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.
Linnaea Farm - Ecological Gardening Program

In October 2008, Deconstructing Dinner had the pleasure of spending time on Cortes Island, British Columbia with a group of young enthusiastic adults who had just spent 8 months learning the intricacies of growing food using organic and permaculture principles. Cortes Island is located in the Straight of Georgia and can be accessed by a series of ferries originating in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. For over 20 years Linnaea Farm has been offering an ecological garden program that becomes the home to about a dozen students who learn from experienced growers before they too embark on their own paths of growing food and teaching others how to do the same.

On this episode we meet those students and instructors to learn more about this unique program, its impacts on the students, and perhaps for us as listeners, can act as inspiration to develop similar programs in our own communities.


David Buckner, garden program instructor, Linnaea Farm (Cortes Island, BC) - The Linnaea Ecological Gardening Program was founded by and is under the direction of David Buckner. David has more than 25 years experience in organic gardening and appropriate technology, including over 20 years on Cortes Island. He has studied at the University of California at Santa Cruz, the College of the Redwoods and the Farallones Institute in California and at Aprovecho Institute in Oregon. David is currently on sabbatical in Vietnam seeking inspiration and new opportunities to learn and share his skills.

Adam Schick, garden program instructor, Linnaea Farm (Cortes Island, BC) - Theory and practical instruction is provided by Adam Schick. Adam has farmed and taught at Linnaea Farm for the last nine years and previously grew vegetables for market in the Pemberton area. A graduate of the Linnaea Ecological Gardening Program, Adam shares his knowledge, skills and passion for locally-grown, organic produce with students in the garden and in the classroom.

2008 Linnaea Farm Garden Program Students - Mighk, Daveed, Sara, Corry, Leah, Jonathan, Tessa, Meg, Brenden, Kim

Direct download: DD112609.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:31pm EST

Agroinnovations Podcast w/ Paul Stamets, Rob Hopkins & Richard Manning

In January 2009, the Agroinnovations Podcast featured Deconstructing Dinner. Agroinnovations touches many of the subjects covered on Deconstructing Dinner but further offers unique perspectives and subjects worth exploring.

The Agroinnovations Podcast is based in Albequerque, New Mexico and is hosted weekly by Frank Aragona. They have produced 70 episodes to date.

Today's episode features segments from Agroinnovations featuring well-known figures like Paul Stamets - a mycologist (aka mushroom specialist) from Olympia, Washington, the U.K's Rob Hopkins who has popularized the Transition Town Movement and Montana journalist and author Richard Manning, who possesses a keen interest in the history and future of the American prairie and agriculture.


Paul Stamets, mycologist, Fungi Perfecti (Olympia, WA) - Stamets is on the editorial board of The International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, and is an advisor to the Program for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School. He runs Fungi Perfecti - a family-owned company specializing in using gourmet and medicinal mushrooms to improve the health of the planet and its people. Paul is the author of Mycelium Running.

Rob Hopkins, co-founder, Transition Town Totnes (Totnes, UK) - Rob is the co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and of the Transition Network. He has many years experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building, and set up the first 2 year full-time permaculture course in the world, at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland as well as coordinating the first eco-village development in Ireland to be granted planning permission. He is author of 'Woodlands for West Cork!', 'Energy Descent Pathways' and most recently 'The Transition Handbook: from oil dependence to local resilience'.

Richard Manning, author/journalist, Against the Grain: How Agriculture has Hijacked Civilization (Missoula, MO) - Richard is an award-winning environmental author and journalist, with particular interest in the history and future of the American prairie, agriculture and poverty. He is the author of eight books, and his articles have been published in Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Audubon and The Bloomsbury Review. His 2007 release is titled Against the Grain: How Agriculture has Hijacked Civilization.

Direct download: DD111909.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:58pm EST

The California Drought and Fox News

We travel to the State of California where 50% of all fresh fruits and vegetables consumed in Canada and the United States are produced. Beyond fresh produce, California is also a major producer of dairy, olives and nuts, and the list of foods goes on.

But how secure is this reliance we all have on Californian food? Certainly for most Canadians and Americans, the distance food is travelling from California is almost laughable. But food miles aside, California has just endured its 3rd year of drought, leaving an already-fragile agricultural and seafood economy much more vulnerable.

We learn of the challenges facing California's water supply and how this is affecting food production and as we often do on Deconstructing Dinner, we spend considerable time deconstructing the media and how some of America's largest networks and newspapers like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are communicating a pretty misleading and inaccurate message about this drought and its impacts on Californian farmers. Since President Obama took office, Fox News has taken on an aggressive campaign to do whatever it possibly can to undermine the current presidency. In some cases, Fox has become full-on activists... helping organize and advocate protests, rallies and campaigns that challenge the President and his decisions. But within this dramatic change of tone at Fox News has been the blatant politicizing of issues that in many cases has Fox grasping with such intensity, that many gaping holes in their logic have presented themselves for some overdue deconstructing.

While the California drought and it's impact on farmers is a multi-faceted and complex issue, Fox has chosen to instead blame the drought on the President and a "two-inch fish"!


Pete Lucero, Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of Reclamation (Sacramento, CA) - The Bureau of Reclamation is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The Bureau is in the 17 western states and the goal of reclamation is to provide water and power to those states. As for California, the Bureau operates 20 dams and reservoirs to help provide and deliver water for agriculture, urban use and maintaining natural habitat.

Doug Obegi, Staff Attorney, Western Water Project, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (San Francisco, CA) - After working as a policy analyst for a national environmental group for several years, Doug earned a law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law. According to Doug, he has now landed his dream job, by working to help NRDC restore the Bay-Delta and protect its imperiled wildlife.

Zeke Grader, Executive Director, Institute for Fisheries Resources (San Francisco, CA) - Since 1992, Grader has served as Executive Director of the Institute for Fisheries Resources, an organization begun by the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. Zeke works to assure sustainable fisheries, including measures to protect against over-fishing, decreasing bycatch, rebuilding depleted fish stocks and protecting and restoring fish habitats. He has served as the president of the western region of the old National Federation of Fishermen and the West Coast Fisheries Development Foundation, and he currently serves on the board of directors of the Marine Fish Conservation Network.

Other Voices

Sean Hannity - Commentator, Hannity (Fox News) (New York, NY) - Sean Hannity is a popular commentator through his nationally syndicated radio show. His television program airs weeknights at 9pm on the Fox News Channel.

Ainsley Earhardt - Correspondent, Fox News (New York, NY) - Earhardt joined the Fox network in 2007 and provides live news cut-ins during the overnight hours. Prior to her current position, Earhardt served as a morning/noon anchor for CBS affiliate, KENS-5 in San Antonio, Texas.

Devin Nunes - United States Congressman, 21st Congressional District (Tulare, CA / Washington D.C.) - Rep. Devin Nunes is a Congressman from the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley of California. He is currently serving in his fourth term in the House of Representatives.

Jon Stewart - Comedian, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (New York, NY) - Stewart is an American political satirist, writer, television host, actor, media critic and stand-up comedian. He is best known as the host of The Daily Show, a satirical news program airing on Comedy Central in the United States and on The Comedy Network in Canada.

Direct download: DD111209.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:07pm EST

Dan Barber - A Perfect Expression of Nature (Conscientious Cooks VI) / Backyard Chickens IX

Dan Barber - A Perfect Expression of Nature (Conscientious Cooks VI)

However we try to look at it, agriculture itself - as it's existed for 10,000 years, will always be a departure from acquiring our food as nature intended. By extension, agricultural and food production methods will always be debated on their merits of balancing natural systems with the social needs of human populations. But what if the line between social needs and natural systems disappeared and the two were to become one and the same? On this episode, we hear how such a scenario is playing itself out on a farm in Spain and which is producing a food most often associated with being one of the most controversial - foie gras. Telling the story is chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill restaurant in New York City. Dan was recorded in 2008 at the E.F. Schumacher Society lecture series held in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Backyard Chickens IX
On part IX of our ongoing Backyard Chickens series (a sub-series of Farming in the City, Bucky Buckaw lends his wisdom to backyard chickeners on the options available to decrease your reliance on processed chicken feed. Bucky also encourages President Barack Obama to help push Bucky's backyard chicken agenda by establishing a White House backyard chicken flock!


Dan Barber, executive chef / co-owner, Blue Hill (New York, NY) - Dan Barber began farming and cooking for family and friends at Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In May of 2000, Dan opened Blue Hill restaurant with family members David and Laureen Barber, and in 2002, Food and Wine Magazine named him one of the country's "Best New Chefs." Since then, he has addressed local food issues through op-eds in the New York Times and articles in Gourmet, Saveur and Food and Wine Magazine. Dan has been featured in the New Yorker, CBS Sunday Morning, House and Garden, and Martha Stewart Living; his writing has been incorporated into the annual "Best Food Writing" anthology for the past five years. Blue Hill's menu showcases local food and a wine list with producers who respect artisanal techniques. Ingredients come from nearby farms, including Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a forty-five minute drive from New York City.

Bucky Buckaw - host, Bucky Buckaw's Backyard Chicken Broadcast (New York, NY) - 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.

Direct download: DD102909.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:35pm EST