinate even those with no interest in birds.

Christoph Martens - Backyard Chicken Farmer (Nelson, BC) - Christoph has spent the last three years working towards greater self-sufficiency. He grows food year-round on his small city property and discovered that chickens are, among other benefits, an ideal pest management tool. He accommodates chickens, ducks and rabbits. Christoph believes the long-standing notion that city-life should be separated from farming has "run it's course" and it's time to move on from this "pseudo-royalty".


Direct download: DD032708.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:55pm EST

It is an honour to coincidentally feature two of Canada’s finest on this broadcast. Both are recipients of The Right Livelihood Award (the “Alternative Nobel”).

Water, The Blood of the Earth
Water has long been taken for granted throughout the Global North. We use it in seemingly ever-increasing ways without thinking much about where it comes from, where it goes, and how much water was used to produce the many products/services we use daily. The food system is just one of these significant users of water, and the current state of water around the world is of significant concern. The Council of Canadians’ National Chairperson, Maude Barlow, believes water is the greatest ecological and human rights crisis of our time. In March 2008, Deconstructing Dinner recorded her speak in Castlegar, British Columbia. This segment will mark the beginning of a more concentrated focus on water issues on shows to come.

Monsanto Pays Percy Schmeiser
Saskatchewan Farmer, Percy Schmeiser, spent between 1998 and 2004 standing up to one of the most influential agricultural companies in the world – Monsanto. While it was Monsanto that took Schmesier to court on that occasion, the roles were reversed on Wednesday March 19, 2008, when Monsanto found itself being taken to court by Schmeiser.

It was the first case between Monsanto and Schmeiser that led to the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada Decision that ruled in favour of Monsanto. While the decision assured that regardless of contamination, a farmer cannot grow patented seeds, Schmeiser recognized that if the company is indeed the owner of the plant, then they should be liable for the damages that their property causes others.

There is yet no legal precedent in Canada that has determined who maintains the liability for damages caused by patented plants. Monsanto does however accept moral responsiblity for what are known as “volunteers” (unwanted plants appearing on farmers fields). The company employs a program that offers to remove volunteer plants from farmers fields.

In October 2005, Schmeiser’s farm was visited yet again by Monsanto, and again, in the form of their RoundUp Ready Canola. Schmeiser took advantage of the company’s removal program, but discovered that they would only remove the plants if he signed a release form that contained a confidentiality clause, which he disapproved of. What followed led to an out of court settlement on March 19, 2008, and Monsanto paid Schmeiser the $660 it cost him to have the plants removed.

Tune in to this broadcast to hear an exclusive interview with Percy by CFCR’s Don Kossick (Making the Links Radio) – the only media standing outside the courthouse on that momentous day. Also learn of the interesting dialogue between Host Jon Steinman and Monsanto’s Public Affairs Director, Trish Jordan.


Percy (Bruno, SK) Schmeiser is a 77-year old farmer who, along with his wife Louise, have received global recognition for their passion and devotion to standing up for the rights of farmers. In December 2007, the Schmeisers were awarded the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the “Alternative Nobel”). “I have always campaigned on the right of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed. This is what I have been doing for the last 50 years. I will continue to support any efforts to strengthen the rights of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed.”

Maude BarlowNational ChairpersonCouncil of Canadians (Ottawa, ON) – The Council of Canadians is Canada’s largest public advocacy organization. Barlow is also the co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, which is working internationally for the right to water. She serves on the boards of the International Forum on Globalization and Food and Water Watch, as well as being a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council. Maude is the recipient of six honorary doctorates, the 2005/2006 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, and the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”) for her global water justice work. She is also the best-selling author or co-author of sixteen books, including Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop Corporate Theft of the World’s Water and the recently released Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water.

Direct download: DD032008.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The Local Grain Revolution I / Deconstructing Dinner in Our Schools II

The Local Grain Revolution I
For most Canadians wishing to adopt a more local diet, the overwhelming rise in demand in just the past year has left a large question mark hovering over the heads of many; where is all this local food so many are demanding?

The state of farming and food production in North America has clearly evolved into such a poor state of affairs, little infrastructure and incentive remain to respond to this current demand for local product. While fruits and vegetables may be the most easily accessible local foods at farmers' markets and select grocery stores, grains are not often referred to when speaking of local food. When we start to envision what plant-based foods we're still missing out on in sufficient local quantities, we can list off wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelt, flax, hemp, corn, and leguminous plants such as beans and lentils.

On this exciting broadcast, we explore the creation of a project launched by two conservation groups wishing to experiment with the creation of a local grain market in the middle of the mountains of British Columbia. Matt Lowe of Nelson's West Kootenay EcoSociety and Brenda Bruns of the Creston branch of Wildsight have teamed up with a number of farmers, processors, bakers and eaters, to see if such an idea is indeed possible.

The project will see three Creston-area farmers commit to growing three types of grain in the coming 2008 season. Two-hundred member shares will be issued to residents of Nelson and Creston, and come harvest time, those two-hundred members, will hopefully, receive 100lbs of whole grains. If requested, a miller in Creston and Nelson will be on hand to turn those grains into flour or flakes. This will ensure members are only using the freshest, tastiest and most nutritious product available.

Deconstructing Dinner in Our Schools II
How do food and agricultural issues make their way into educational settings? On this episode of Deconstructing Dinner in Our Schools, we hear from 10-year old Kodiak Morasky who chose a very unique topic to present to his grade 4 classmates in Nelson, B.C. Kodiak was introduced to the world of factory animal farms through the on-line animated series of short films known as The Meatrix. The film had a profound impact on Kodiak, and we listen in on his in-class presentation. Upon learning of the horrific stories coming out of North America's factory farms, we hear one child ask, "can I sue the government"?

Guests/Voices (The Local Grain Revolution)

Matt Lowe, Climate Change Campaigner, West Kootenay EcoSociety (Nelson, BC) - The West Kootenay EcoSociety promotes ecologically and socially sound communities while protecting species and ecosystems in the Southern Columbia Mountains ecoregion. The organization hosted a highly successful Regional Climate Change conference in 2007.

Drew Gailius, Farmer, Full Circle Farm (Canyon, BC) - Drew and Joanne Gailius are new farmers. They sell most of their product at the farmgate. In the past two years they have successfully grown wheat and oats and are eager to find a local market to supply.

Other Voices: Keith Huscroft (Lister, BC), Brenda Bruns (Creston, BC), Jenny Truscott (Creston, BC), David Everest (Nelson, BC)

Guests/Voices (Deconstructing Dinner in Our Schools)

Kodiak Morasky, 10-Year Old Student, Blewett Elementary School (Nelson, BC) - Kodiak's 10 years of age shouldn't fool you. He is deeply concerned with the state of Canada's food supply. His concerns include factory animal farms, genetic engineering and chemical pesticides among others. He is passionate about sharing this information with his friends and classmates.


Direct download: DD031308.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:07pm EST

So, You Want to Be a Farmer?

When taking a closer look at the demographics of the Canadian workforce and dividing it up among trades, farmers represent the oldest demographic in the country at a median age of 52 years. Within agriculturally dense provinces such as Saskatchewan, in 2007, the average farmer was 56 years of age and only 12.3% of all farmers there were under the age of 35.

As skills and knowledge are replaced by fossil fuel dependent systems and technologies, this aging demographic represents a significant threat to the future of Canada's food supply.

Where are Canada's future farmers, and how does anyone interested in farming get involved?

In March 2008, Host Jon Steinman travelled to Sidney, B.C. to attend the annual conference of the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia (COABC). On this broadcast, we listen in on one workshop titled, "Starting Your Organic Farm".

Write to a Farmer Who Inspires You
As the age demographic among farmers continues to change, so too is the population distribution between Canada's urban and rural communities. As the population increasingly becomes concentrated within cities, Canada's urban populations have become far more removed from the source of their food than ever before. One symptom of this change in population distribution has been a seeming loss of appreciation for the all-important grower and producer of food - the farmer. This didn't sit well with Nelson, British Columbia resident Paul Edney who launched an event in collaboration with Nelson's
Kootenay Country Store Co-operative. The event was titled "Write to a Farmer who Inspires You".


Robin Tunnicliffe, Farmer/Co-owner, Feisty Field Organic Farm / Saanich Organics (Victoria, BC) - Saanich Organics is a community of farmers from small, certified organic farms who work together: Three Oaks Farm, Northbrook Farm, and Robin's Feisty Field Organic Farm. Feisty Field grows a variety of fruits and vegetables near Prospect Lake within the city limits of Victoria. Robin is currently completing a Masters degree at the University of Victoria on the value of local agriculture.

Paul Edney, Author/Director, We Are What We Do (Nelson, BC) - Paul is the Canadian director of the International We Are What We Do movement. He authored the Canadian version of Change the World for Ten Bucks, which outlines fifty simple, everyday actions that everyone can do to make a difference, such as: take public transport, decline plastic bags where possible, plant a tree, and write to someone who inspires you. Change the World for Ten Bucks aims to create a global community of people who are what they do. It started in the UK, and has launched in Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Canada. Worldwide, over 400,000 copies are in print!

Direct download: DD030608.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:01pm EST