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.
NFU Convention w/Dr. Shiv Chopra

On today's final broadcast of 2009 (or first of 2010 depending when you listen!), Deconstructing Dinner shares audio recordings from the National Farmers Union's (NFU) recent annual convention hosted in Ottawa - November 25-27. The NFU has lent their voice to Deconstructing Dinner on well over a dozen occasions and we've always appreciated their passion and commitment to defending and promoting the Canadian family farm. This year's convention marks the NFU's 40th.

Launching the show is a feisty welcome from Member of Parliament and Liberal Party Agriculture Critic Wayne Easter. We then hear from outgoing NFU President Stewart Wells who reflects and projects on the state of Canada's farms and farmers, and rounding off the show, Dr. Shiv Chopra - the former Health Canada scientist who was fired from his job in 2004 for alleged insubordination. Chopra's case is still in process and in the meantime he has authored Corrupt to the Core: Memoirs of a Health Canada Whistleblower. Chopra was last interviewed for Deconstructing Dinner in March 2006.


Shiv Chopra, author Corrupt to the Core: Memoirs of a Health Canada Whistleblower (Ottawa, ON) - Shiv Chopra's name has become synonymous with food safety. He and fellow scientists have waged many battles over 4 decades against a succession of Canadian federal ministries of health and helped to protect the food supply worldwide. With support of his union, Dr Chopra and his colleagues refused to approve various harmful drugs intended for meat and milk production. He endured disciplinary actions, spoke out publicly, testified at Senate committees, and won federal court cases against Health Canada. Due to Dr. Chopra's work, Bovine Growth Hormone was barred in Canada in 1999 and in the EU. He has spoken out on BGH, dangerous antibiotics like Revalor-H Baytril, and the true causes of mad cow disease. Originally from India, he has lived in Canada since 1960. He is the author of numerous publications on science, society and religion. His academic qualifications include graduation in veterinary medicine and M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Microbiology. He is the recipient of numerous academic awards, including a Fellowship of the World Health Organization. His latest release is "Corrupt to the Core" which details a full account of how government corruption endagers the public food supply. This book contains a blueprint for the establishment of food safety and security: Dr. Chopra's "Five Pillars of Food Safety," which was presented in April 2008 to the Canadian Parliament by MP (NDP) Paul Dewar.

Wayne Easter, member of parliament Malpeque Liberal Party of Canada (North Wiltshire, PEI) - Wayne was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and was raised on the family farm in North Wiltshire. Wayne entered politics in 1993 when he was officially elected as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Malpeque, P.E.I. He was re-elected in 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008. In Parliament, Wayne has served as Solicitor General of Canada, Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Oceans, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Agri-Food with special responsibilities for the Rural Secretariat, and is currently Agriculture Critic. Wayne was National President and CEO of the National Farmers Union for 11 years.

Stewart Wells, former president National Farmers Union (NFU) (Swift Current, SK) - Stewart was President of the NFU between 2001-2009. He farms in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.


Direct download: DD123109.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Eating History w/ Andrew Smith

This episode is truly in the spirit of "deconstructing" our food and features a talk delivered by Andrew Smith - a writer and lecturer on food and culinary history. His latest book is Eating History - 30 Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine. The diet of the modern American wasn't always as corporate, conglomerated, and corn-rich as it is today. Smith demonstrates how, by revisiting this history, we can reclaim the independent, locally sustainable roots of American food.

Andrew was recorded speaking in November 2009 at the Kansas City Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri.


Andrew Smith, author Eating History: 30 Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine (New York, NY) - Andrew teaches Culinary History at the New School in New York City. He's the editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America and he's the author or editor of 14 other books including The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture and Cookery, and Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America.

Direct download: DD121709.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:53pm EST

Deconstructing Dinner continues with our ongoing coverage on the controversial subject of GMOs - genetically modified organisms. As part of our past coverage we've spent time looking at how dialogue on GMOs makes its way through the Government of Canada, whether it be the regulatory process itself, or debates heard from Canada's House of Commons. On today's episode we listen in on December 2009 meetings of Canada's Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. The Committee is made up of 12 Members of Parliament and invited a panel of experts on the subject of GMOs to share their thoughts and opinions on Canada's regulatory process for approving such foods and how the Canadian public currently perceives their presence in the food supply.


Michel Arnold, executive director, Option Consommateurs (Montreal, QC) - Option Consommateurs is a not-for-profit association whose mission is to promote and defend the basic rights of consumers and ensure that they are recognized and respected.

Randy Hoback, member of parliament, Conservative Party of Canada (Prince Albert, SK) - Randy is a Conservative MP representing the riding of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Randy purchased his family's farm in 2000 and expanded it to 3300 acres. He also established a custom spraying and trucking business.

Gord Surgeoner, president, Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (Guelph, ON) - Before joining OAFT, Gord was a professor in the Department of Environmental Biology, and then the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph until his retirement in January, 2004. Since 1999, Gord has been the President of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, a non-profit organization consisting of members from farm associations, universities, industry and governments. The organization focuses on Ontario's participation in developing, promoting and adopting biotechnology.

Devlin Kuyek, advisor, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) (Montreal, QC) - CBAN promotes food sovereignty and democratic decision-making on science and technology issues in order to protect the integrity of the environment, health, food, and the livelihoods of people in Canada and around the world by facilitating, informing and organizing civil society action, researching, and providing information to government for policy development.

Terry Boehm, president, National Farmers Union (NFU) (Allan, SK) - The National Farmers Union is the only voluntary, direct-membership national farm organization in Canada. It is also the only farm organization incorporated through an Act of Parliament (June 11, 1970). Terry farms in Allan, SK.

Peter Andrée, assistant professor, Department of Political Science, Carleton University (Ottawa, ON) - Peter's research focuses on international and Canadian environmental politics as well as the political economy of agriculture and the food system. His first book, entitled Genetically-Modified Diplomacy: The Global Politics of Agricultural Biotechnology and the Environment, was published by UBC Press in 2007.

Direct download: DD120309.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:00pm EST