Tue, 27 July 2010
In May 2010, Deconstructing Dinner travelled to Vancouver Island where two international conferences on ethnobiology were being hosted. Ethnobiology examines the relationships between humans and their surrounding plants, animals and ecosystems. Today, more and more people are expressing an interest to develop closer relationships with the earth. This leaves much to be learned from the research of ethnobiologists, and in particular, from the symbiotic human-earth relationships that so many peoples around the world have long maintained.
On this part II of the series, we listen to segments from a one-on-one interview with Nancy Turner of the University of Victoria. Nancy is one of the most well-known ethnobiologists in Canada and Deconstructing Dinner's Jon Steinman sat down with her in the community of Tofino to learn more about what ethnobiology is, why the field is an increasingly important one to pay attention to, and what we all might learn from the many indigenous peoples who ethnobiologists work with.
Also on the show - a recording of a presentation by Cheryl Bryce and Pamela Tudge who are examining how the indigenous peoples living in what is now the City of Victoria might reinstate traditional harvesting practices of an important traditional food - camus.
Nancy Turner, distinguished professor, School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria (Victoria, BC) - Born in Berkeley, California, Nancy moved to Victoria at the age of 5 and she lives there today as a Distinguished Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. She earned a PhD in Ethnobotany in 1974 from the University of British Columbia when she studied three contemporary indigenous groups of the Pacific Northwest (the Haida, Bella Coola and Lillooet). Nancy's major research has demonstrated the role of plant resources in past and present aboriginal cultures and languages as being an integral component of traditional knowledge systems. Nancy has also played an important role in helping demonstrate how traditional management of plant resources has shaped the landscapes and habitats of western Canada. In 1999 Nancy received the Order of British Columbia and in 2009 received the Order of Canada. She's authored numerous books including, among others, Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples, Food Plants of Interior First Peoples, Plants of Haida Gwaii and The Earth's Blanket - Traditional Teachings for Sustainable Living.
Cheryl Bryce, lands manager, Songhees Nation, (Victoria, BC) - The Songhees or Songish, also known as the Lekwungen or Lekungen, are an indigenous North American Coast Salish people who reside on southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia in the Greater Victoria area.
Pamela Tudge, former student, School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria (Victoria, BC) - Pamela recently moved to the North Okanagan region of BC where she's now studying food systems and mapping for her master's research at the University of British Columbia - Okanagan.
Tue, 20 July 2010
Much of the content of Deconstructing Dinner revolves primarily around the practice of agriculture; from examining the downsides and challenges of current agricultural systems to the opportunities and alternatives to those challenges. However, most of those alternatives that we examine are 'agri'cultural alternatives, and so from time to time it's important to step back and deconstruct that very focus... asking the question; "Are 'agri'cultural alternatives an adequate response if they're rooted within that same 'agri'cultural box"? On past episodes when this question has been raised, we've often arrived at the subject of permaculture - creating systems that mimic natural ecosystems while providing for human needs.
One of the outspoken voices advocating for permacultural systems in North America is Toby Hemenway - the author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home Scale Permaculture (Chelsea Green, 2009). On this episode we listen to a talk Toby delivered in February 2010 when he suggested that 'sustainable agriculture' might very well be a misnomer. He reflected on the rise and fall of past civilizations that help answer the question... "how 'sustainable' is agriculture?"
Toby Hemenway, author, Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture (Portland, OR) - Toby Hemenway is the author of the first major North American book on permaculture, Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. He's an adjunct professor at Portland State University and a Scholar in Residence at Pacific University. Toby and his wife spent 10 years creating a rural permaculture site in southern Oregon. He was associate editor of Permaculture Activist between 1999 and 2004 and he now works on developing urban sustainability resources in Portland.
Tue, 13 July 2010
Deconstructing Dinner in Our Schools II
Christopher O'Brien - author, Fermenting Revolution (Silver Spring, MD) - When not writing books, Author Christopher O'Brien is the Director of Sustainability at American University in Washington D.C. Prior to his role there, he worked with The Center for a New American Dream as Director of the Responsible Purchasing Network and he is also part-owner of the Seven Bridges Co-operative - an exclusive supplier of organic beer making supplies.
Kodiak Morasky, student, Blewett Elementary School (Blewett, 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.
Sat, 3 July 2010
The second of a two-part feature on the City of Vancouver's multi-year process to approve backyard chickens. Because of the many similar debates underway within city councils across the country, this focus on Vancouver's efforts looks back over the past few years to track just how this process first began and how it evolved from there. Perhaps other hopeful or illegal backyard chickeners can glean some pointers from Vancouver's efforts. Among the many voices heard on this part II of our coverage is some of the opposition to the proposed bylaw change voiced to the city from local animal welfare organizations.
Also on the show, two segments of the familiar Bucky Buckaw and his Backyard Chicken Broadcast. Bucky shares his thoughts on why he eats chicken and provides some useful suggestions for using eggshells at home.
Leanne McConnachie, director, farm animal programs Vancouver Humane Society (Vancouver, BC)
Shawn Eckles, cheif animal protection officer British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)
Lily Ford, policy analyst City of Vancouver (Vancouver, BC)
Andrea Reimer, councillor City of Vancouver (Vancouver, BC)
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.