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Deconstructing Dinner: Reconstructing Our Food System
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February 12, 2009


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In February 2009, Deconstructing Dinner descended upon Edmonton for a week of local and global food education. Every year, the University of Alberta hosts International Week, the largest annual extracurricular educational event on campus. International Week "fosters global citizenship through engagement with today's most pressing issues". In its 24th year, the theme was Hungry for Change: Transcending Feast, Famine and Frenzy.

As outlined by the event's organizers, "We live in an unprecedented, contradictory era. Hunger soars amid record harvests. At the same time, community-based democratic movements on every continent are showing the way toward a world without hunger. They are proving that it is possible to reconnect farming with ecological wisdom by enhancing soils and yields while empowering citizens to meet universal human needs for both food and dignity. In such a dark and disorienting time, solutions are still evident. The only real problem we have to worry about is despair arising from feelings of powerlessness. As we dig to the roots of the global crisis, we protect against despair and find our own power. Only then can we perceive how our individual and group actions can dissolve the forces that brought us here and plant the seeds of lasting solutions."

Deconstructing Dinner recorded one of the event's featured speakers, Palagummi Sainath.


Palagummi Sainath Palagummi Sainath, Rural Affairs Editor, The Hindu (Mumbai, India) - Once described by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen as “one of the world’s foremost experts on poverty and hunger”, Palagummi Sainath is a dedicated development reporter and photojournalist. He spends the majority of his year with the village people of India’s rural interior on which he reports. As the current rural affairs editor of The Hindu and author of the highly acclaimed Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India’s Poorest Districts, his writing on the impacts of globalization on India’s rural poor, and particularly farmer suicides, has raised public awareness and influenced both policy in India and the development debate in general. His unflinching coverage of the negative impacts of neoliberal policy on India’s poorest populations has earned him over 30 awards including Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Journalism Prize and the Raymond Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication.

Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclip - Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)

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Additional Audio
  • Unheard segment from P.Sainath's talk 02.03.09. Sainath speaks to the question of "How did we get here?" (The Age of Inequality). LISTEN
  • Response to audience question re: violence, the collective voice of Indian farmers, and the 2004 election in Andhra Pradesh. LISTEN


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