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Water Today Title August 9, 2020

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PODCAST HANDPICKED:STORIES FROM THE FIELD SHOWCASES RESEARCH



By Suzanne Forcese

The research that drives positive change in our food systems – what we produce, gather, eat, dispose of, and understand has found a new medium to disperse that information. Storytelling through podcasts.


Amanda Di Battista & Laine Young


Presented by the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, is a podcast series produced and hosted by Amanda Di Battista, Project Co-ordinator and Laine Young, PhD candidate. The series presents compelling, real-life stories of food practitioners, such as farmers, policymakers and activists. Episodes follow researchers and community partners in their efforts to make their food systems more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable.

WaterToday had the pleasure of speaking with the creators of the podcast series. Amanda Di Battista, a long-time environmental educator and researcher told WT, “This is my passion project. Getting this information into the hands of teachers and students is my goal.”

“We produce teaching materials for each episode. There is a link for discussion questions and a glossary of terms. Since we are intent on getting this information into classes we also welcome any feedback from students and teachers.”

The circulation of current research need not be limited to high school and undergrad students. It is beginning to take shape as a new twist on the ever popular book club gatherings. “The Kitchener Library has already started a ‘Podcast Club’. Zoom groups are getting together for discussions. It is definitely becoming a popular idea with much potential.”

“I really do think that podcasting is the future of research dissemination and a way to make research accessible to a much wider audience,” Laine Young adds.

“The topic of our food systems is especially relevant now amidst the COVID-19 crisis,” Di Battista said.

“Food growing, handling, processing, delivery, preparation and disposal are obvious concerns. But so are the safe working conditions all along global supply chains. As borders close, vital questions about where our food comes from is making us look at being more sufficient locally.”

Handpicked has already attracted listeners throughout North and South America, Europe and the Far East. Each podcast is 30-40 minutes in length. “We wanted to make them into complete packages so commuters can listen in while driving to work or class.” It is also a good length to fit into a high school class setting.

Di Battista and Young have produced six episodes for the first season (2019-2020) and will resume with the 2020-2021 season in September to coincide with the commencement of classes.

“As podcasters, storytelling is fundamental to what we do. It turns out that it’s also foundational to the work of sustainable food systems advocates and decision makers. Podcasts travel in a different way than a research paper. There’s attention to sound and story,” Di Battista told WT.

“I think as a human society we are fundamentally storytellers. Look at oral histories and oral traditions -- we passed on our wisdom and our life lessons through stories. As activists and academics, if we start to think about the illustrated vignettes that bring life to a metric, that is so powerful.” -- Trish Ballamingie (Episode 5)

As Project Co-ordinator for FLEdGE (Food Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged), Di Battista highlights community based research to effect transformations toward sustainable regional food systems in order to facilitate social justice, create prosperous economies, support ecological stewardship and demonstrate the potential for participatory democracy.

“Food sustainability is really important right now,” De Battista said. “The current system is broken. Big Agra drives the way we grow and eat food. It is not good for the planet.

“Food is a great connector and a lever for change. The community level is a way to adapt to climate change.

“Sustainability through sovereignty is an important piece for our researchers. How do we pass on traditional knowledge to our youth? How do we work toward biodiversity protection and enhanced community resilience in the face of climate change? How do we increase opportunities for women and youth and improve community well-being?”

“The creation of change has to be community driven through the sovereignty lens and justice lens,” Amanda Di Battista concludes.

“Researchers are engaging with remote communities, listening to their wants and needs to place power back into their hands.”

Laine Young adds, “Working with Handpicked allows me to continue learning and to engage and build networks. I envision a future where people who participate in research and those who are most affected by it have easy access to the information. I think podcasts are one way to work toward that vision.”

Season One Episodes are available at:

researchcentres.wlu.ca/centre-for-sustainable-food-systems/broadcasting-change/handpicked-podcast.html

EPISODE 1: BECAUSE EVERYBODY EATS: EXPLORING SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS FOR A BETTER WORLD

EPISODE 2: “WHAT GETS MEASURED GETS MANAGED”: HIDDEN FOOD METRICS AS TOOLS FOR DEMOCRACY

EPISODE 3: “TAKE CARE OF THE LAND AND THE LAND WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU”DISCUSSING CLIMATE CHANGE WITH MEMBERS OF THE KA’A’GEE TU FIRST NATION IN KAKISA, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

EPISODE 4: “WE KNOW HOW TO SURVIVE ON THE LAND”: CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION, FOOD SYSTEMS AND LIFE IN KAKISA, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

EPISODE 5: “CHANGE WORTH STRIVING FOR”: INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS AS LEVERS FOR FOOD SYSTEM CHANGE

EPISODE 6: “WE ARE ALL THE SHEPHERDS OF THE DATA”: FOOD, TECHNOLOGY, AND DATA SOVEREIGNTY



suzanne.f@watertoday.ca





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