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Can We Create GE-Free Zones?

Part two of podcast 'Colonizing the Canadian farmer.'

By Jon Steinman 18 Jan 2008 | TheTyee.ca

Jon Steinman is producer and host of Kootenay Co-op Radio's program Deconstructing Dinner. A new podcast with notes is posted here every Friday afternoon, and all Deconstructing Dinner podcasts can be found here.

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[Editor's note: Add to your podcast menu Deconstructing Dinner, a hit radio show about food and politics by Jon Steinman at Kootenay Co-op Radio (CJLY) in Nelson, B.C. Now you can read about and access the podcast here on The Tyee every Friday afternoon.]

This broadcast explores the English print media coverage in Canada throughout 2007 on the controversies surrounding genetically engineered foods. Why has Canada become such a willing host to GE foods whereas throughout most of the world, bans, moratoriums and watchful eyes keep genetically modified organisms off grocery store shelves? Host Jon Steinman looks to provide one answer by deconstructing some of the confusing language that the Canadian public is receiving from some of the most vocal and published proponents of GE foods.

The Kootenay region of B.C. for one has become a hotbed of media debates on the topic, as it is NDP agriculture critic Alex Atamanenko who represents the riding in Ottawa. Atamanenko is at the forefront of politically challenging the presence of genetically engineered foods in Canada.

The broadcast also launches a segment on the creation of regions free of genetically-engineered crops. In November 2007, Deconstructing Dinner recorded the first meeting of residents and politicians who began strategizing around the launch of a campaign to create a GE-Free Kootenays. This segment continues into next week's broadcast.


Marc Loiselle -- Saskatchewan Organic Directorate's OAPF (Vonda, SK) -- Marc farms on a century-old family farm. The Loiselle Organic Family Farm grows cereal, oilseed, pulse, clover and hay crops. They raise chickens, goats and cattle. Marc has worked with certified organic and biodynamic practices for 22 years. Marc is one of a few farmers in Canada growing Red Fife Wheat.

Mischa Popoff -- isitorganic.ca (Osoyoos, BC) -- Mischa was an organic inspector until 2003. Popoff was a nominee in the 2007 federal Conservative Party candidacy for the BC Southern Interior riding.

Alex Atamanenko -- MP BC Southern Interior/NDP agriculture critic (Ottawa, O.N. / Castlegar, B.C.) -- Elected the member of Parliament for British Columbia Southern Interior in 2006. Alex is the critic for agriculture and agri-food and the Canadian Wheat Board. Atamanenko was born in New Westminster, and was educated at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto.

Lorne Hepworth -- president, CropLife Canada (Toronto, ON) -- CropLife Canada is the trade association representing the manufacturers, developers and distributors of plant science innovations -— pest control products and plant biotechnology -— for use in agriculture, urban and public health settings.


Partcipants at the Nov. 10, 2007 GE-Free Kootenays meeting held in Nelson, B.C.

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