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Resilient Food Systems: Jon Steinman of "Deconstructing Dinner" to Speak at Free Sustainable Dinner

Posted by Amie / January 30, 2011

Deconstructing DinnerThis Monday, one of the country's most respected and inspiring food journalists, radio hosts, and podcasters, Jon Steinman of Deconstructing Dinner, will give a free speech (during a free dinner) about resilient food systems. He plans to walk the audience through how a standard North American meal makes it to our plates. That potato worked its way through a long system of rules and regulations that have nothing to do with taste and little to do with the name of the farmer that produced it before being mashed and creamed. The butter, it turns out, had just as convoluted a journey.

The event is a prelude to the announcement of McGill University's first Sustainable Strategy for Food, which aims to improve residence meals and food available on campus in terms of keeping it local and sustainable. The McGill Food Systems Project's efforts have so far resulted in "many" McGill food service locations having at least 75%, 50%, and 25% of their seasonal purchases come from at most 500km away during the summer, winter and spring respectively. So the chefs at McGill's Food and Dining Services won't be pickling up a whole lot of beets, cucumbers, jams and jellies anytime soon, but the strategy is a move in the right direction.

Add to that a 3rd year undergraduate class research project that investigated and recommended sustainable seafood options for dining halls and the University's promise to not purchase any fish red-listed as species to avoid based on the research of SeaChoice.org and they're at least moving in the right direction.

So what kind of meal can you expect at Monday's event? Who knows, but if curiosity gets the best of you, go to the Leacock building, room 26 at 6pm. If nothing else, Jon Steinman will introduce you to grain CSAs (you've maybe heard of Community Supported Agriculture where you receive a weekly or bi-weekly veggie box from a local farm, but did you know there's a co-operative that does this with grains in BC? The grains are even transported by small boat to cut down on energy. Quebec has lots of local grain, though a boat may not be that handy) and community-run co-operative stores (we have a few already including NDG's Coop La Maison Verte and Concordia's Le Frigo Vert). You definitely want him to get into talking about urban chicken farms and farmed fish, especially what's in the Atlantic salmon you get at every sushi restaurant and grocery store in the city.

You can download Deconstructing Dinner for free on iTunes (the podcast is on an indefinite break but archives are being released weekly) or read transcripts of past episodes on the Deconstructing Dinner website. This guy really knows his stuff and he's got quite the selection of interviews and audio to back him up. There's a reason it beat out the Midnight Poutine Podcast as the top food podcast in the country. Maybe we should talk more about resilient food systems and less about Greg's brownies. Or maybe we should just stick to Montreal Indie music and leave the food politics to Jon Steinman...

For a sneak peak of the talk, here's an interview I did with Jon last week on CKUT 90.3FM's The Friday Morning After Show about the upcoming event:


Resilient Food Systems
What: Talk by Jon Steinman of Deconstructing Dinner and free food
Where: McGill University, Leacock Building, room 26
When: Monday, January 31st, 2011, 6pm
How much: Free

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