In January 2008, Deconstructing Dinner launched the first in a series of episodes that began tracking the evolution of a campaign that is working towards creating a region that declares itself free of genetically-engineered plants and trees.
The first region in North America to become a GE-Free Zone was Mendocino County, California, back in 2004. Soon after, Powell River, British Columbia, became Canada's first. The Southern Gulf Islands of B.C. have also declared themselves a GE-Free zone, and since November 2007, a group in the interior of the province has been working towards becoming the third such region in the country.
As Deconstructing Dinner has long covered the topic of genetically-modified organisms (G.M.Os) or genetically-engineered (G.E.) foods, Host Jon Steinman has lent his knowledge and experience to the campaign. Since November 2007, Jon has compiled many audio recordings of the campaign with the hope that other regions and municipalities throughout North America can use these recordings as a resource and tool if they too are wishing to create GE-Free regions.
This series will hear from campaigners and politicians from Mendocino County and Powell River in order to learn how their GE-Free zones are holding up. We'll also explore recordings from the October 20th presentations to the Cities of Castlegar and Nelson, British Columbia, both of whom are, as this broadcast goes to air, contemplating the passing of a GE-Free resolution.
On this episode, we listen in on the July 10, 2008, official campaign launch of the GE-Free Kootenays campaign. Featured at the event was the most vocal and well-known critic of genetically-engineered foods, Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser.
This broadcast will extend into next week's show when we will hear the continuation of Percy's speech alongside a short presentation by GE-Free Kootenays spokesperson, Andy Morel. You can also expect an exclusive interview with Percy and his wife Louise.
Percy Schmeiser, Farmer, www.percyschmeiser.com (Bruno, SK) Schmeiser is a 77-year old farmer who, along with his wife Louise, have received global recognition for their passion and devotion to standing up for the rights of farmers. In December 2007, the Schmeisers were awarded the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the "Alternative Nobel"). "I have always campaigned on the right of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed. This is what I have been doing for the last 50 years. I will continue to support any efforts to strengthen the rights of a farmer to save and re-use his own seed."
Corky Evans, MLA Nelson-Creston, "New Democratic Party of British Columbia" (Winlaw, BC) - Corky Evans was elected as the MLA for Nelson Creston in 1991, and was re-elected in 1996. He was once again elected to represent his constituents on May 17, 2005. Corky has ten years experience as an MLA, during which time he served in many cabinet portfolios, including Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. He most recently served as Opposition Critic for Agriculture and Lands.