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.

On this part 8 of our Conscientious Cooks series, we listen in on a really interesting panel discussion hosted in 2008 by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (or CUESA) located in San Francisco, California. The panel was themed around the concept of Climate Friendly Eating.


Gail Feenstra, food systems analyst, University of California Sustainable Agriculture & Research Program (Davis, CA)

Helene York, director, Bon App├ętit Management Company Foundation (Palo Alto, CA)

Laura Stec, chef/author, The Global Warming Diet (Portola Valley, CA)

Bonnie Powell, co-founder, The Ethicurean (San Francisco, CA)

Direct download: DD081910.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:51pm EST

Having now devoted four episodes to covering the closure of Canada's prison farms, this Part 5 of our coverage might mark a disappointing chapter for Canadians who have been hoping for a halt to the closures. While all six of these rehabilitative and job-training programs have been progressively dismantled over the past year, the August 9 removal of the dairy herd at Kingston, Ontario's Frontenac Institution is being seen by many as a nail in the coffin.

This episode hears from supporters of the prison farms and the steps that the Save Our Prison Farms campaign took since we last covered this issue back in June. We'll learn about the 500-person strong citizen blockade, which attempted to stop the removal of the dairy herd off the property, and we'll learn about what next steps campaign organizers believe are necessary to maintain momentum and possibly turn the campaign into an election issue. Doing so might take advantage of the support of the Liberal Party and the NDP who have both vowed to re-open the farms should they be elected.


Andrew McCann Urban Agriculture Kingston (Kingston, ON) - Andrew connects scholarship with community development through his work on global and local food systems. He is turning his masters thesis into a book which visions collaboration between the polarized worlds of "sustainable local food" and "agricultural biotechnology". Cultural and environmental history underpin his writing, as well as his paid work in Kingston's food system where he has been a CSA (Community Support Agriculture) market gardener, lab tech on the Canadian Potato Genome Project, and initiator of the National Farmers' Union's Food Down the Road: Toward a Sustainable Local Food System for Kingston and Countryside. He recently helped found the Kingston Urban Agriculture Action Committee which has been working with the City of Kingston to develop a progressive municipal policy on community gardens and urban farming. Andrew has also instructed Sustainable and Local Food for all Canadians - an on-line distance education course offered by St. Lawrence College.

Aric McBay farmer Root Radical Community Shared Agriculture (Howe Island, ON) - Beyond operating a small farm and CSA with his partner, Aric has also authored a number of books including Peak Oil Survival: Preparation for Life after Gridcrash. He's the co-author of What We Leave Behind which he collaborated on with Derrick Jensen and he also co-authored the soon-to-be-released Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet - also a collaboration with Derrick Jensen and Lierre Keith.

Dianne Dowling - Farmer Dowling Farm (Howe Island, ON) - Dianne farms with her husband Peter on Howe Island - located in the entrance to the St. Lawrence River. The dairy farm is also home to a vegetable CSA operated by their daughter and her partner. Dianne is the Vice-President of the National Farmers Union of Ontario's Local 316, representing farmers in Frontenac and Lennox-Addington counties and the city of Kingston.

Jeff Peters farmer / director National Farmers Union Local 316 (Inverary, ON)

Direct download: DD081210.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:46am EST

Deconstructing Dinner has recently been reflecting on the model of agriculture itself as the primary source through which most people on earth access their food. From our exploration of ethnobiology to recent topics on permaculture, it's clear that there are other models available, which, for some people are a substitute for agriculture, and for others, complementary practices. But what within that dependence on agriculture are we all dependent upon? Multinational corporations? The chain grocery store? Perhaps the microwave!?

Well behind those dependencies, which are precarious at best, is a more deeply rooted dependence... soil - a dependence of which its once-deep roots have demonstrated over time to have become progressively shallower as 'modern' agricultural practices deplete soil depth and nutrients.

On this broadcast, Deconstructing Dinner features voices of researchers who have explored the evolution of agriculture and soil alongside civilization.



David Montgomery, professor, Earth & Space Sciences, University of Washington (Seattle, WA) - David is the author of the 2008 book "Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations" (UC Press). The book explores the idea that we are and have long been using up Earth's soil. Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations. At the University of Washingotn, David studies the evolution of topography and the influence of geomorphological processes on ecological systems and human societies. He received his B.S. in geology at Stanford University (1984) and his Ph.D. in geomorphology from UC Berkeley (1991). David was hosted at Oregon State University in July 2009 by PAGES and was later interviewed by Tom Allen of KBCS.

Ronald Wright, author, A Short History of Progress, (Salt Spring Island, BC) - Ronald Wright is a novelist, historian, and essayist, and has won prizes in all three genres, and is published in ten languages. Ronald was the 2004 Massey Lecturer - a presitigious annual public event in Canada, for which he presented A Short History of Progress. One of his more recent works is "What is America: A Short History of the New World Order". He was born in England, educated at Cambridge, and now lives in British Columbia, Canada.

Direct download: DD072910.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:12pm EST