Deconstructing Dinner (audio)


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The diversity in the varieties of crops being grown in Canada has dwindled significantly. Virtually all of the fruits, vegetables, grains, livestock and pretty much every ingredient found on grocery store shelves, is of a variety that has purely been bred for profit. At no time has the importance of maintaining diversity or flavour ever been a concern for the powerful industrial food system that has taken hold of the North American diet.

This series will explore what risks accompany the loss of such diversity while on the other hand, expose the many farmers and organizations preserving Canada's heritage varieties of food and protecting our food supply from the control of multinational interests.

Part I
On Part I, we resurrect Red Fife Wheat, perhaps the most important wheat variety to Canadians. Red Fife fed Canadians for 40 years, yet disappeared as more export-oriented varieties and hybrids took its place. But Red Fife is making a comeback, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency doesn't like it. Is this a chance for the people of Canada to reclaim control over our cultural heritage and challenge the industrial food system? Sharon Rempel thinks so.

We also learn more about heirloom (heritage) vegetables. Growing heirlooms is an exciting way to try new and unusual tastes, shapes and colours. But more than that it is an effort to maintain the genetic diversity of our food crops. Many varieties have disappeared forever and there is interest in keeping these older varieties in circulation. Heirlooms, unlike some hybrids, are not grown for their ability to withstand shipping and chemicals or their uniform look at market. They are grown for taste.

Audio recorded by Marinko Jareb (St. Catharines) and Andrea Langlois (Victoria)

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