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Deconstructing Dinner: Reconstructing Our Food System
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August 30, 2007
(Originally Broadcast January 18, 2007)

"THOUGHT FOR FOOD - Alternatives Journal" (encore)

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Alternatives Journal - Thought for Food In a recent issue of the highly-respected Alternatives Journal, the subject of food, filled the pages within. Titled "Thought for Food", the edition connected a new generation of food activists to a classic member of Canada's food heritage. It honours the People's Food Commission that, in the late 1970s, traveled across the country to hear the views of fellow citizens and then assembled the trend-setting report: The Land of Milk and Money.

On this broadcast of Deconstructing Dinner, we hear from 3 of the issue's authors and a subject-specific guest, for what will provide a potluck of topics and ideas to explore.


Darrin Qualman - Director of Research, National Farmers' Union (NFU) (Saskatoon, SK) - "The Cupboard Is Bare" - Transnational interference grinds down world grain supplies. What you should know about grain prices. NFU members believe that the problems facing farmers are common problems, and that farmers producing diverse products must work together to advance effective solutions. The NFU works toward the development of economic and social policies that will maintain the family farm as the primary food-producing unit in Canada. Darrin is also the Water Issues Coordinator of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society.

Rachelle Sauvé - Freegan, Food Not Bombs (Peterborough, ON) - "Dumpster Dining" - Freegans consume waste food to protest consumer waste. While this article was authored by Ferne Edwards, Rachelle Sauvé is very much the subject matter herself. She eats as a vegan and does her best to defy the cycle of capitalist production and consumption by finding the majority of all things that she consumes from resources that are set to be waste or have been discarded as waste. Rachelle believes strongly "that in an economic system that exploits and subjugates the majority of people, those who need food, shelter, clothing, etc... have the right to and should reclaim the waste products of an over consumptive society to provide for their basic needs."

Marc Xuereb - Public Health Planner, Region of Waterloo Public Health (Kitchener, ON) - "And Miles to Go Before I Eat - Home-Grown Hurrah" - Marc recently authored the study, "Food Miles - Environmental Implications of Food Imports to Waterloo Region". The report documents the average distances travelled by imports of selected food items to Waterloo Region as well as the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with their transport.

Peter Andreé - Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Carleton University (Ottawa, ON) - "And Miles to Go Before I Eat - Local Limitations" - Peter's contribution to the "Thought for Food" issue, provided a critical response to Marc Xuereb's "Home Grown Hurrah". Peter identifies that supporting local, is not necessarily the most environmentally friendly choice. Specializing in Politics and the Environment, Peter's primary interest lies in food issues. He is the author of the forthcoming "Genetically Modified Diplomacy" (UBC Press). His academic research most recently took him to Australia's Monash University.

Additional Audio

Darrin Qualman

  1. "If nothing changes and the trend-line holds, the number of days of [grain] supply on hand will continue to fall, nearing zero in seven years." Darrin further explains. LISTEN
  2. The USDA released a report in November 2006, indicating that world grain prices are at "decade high levels". As such a statement is in contradiction to the tone of Darrin's article, he comments on such a report. LISTEN
  3. The introduction of biofuels is a reflection of our fear. LISTEN
  4. What can Canadians do to help Canadian farmers in the current income crisis. LISTEN
Rachelle Sauvé
  1. What kinds of foods can be found in dumpsters, and further info on the preventative measures used by retailers to deter Dumpster Diving. LISTEN
  2. Rachelle compares the ease at which Dumpster Diving can be carried out in small cities versus large ones. LISTEN
  3. Recalling a comment by a grocery store manager that will shock listeners. LISTEN
  4. Some retail managers are willing to negotiate weekly pick up of foods otherwise destined for the dumpster. LISTEN
  5. More info on the Peterborough city hall occupation and the city's response. LISTEN
  6. How have Rachelle's and others' actions changed public perception about food politics in Peterborough? LISTEN
Marc Xuereb
  1. How will the data from the "Food Miles" study be used? LISTEN
  2. Who are the players when planning local food systems? LISTEN
Peter Andrée
  1. Local food processing is integral to local food systems. Peter describes the move away from localized processing. LISTEN
  2. Peter comments on the new Meat Inspection Regulations in British Columbia that effectively elimanates local meat production in parts of the province. (featured on 05.25.06 broadcast) LISTEN

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

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Transcript for this broadcast available through Global Public Media



Dumpster Diving Food Miles Video


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