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The Oldest Profession

'Deconstructing Dinner' presents writer Luanne Armstrong and her thoughts on the farmer, past and present.

Jon Steinman 16 Nov 2008TheTyee.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. All Deconstructing Dinner podcasts can be found here.

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[Editor's note: This is a summary of a podcast you can download or listen to from this page.]

On this fourth episode of The Local Grain Revolution series, writer Luanne Armstrong shares her thoughts on the images and stereotypes associated with farming. Is it a hobby, lifestyle, profession -- or all of these things and more?

"In this day and age, we need to think about where we live, not only where live and how we connect to it, but how we look after it so it can look after us," says Armstrong. She also discusses finding one's sense of self through place.

This episode was recorded live in fall 2008 at the Kootenay Harvest Revival, hosted by Deconstructing Dinner, the Nelson-Creston Grain CSA and All Seasons Cafe.

Since March 2008, The Local Grain Revolution series has been following the evolution of the Nelson-Creston Grain CSA (community supported agriculture) project. A total of 180 members and one business from the communities of Nelson and Creston, B.C., are blazing a trail towards a local grain economy.

The two-day harvest revival was held to celebrate the CSA's monumental harvest of grain and to use the success of the project as a catalyst for a local food revolution.

Voices

Luanne Armstrong, author, Blue Valley: An Ecological Memoir (Boswell, B.C.) -- Luanne Armstrong is a novelist, freelance writer, editor and publisher. She is deeply interested in writing about place and nature. Her recent book, Blue Valley, An Ecological Memoir is about growing up in the Kootenay region of B.C. and was published in 2007 by Maa Press. Luanne has taught creative writing at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Langara College and other venues across Canada. She holds a master's degree in creative writing from UBC and a PhD in education from UBC. She presently lives on her organic heritage farm on the east shore of Kootenay Lake.

Keith Huscroft, farmer, Huscroft Farm (Lister, B.C.) -- Keith is a fourth-generation farmer. His great-grandparents were the first white settlers in the Creston Valley and his farm has been in operation for about 100 years. Keith takes all measures to ensure no inputs are required on his farm. He uses mixed farming practices and fertilizes using only animal and green manures. He is one of a shrinking number of farmers using horses instead of fossil fuel dependent technologies.

Richard Rowberry, actor, The Nelson Theatre Company (TNT) (Nelson, B.C.) -- Richard Rowberry is the artistic director of The Nelson Theatre Company (TNT). He trained "eons" ago at the National Theatre School of Canada and has worked as an arts administrator, actor, writer and director. He has written five plays based on local history, including Frank And The Elephants, which won the Sybil Cooke Award (Play for Young Audiences) at the 2004 Canadian One-Act Play Competition.

Russell Precious, board of directors, West Kootenay EcoSociety (Sunshine Bay, B.C.) -- After graduating with a BA in Asian History at UBC and UC Berkeley, Russell studied organic farming with pioneer organic farmer and teacher, John Harrison. Subsequently he co-founded the Naam vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver (still running after 35 years); organic fruit stand and wholesaler Quadra Foods Market on Quadra Island and Capers natural foods stores in Vancouver. In 1993 he was finalist for the regional Entrepreneur of the Year and Van City's Ethics in Action awards. In 1999 he was one of three recipients of the B.C. Organic Pioneers award. He recently joined the board of directors at the Kootenay Country Store Co-operative.

Music

Bessie Wapp, musician/performer (Nelson, B.C.) -- Since 1995, Bessie Wapp has been busy performing and recording with Eastern European music ensemble Zeellia. Bessie Wapp is a two-time Jessie nominated musician, actor, designer, and stilt dancer who studied visual art and music before becoming co-director of stilt-dance theatre company Mortal Coil in 1993. Bessie Wapp has worked with The Electric Company, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Caravan Theatre, and the Vancouver Moving Theatre, among others.

Related Tyee stories:

  • Harvest Revival
    'Deconstructing Dinner' celebrates harvest time with a West Kootenays grain co-op.
  • From Field to Flour
    Podcast:'Deconstructing Dinner' checks up on a B.C. community grain project and meets the players in this local food system.
  • Harper's Hit on Grain Farmers
    Tories will aid US firms by gutting Canadian Wheat Board.
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