Climate Change at Home


Photo credit: hsvall

This week on Terra Informa we listen to speakers at the City of Edmonton’s Change for Climate Talks discuss the challenges and opportunities for transformation that the climate crisis brings to our cities. Terra Informers Sonak Patel and Elizabeth Dowdell attended the event on October 3, 2019 and caught up with a few speakers after. We picked two talks that focus on how our homes and urban environment can be more sustainable. We’ll hear from Jocelyn Crocker about her experiences as an urban farmer, and from Kenton Zerbin, and his ideas about the potential of tiny houses.

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Jocelyn Crocker and the food revolution

YEGBeesYEGBees founder, Sunshine Community Garden coordinator, and Sustainable Citizen of the Year 2019 Jocelyn Crocker delivers a talk titled ““The Revolution is local: Why you should grow food not lawns” about climate change and urban agriculture.

Kenton Zerbin living big in a tiny house

International teacher, permacutlure designer, and entrepreneur Kenton Zerbin delivers a his talk “Living Big in a tiny house while saving the world”.

Download program log here.

It’s Time to Talk About Bugs

White-lined sphinx moth from Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that insects take up the most space on the taxonomic web of life? Did you know that about 75% of flowering plants are pollinated by insects? You might have also heard that insect biodiversity is on the decline. Sadly, what you may have hear is right. In a paper published in the Journal ‘Biological Conservation’lead authors Francisco Sánchez-Bayo and Kris A.G.Wyckhuys state “almost half of insect species are rapidly declining and a third are being threatened with extinction”.

Can you imagine a world without insects? To some it may sound like a dream come true but insects are integral to the functioning of our world! From the food we eat to the waste we excrete, we have insects to thanks (we would literally be swimming in detritus if not for decomposers!). Tune into this episode where we show these important little creatures some well-deserved attention!

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Checking out bugs with Peter Heule: Q&A with the Royal Alberta Museum’s live animal supervisor

Terra Informer Olivia deBourcier interviewed Peter Heule, a live animals supervisor at the Royal Alberta Museum, about bugs. Originally aired on The Gateway Presents, we’ll hear about butterfly migration, what animal science is all about, how kids understand bugs better than grown ups think, and what a wild world there is left to discover!

The Good News: The Big Bee!

In light of the bad news about insect populations, there is hope! Recently, the world’s BIGGEST BEE, thought extinct for 38 years, has been found alive on the Indonesian islands of the North Moluccas. As long as an adult thumb, with jaws like a stag beetle and four times larger than a honeybee this dinosaur of a bee continues to be threatened, particularly by deforestation for agriculture, but the very fact that it persists suggests that extinction is not inevitable! Hannah Cunningham explains in this ecobabble the ways that we can all help pollinators keep on keeping on!

From planning what you plant, building bee hotels (a simple DIY bee hotel) to reducing your use of pesticides, there are many ways you can make your world more pollinator friendly

Related Links

National Geographic

The Guardian

Cooking Up Better Food Policy in Canada


This week on Terra Informa, we discuss the ongoing consultations about Canada’s food policy with master food strategists Juanita Gnanapragasam and Kathryn Lennon.

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Canada’s Food Policy

The federal government explains on their website that “A Food Policy for Canada will set a long-term vision for the health, environmental, social, and economic goals related to food, while identifying actions we can take in the short-term. A food policy is a way to address issues related to the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food.”

Consultations about the policy are being carried out by the federal government across Canada. Although they didn’t organize one in Alberta, luckily our AB food organizations have our backs and organized their own consultation event called “What’s Your Recipe for a Better Food System? Towards a National Food Policy…” This event will be happening on Wednesday September 13, 2017 from 6-9 pm at the Edmonton Food Bank (Annex) 11434-120 Street. If you’re not in Edmonton or you’ve missed the 13th – no need to worry! You can contact your local MP or email the federal government at The hashtag being used for this discussion is #Foodpolicy4Canada.

Terra Informer Amanda Rooney spoke with representatives from two organizations present at the upcoming event on Wednesday; the University of Alberta’s Sustainable Food Working Group and the City of Edmonton. 

Juanita Gnanapragasam talks about her work on making food culturally inclusive and what she believes a food policy could bring to Canada. Ms. Gnanapragasam is a student at large member of the University of Alberta’s Sustainable Food Working Group.

Terra Informa alumni Kathryn Lennon also weighs in on what a national food policy might entail and the role of federal government in our food systems. Kathryn now works for the City of Edmonton as a Principal Planner in Policy Development working on the city’s food strategy alongside the Edmonton Food Council.  

Download program log now.

Photo by Lou Stejskal on Flickr

Farmtastic Food and Amazing Animals


This week on Terra Informa, we discuss what makes an animal a pet and what makes them food, what makes a free range egg, and opportunities abroad beyond simply propagating the English language.

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Farm and the Country

Many young people in the English-speaking world choose to travel abroad and teach English in a foreign country. However, the enriching experience of extended cultural travel does not have to be restricted to the realm of teaching English. Terra Informa’s Miro Radovic sat down with young Edmontonian Nicholas Mickelsen to discuss a program that enabled him to spend almost a year on an organic farm in Europe as a WWOOFer with the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms network.

Pet vs Food

About this time back in 2013 Terra Informer Nicole Wiart talked to Alberta Micro Pigs’ Angela Hardy and Irvings Farm Fresh’s Nicola Irving. The two of them both raise and breed pigs in the Edmonton area, one for food… the other for pets. Throughout the interviews, Nicole noticed strange similarities between both women and the way they viewed the pigs, despite raising, breeding, and feeding them for incredibly different purposes.

Ecobabble: What does it mean to be a free range egg?

Scrambled, poached, sunny side up. Whether they came before the chicken, or the chicken before them, eggs are a breakfast staple. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart brings us an EcoBabble – where she enlists some local farmers to try to break down the term “free range.” It’s just one of the many terms that you can find on a carton of eggs – but as you’ll soon find out, defining free range is not as simple as it sounds.

Download program log here.

Photo by: Zach Baranowski Flickr here.

Humans and Other Animals


In an article recently published by The Guardian, it is predicted that by 2050 the world will contain another 120 million tonnes of humans…and another 400 million tonnes of farm animals. Animals are here – they are everywhere – even if we don’t see them; but what might this unprecedented growth mean for both humans and non-humans alike?

Join us as we talk with Howard Nye, a philosophy professor whose work revolves around the ethics of human relationships with our non-human counterparts.

That’s right, this week on Terra Informa, we’re interested in tackling some big philosophical questions:  How do reason and/or emotion dictate how we ought to treat animals? What is veganism? What are the parameters of vegan ethics?  What will we have for lunch?

Okay, maybe not the last one…but maybe in the follow-up.

Download episode here.

For more information about topics in this episode, you can read about the Critical Animal Studies blog quoted in the interview, A Critique of Consumption-Centered Veganism, and you can read about the population crisis of farm animals.


What’s Happening

  1. On February 27th, listeners in Vancouver attend Seedy Sunday where you can swap seeds for the upcoming gardening season, attend lectures on worm composting, seed saving and other topics, and participate in the used book and magazine sale. Seedy Sunday takes place from 10-4 at the Van Dusen Botanical Garden. Entry is by donation and parking is free. In fact, Seedy Sunday events are happening all over Canada this weekend. Visit to find one near you.
  2. For listeners in Edmonton, Swing N Skate is happening every Sunday in February at City Hall from 1-4pm. Spend some time skating outside in the beautiful weather and then head inside to warm up and dance to Dave Babcock and His Jump Orchestra. For more information, visit the Edmonton Arts Council’s event page on Facebook.
  3. If you’re in Whitehorse and you have ideas about how to divert garbage from the landfill, you should sign up for the Zero Waste Hackathon happening March 1st to 4th! When you sign up in a team of 4 or less, you’ll receive 250$ for supplies and materials to create an innovative solution to this ongoing problem. For more information, visit the Zero Waste Yukon event page on Facebook.
  4. Do you live in St. Catharines and want to show off your smartphone photography skills? You can participate in the 3rd Annual Walk STC Your Downtown Photo Competition and have your photos hang in the Mahtay Cafe at 241 St. Paul Street from May 1 to 31. For more information on how you can share your photos on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, visit the Walk STC event page on Facebook.

Credit for the image to Fujoshi


The Tale of the Evans Cherry

photo 2

This week, we’ve got a special segment of Dispatches of the Dirt brought to you by Terrainforma’s Danielle Dolgoy and Hamdi Issawi. Find out how the magical Evans Cherry came to be in Edmonton’s supposedly unforgiving climate!

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Them’s The Eats

Hawkers' Market in Edmonton (Photo credit: Trevor Chow-Fraser)

Hawkers’ Market in Edmonton. Photo: Trevor Chow-Fraser.

This week we’re all about FOOD. First off, we’re questioning our food. What does it mean to eat the way we do? Next, it’s about seeing what alternatives could appear—or crawl—onto our plates. And last but not least, we’re on the ground to check out an experiment: what happens when street food goes indoors.

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Eating Insects

This week on Terra Informa, we ask whether it’s time to start filling your fridge with grubs and katydids. Plus, why activists in the Maldives believe climate change and democracy are so tightly interwoven, and how one BC First Nation has become self-sufficient on renewable energy.

A man shows off a small black insect on his tongue

A recent UN report suggests adding more insects to our plates. (Photo: Brandon Shigeta)

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Eating Insects

When we in North America think ‘delicious” our minds aren’t generally drawn to a fat and juicy caterpillar or a crispy chili-fried tarantula. However, after a recent UN report called for the world’s population to start consuming more insects as a more sustainable source of protein, fats, and minerals, while being easy and quick to produce, we may soon find insects of varying shapes and colours squirming their way onto our plates. Morgana Folkmann talks to entomophagist and advocate Dave Gracer about eating the things. Ryan Abram also shared his eating adventures in South East Asia.

More on this story:

Climate and other changes in the Maldives

Maldives is a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean which has been described as “ground zero” for climate change. Former President Mohammed Nasheed, of the Maldivian Democratic Party, is known for his climate change leadership. He came to power in 2008 as the nation’s first democratically elected president, following 30 years of authoritarian rule. In 2009, President Nasheed garnered international attention by holding an underwater cabinet meeting to highlight the threat of climate change to low-lying nations. Dressed in scuba-gear, the president and his cabinet signed a document calling for global cuts to carbon emissions. On February 7, 2012, President Nasheed was ousted from power by the police and military, and replaced by Vice President Mohamed Waheed. Peaceful protestors in the cities of Male and Addu have been confronted by violence from Maldives security forces. In March 2012, Terra Informa correspondent Kathryn Lennon spoke with Zaheena Rasheed, a young Maldivian democracy and climate justice activist.

More on the story:

Solar Powered First Nation in BC

Intro: All across Canada, communities are working to improve their sustainability. Some are expanding their public transit systems, others are retrofitting public buildings to increase energy efficiency. But one town has really set the bar high. The T’Sou-ke Nation ( on the southern tip of Vancouver Island has built such extensive photovoltaic and solar heating systems that they’re now largely self-sufficient. For much of the year, they actually sell power back to the grid.  Their success has been drawing attention, and other communities are hoping to follow suit. For more on the story, Steve Andersen talked to Chief Gordon Planes and project manager Andrew Moore. This story originally aired back in October of 2011.

What’s Happening

Canadian Environment Week
This week is Canadian Environment Week, with World Environment Day falling on June 5th. World Environment Day is part of the UN Environment Programme, and the theme for this year is “Think.Eat.Save… an anti-food waste and food loss campaigns that encourages you to reduce your foodprint.”

Windfall Ecology Festival – Newmarket
The Windfall ecology festival is happening in Newmarket ON from June 4-6. The event is free, family friendly will celebrate sustainable living and renewable energy with eco-exhibits, seminars, music, food, and environmentally conscious products and services.

Today’s Menu: Potatoes, Water and Cara-Medallions

This week, our team tackles food quality on two levels. While one story is about tackling the concern of food quality in places such as schools, the other talks about a recipe for a quality, healthy, and unbaked  dessert.

As well, we take a look at another way the National Hockey League is assisting in resource renewal, this time with water, its own DNA.

Water is a huge part of both hockey and recreational skating. It is its DNA. Photo Credit: Themightyquill

Water is a huge part of both hockey and recreational skating. It is its DNA. Photo Credit: Themightyquill


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Gallons for Goals

Ice hockey without water is obviously impossible. The Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the organization behind the NHL’s implementation of Gallons for Goals, realizes this, and plans to restore 1,000 gallons of water for every goal scored in the NHL this season. Over three million gallons have been restored, which seems like a lot. However, Terra Informa’s Kyle Muzyka speaks to B-E-F’s Tiffany Meyer, and finds out that it’s a very small contribution to a much larger goal.

More Info: 

B-E-F Website

NHL Green Column on Gallons for Goals

Natalee’s Recipe for Cara-medallions

Hungry for something healthy? Here is a recipe from Terra Informa’s very own Natalee Rawat, on how to create a delicious, unbaked dessert. Make them yourself, or get them at Pangaea Market in Edmonton, Alberta. The members of Terra Informa double as food critics, and we gave them five stars!

Here’s the ingredients:

Process: Dates, walnuts, raw cacao, citrus essential oil, cardamom essential oil, vanilla and dehydrated cranberries

Roll the batter out after its mixed evenly and use a cookie cutter to shape it!

Pangaea Market 

People’s Potato

I’m sure many of us have expressed concern at the quality of food at public institutions like hospitals and schools. Recently, Terra Informa’s Miro Radovic had the chance to talk to K, a member of the People`s Potato — a student initiative started over a decade ago at Concordia University in Montreal to address several food related issues on campus.

More Information:


The People’s Potato

Dalhousie’s The Loaded Ladle 

Victoria’s Bicycle Powered Compost Pickup Service

If you’re worried about the environmental footprint of the garbage you produce, Victoria may be the city for you. It’s home to what’s surely Canada’s most environmentally friendly waste disposal service. Local company Pedal to Petal picks up residential and commercial food waste by bicycle and composts it for use in gardens. Today they tell us all about their service and how it works. We also talk to  sociologist and author Dr. Michael Carolan about his new book, The Real Cost of Cheap Food.

Download today’s show.

Pedal to Petal's Trevor Van Hermet hauls a load of kitchen scraps for composting.

Pedal to Petal
Pedal to Petal is Victoria’s Bicycle Powered Compost Pickup Company. They are a carbon-negative social enterprise that’s found a unique way of transforming kitchen waste to treasure, and livelihood. They describe themselves as “a permaculture-based collective of bicycle loving food security activists who are taking direct action to reduce carbon emissions and landfill waste and to feed the soil and the city’s hungry”.  They do this through a bike-powered kitchen scrap pick up service, building edible landscapes, and composting. Trevor Van Hemert of Pedal to Petal talks to Terra Informa about innovations in compost set-up and how to run a business that thinks outside the box.

Real Cost of Cheap Food
Michael Carolan is a sociologist who’s got some interesting things to say about how our food is made. Food certainly looks cheap at the supermarket, and the average north American pays far less for food relative to incomes than people did only a generation ago. But Michael Carolan argues that this cheapness is a product of bad agriculture policies that are pushing the costs onto the environment, onto other countries, and onto future generations. Michael Carolyn is based at Colorado State University, and just published a new book called The Real Cost of Cheap Food. He joins us today to talk about his work.

News Headlines
On Saturday, hundreds of people marched through Prince Rupert, BC to voice their opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. The rally was so large that it filled the streets, with people spilling over onto the sidewalks. Enbridge wants to build the pipeline to carry crude oil from refineries near Edmonton to the BC coast where it would be loaded into super tankers. Protesters were concerned with the risk of oils spills, either from the pipeline itself or the super tankers. The rally comes in the lead up to federal review panel hearings which will be getting underway in Prince Rupert next week. Protests also took place last Thursday to greet the review panel as it visited Fort St. James, 500 km to the east.

More on this story: Vancouver Sun, CBC News, CTV News, Opinion 250 News

This past Friday, Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent and Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Water Diana McQueen announced a new monitoring program for Alberta’s oil sands. Proclaimed as scientifically rigorous, comprehensive, and transparent, it’s designed to provide an improved understanding of the long-term cumulative effects of oil sands development. Data collected under the new program will be made publicly available. Its work will also be scientifically peer reviewed every five years.  However, it has already drawn criticism. At least for the time being, the program will be reporting to government rather than to an independent body, as had been recommended

More on this story: CBC News, Vancouver Sun (1), Vancouver Sun (2), Vancouver Observer

In Nunavut, a new study reports that melting sea ice is allowing killer whales to move further north and in greater numbers. As top predators, the killer whales can take a heavy toll on seals, narwhals and even belugas and bowhead whales. Researchers interviewed more than 100 Inuit hunters and elders from communities along Hudson Bay and Baffin Island to collect information about the species’ movements and behavior. The increased presence of killer whales could result in significant changes to the structure of the ecosystem. It has also raised concerns among Inuit who fear they will now have to compete with the whales for limited food.

More on this story: Nunatsiaq Online, Toronto Star, CTV News