April 6, 2020Print | PDF
With all Canadians spending more time at home, consider catching up on an informative podcast you may be missing out on: Handpicked: Stories from the Field is a series showcasing fascinating research happening at the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (LCSFS).
Created and hosted by Amanda Di Battista, LCSFS project coordinator, and Laine Young, a PhD candidate and lecturer in Laurier’s Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Handpicked presents the real-life stories of farmers, academics, policy-makers, activists and everyday people as they work to make food systems more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.
“These are good news stories about the positive impacts of research and they focus on topics that apply to everyone,” says Di Battista. “Everybody eats and there are a lot of things about our current food systems that are broken.”
Since launching last fall, four episodes of Handpicked have been released, with two more to come as part of the podcast’s first season. Along with academics including Alison Blay-Palmer, director of LCSFS and UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies, the podcast has also featured Indigenous perspectives, including an interview with Melaine Simba and Chief Lloyd Chicot of the Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation in the Northwest Territories. Simba and Chief Chicot collaborate with Andrew Spring and other Laurier researchers to combat the effects of climate change on food systems in their community.
“I really love hearing from our community partners because they light up and have such interesting, passionate things to say,” says Di Battista. “The podcast format lets us put their voices in your ears so you can hear their enthusiasm.”
Though intended for a general audience, the creators of Handpicked also imagine the podcast as a teaching tool, sharing discussion questions and additional resources along with each episode. Laurier professors have already begun integrating episodes into their curricula and, as the university ventures further into podcasting, series like Handpicked are also providing hands-on learning experiences for students.
“So far we’ve worked with three students from the Laurier Work Study Program and they’ve all been quite involved in the recording process,” says Di Battista. “We encourage them to be as creative as possible and to bring their sound design or writing skills to the table in new ways.”
As a student herself, Young is excited to be sharing her research in a new format and engaging an audience that may not otherwise hear about her work. An episode in Season 2 will focus on Young’s research project about women and urban agriculture in Quito, Ecuador.
“Podcasts have such incredible reach,” says Young. “People all over the world are listening.”
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