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.
Lessons from Cuba / Employing Insect Farmers

Launching this episode, we travel to Cuba - a country that has over the past 10 years become of increasing interest to those around the world interested in more ecological models of producing food.

Contrary to the more voluntary means through which some North Americans have adopted and supported more energy efficient and ecological food choices, in 1989, Cubans had little choice. As a result of the Soviet collapse, Cubans were plunged into a situation whereby conventional models of farming had to be abandoned for more organic models.

Deconstructing Dinner correspondent Andrea Langlois travelled to Cuba where she met with Fernando Funes Monzoté - the son of one of the most recognized founders of the Cuban organic agriculture movement - Dr. Fernando Funes Sr. His son has followed in his footsteps and is presently completing his Ph.D on more diversified mixed farming systems at the University of Matanzas.

As the past 17 years has proven to be a regeneration of more biodiverse and ecological food production in Cuba, there has, in tandem, also been an increase in the attention paid to biological systems. Just as the circumstances pushing Cuba to more ecological food production have too begun to impact us here in North America, the second half of today's episode will introduce us to some of our smaller friends, who are, and will increasingly, become more important to the production of our food; insects.

In March 2008, Deconstructing Dinner recorded a workshop titled "Predator, Pollinator, Parasite"; hosted at the 2008 conference of the Certified Organic Associations of BC.


Fernando Funes Monzoté - Researcher, University of Matanzas (Matanzas, Cuba) - Fernando Funes is the son of celebrated agricultural figure Dr. Fernando Funes Sr., whose organic farming association was awarded the Right Livelihood Award (otherwise known as the alternative Nobel) in 1999. Fernando Funes Monzote has since followed in his footsteps after graduating in 1995 from the University of Havana. Since then he has worked in one of the research institutions in Cuba's Ministry of Agriculture, and after 13 years of research, is just about finished his Ph.D thesis at the University of Matanzas. His research is on mixed farming systems as part of the University's pasture and forage research institute.

Deborah Henderson - Director, Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, Kwantlen University College (Surrey, BC) - Deborah is dedicated to the potential for integrated efforts in conservation biological pest control and sustainable landscaping. Dr. Henderson, along with Kwantlen University College's School of Horticulture and the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture established a Conservation Biological Control trial Garden, or "Bug Garden" which will be a valuable resource to provide class materials and a living lab for students to practice horticulture activities and study plants, pests, and beneficial insects and the relationship between them.

Direct download: DD082108.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:26am EST

Fred Eaglesmith / Cross-Canada Trike Tour IV (Quebec - Newfoundland)

Fred Eaglesmith
Deconstructing Dinner has long incorporated music into many of our episodes. From Phil Vernon's tunes about Percy Schmeiser, Biotechnology and Terminator Seeds, to Terry Winchell's Pesticide Song and Todd Butler's Farmer Dan, there is clearly no shortage of tunes out there that help add to our weekly content.

In the second half of this episode, we meet with one musician who has long been writing pieces about farming and rural life in Southern Ontario and that is well-known bluegrass performer Fred Eaglesmith. The Juno Award winner has been compared to such icons as Woody Guthrie and Bruce Spingsteen and is the only Canadian musician to have ever held a #1 spot on the Bluegrass charts in the United States. His song John Deere has been played on the show before, and Host Jon Steinman finally had the opportunity to sit down with Fred in person and learn more about his personal history with farming and what inspires some of the heartfelt content making its way into his songs. A few tunes in particular do a great job at capturing the many crises facing Canadian farmers today. And while farmers did once flock to hear Fred perform, the messages in his music are unfortunately confirmed by those who attend his shows today. To use a title of one of Fred's songs, "Things is Changin'", because farmers are no longer in regular attendance at his shows. As Fred puts it, there are hardly any farmers left!

Cross-Canada Trike Tour IV
On May 7, 2008, Darrick Hahn and Sinisa Grgic departed Victoria from the 0-Mile mark of the Trans-Canada Highway and embarked on a cross-Canada journey to raise awareness of Deconstructing Dinner. The pair are travelling by recumbent tricycles (or trikes).

This third installment of the Cross-Canada Trike tour begins at the Quebec border and takes us through to their final destination of Newfoundland.


Fred Eaglesmith - Musician, Fred Eaglesmith (Port Dover, ON) - Country-folk singer/songwriter Fred J. Eaglesmith was one of nine children born to a farming family in rural southern Ontario. Often employing his difficult upbringing as raw material for his heartland narratives, he issued his self-titled debut LP in 1980. He recorded infrequently throughout the remainder of the decade, releasing only two more albums, The Boy That Just Went Wrong and Indiana Road. However, Eaglesmith gradually became an underground favorite in his native Canada, thanks largely to a relentless touring schedule in tandem with bassist Ralph Schipper and mandolinist Willie P. Bennett.

Darrick Hahn and Sinisa Grgic - Cross-Canada Cyclists, Deconstructing Dinner Cross-Canada Trike Tour (Monkton, ON / London, ON) - Cyclists Sinisa Grgic and Darrick Hahn are old high-school friends based in Southwestern Ontario and are the proprietors of Fresh Entertainment. Darrick grew up on a farm in Monkton, Ontario and Sinisa, who is originally from Croatia, moved to Canada 17 years ago.

Other Audio

People and the Land - Deep Dish TV (New York, NY) - The ongoing "farm crisis" has had a devastating impact not only on the lives of individual farm families, but also on the towns they live in and the land now taken over by the corporate farms. Shortsighted exploitation has eroded the healthfulness of the land and the food it produces. From pastors in Wisconsin to Native Americans in Utah, people around the country agree that the way out of the crisis lies in changing people's attitudes. The land and people must be seen not as resources to be consumed, but as part of a spiritual whole. Produced by Wade Britzius and Marilyn Klinkner (Whitehall, WI).

Direct download: DD081408.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:41pm EST

Livestock Lost - Part III (Local Meat? "Not in My Backyard!" II)

The Livestock Lost series examines the farming and business of meat, dairy and egg production. It explores the known and unknown dangers of meat production and what people can do to source alternatives to what many would refer to as a cultural staple of the North American diet.

Part III - Local Meat? "Not in My Backyard? II"
In this third installment of the series, we continue with our examination of how one community is responding to more restrictive slaughterhouse regulations in the face of increasing demand for safe and humanely-produced local meat.

As of now, it is illegal to purchase locally raised and slaughtered meat within many regions of British Columbia. Our focus on the response in the West Kootenay region of the province provides a great example of how such a project may be received if proposed in other North American communities.

While the critical questioning of any proposed development in a community is indeed a healthy process to undertake collectively, it became clear on Part II that much of the opposition to the abattoir were emotional responses of fear that led to condemning instead of questioning.

Part III presents an even greater focus on one of the most important concerns for any community - water. It was this very concern over water that acted as one of the major setbacks to the slaughterhouse proposed in the Slocan Valley.


Kenyon McGee, Spokesperson, Slocan Valley Abattoir Co-operative (Winlaw, BC) - Kenyon is a lawyer with Kenyon McGee Law Corporation and has been involved with the abattoir co-operative since it was first formed in 2007. He has lived in the area for 30 years and has had experience raising and butchering livestock.

Marilyn Burgoon, Director, "Slocan Valley Watershed Alliance" (Winlaw, BC) - The Slocan Valley Watershed Alliance is a non-profit society formed in 1982. The SVWA is a coalition of local watershed groups from the communities of Hills to South Slocan. Since its formation, the Alliance has worked to protect water quality, quantity and timing of flow. The Alliance opposed the proposed abattoir in the Slocan Valley.

Bruce Davidson, Vice-Chair, Concerned Walkerton Citizens (Walkerton, ON) - Since 2000, Bruce has been publicly speaking on the Walkerton water contamination tragedy that took the lives of seven community residents and made 2,500 ill. The contamination was the result of complex series of events that began with e.coli entering into the public drinking water supply from a cattle farm. Bruce sits on the board of the Canadian Environmental Law Association and is involved in his local source protection board.

Audio Clips

"Tar Sands & Water" - Produced by Macdonald Stainsby, Dru Oja Jay and Maya Rolbin-Ghanie

Celina Harpe, Elder, Fort MacKay First Nation (Fort MacKay, AB)
Morris McDonald, Fort MacKay First Nation (Fort MacKay, AB)
George Poitras, Misikew Cree First Nation (Fort Chipewyan, AB)
David Schindler, Professor Biological Sciences, University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)


Direct download: DD073108.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:40am EST