Episode 34: Exploring Food and Stress at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site with David Ebert & Dr. Amy Scott

This week’s episode is extra special, as we have TWO phenomenal guests on: Dr. David Ebert and Dr. Amy Scott are here to talk about life and food at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia! This episode runs a bit longer than most, because I wanted to weave together multiple ways of looking at and celebrating the past, and the role that the past plays for contemporary Canadians. Louisbourg is truly one of the most magical places I’ve been to, and Amy and David play a huge role in why I love the Fortress so much.

In the first part of the episode, I speak with David Ebert, who is part of the management team for Parks Canada’s Cape Breton team and the Fortress of Louisbourg. We explore the history of the Fortress, and he discusses what makes it such a fascinating part of Canadian and French history. David paints a vivid picture of what food and life were life for residents of the fortress during the 1700s, and the ways food is used now to make modern visits to the Fortress sensorial and interactive (aka super fun!)

During the second part, I speak with Dr. Amy Scott, an anthropology professor from the University of New Brunswick, and the project director of the bioarchaelogy field school at the Fortress. Dr. Scott has teamed up with Parks Canada for a long-term rescue archaeology project designed to document and protect the burial grounds out at Rochefort Point, where the shoreline has retreated about 90m in the past 300 years. I speak with Amy about the bioarchaeology side of things – we look at how we can learn about individual lives, stresses, health, mobility and diet just from their skeletal remains and burial context!

Parks Canada creates such an immersive experience and Amy’s UNB team does a fabulous job connecting with the public and engaging in dialogues about climate change in Canada and how it impacts not only our present but our past. It was such an honour to speak with these two about their work because they’re both so passionate and engaging!

Check out the episode in the player above, or download on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or iHeartRadio!


Fortress of Louisbourg Association

Parks Canada Website

UNB Bioarch Website

Field School on Facebook and Instagram

Aerial shot of the Fortress, used with permission from Parks Canada.

Aerial shot of the Fortress, used with permission from Parks Canada.

David Ebert of Parks Canada (Image used with permission from Parks Canada)

David Ebert of Parks Canada (Image used with permission from Parks Canada)

Dr. Scott works with a field assistant at the excavation site.

Dr. Scott works with a field assistant at the excavation site.

CultureFete at the Fortress of Louisbourg

CultureFete at the Fortress of Louisbourg

PS! Since we’re on the topic of food… Louisburger has without a doubt the best burgers you’ll find!  I spend the better part of my year daydreaming about Bobby’s veggie burgers.

PS! Since we’re on the topic of food… Louisburger has without a doubt the best burgers you’ll find!

I spend the better part of my year daydreaming about Bobby’s veggie burgers.

Episode 33: Sugar and Tension - Type 2 Diabetes and Gendered Health in New Delhi with Dr. Jo Weaver

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What happens when someone gets diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? What happens after to that person’s connections with their culture, identity, and family?

This week we’re exploring the connections between type 2 diabetes and gender for women living in New Delhi with Dr. Jo Weaver. Dr. Weaver is an assistant professor in the department of International Studies at the University of Oregon. She is a biocultural medical anthropologist, who’s research addresses chronic diseases, mental health, and food insecurity in India and Brazil. She also co-hosts the podcast Speaking of Race (another fantastic show sponsored by the AAAs).


In our interview, Dr. Weaver highlights some of her key findings from her research with women managing type 2 diabetes in India. She explores the strong connections between cultural identity, gender roles, mental wellbeing and dietary shifts that these women experience after their diagnoses, and the connections between the lived experiences of these women and some of the biochemical markers for stress that she found during her studies. Dr. Weaver very poignantly sums up the complexity of diabetes as a social disease in this interview, and I’m excited for you to learn as much from her as I did.

Listen in the player above, or download on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, or iHeartRadio


Dr. Weaver’s Book, Sugar and Tension: Diabetes and Gender in Modern India

Speaking of Race Podcast


Episode 32: Escape to reality - Food, Growing, and Starting a Business with Ben Cullen

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I’ve known this week’s guest, Ben Cullen, for a number of years, and am always excited to talk food with him at any gathering we’re at. So naturally he’s been someone I’ve wanted to bring on the show for quite a while! Ben is the owner of the recently launched Cullen’s Foods, and a fourth-generation urban gardener. As the son of expert gardener Mark Cullen, Ben has worked with his father his whole life, but officially joined Mark full-time in January 2017. Together they write a weekly column for the Toronto Star on horticulture, and have a new book out, Escape to Reality: How the World is Changing Gardening, and How Gardening is Changing the World.

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On the show, Ben discusses what makes gardening such an important tool to actively reimagine more sustainable, healthy, and happier futures. Ben has a unique perspective on the food world, as he spent some time working in the food industry following his agricultural education. We explore the nuances of these dual identities and the implications they have for his business, along with how he uses this knowledge to increase accountability and sustainability of food business in local spheres.

I love talking with Ben because we come to the idea of food sustainability from two different lenses. I think this is important, given the echo chambers of social media: it’s easy to get caught up in ideas and spheres that make us comfortable… and the ideas in commerce and business certainly don’t come naturally to a biocultural anthropologist like me! When we’re thinking about anti-consumerist futures, it’s important to look at how different backgrounds and experiences can help shape these futures together.

Enjoy the episode in the web player above, or download on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or iHeartRadio.


Get Social with Ben!

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Episode 31: Sparking Joy in Nutrition and Wellness for Kids with Haile Thomas

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I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was extra-excited to share this week’s interview with you! I’m speaking this week with the remarkable Haile Thomas, an 18-year-old international speaker, health activist, vegan food and lifestyle influencer, and the youngest Certified Integrative Health Coach in the United States. Haile is the founder and CEO of the non-profit HAPPY (Healthy, Active, Positive, Purposeful Youth). She founded HAPPY at age 12 to address the need for free and affordable plant-based nutrition and culinary education in under-served and at-risk communities, as well as in schools and through annual summer camps.

Haile has personally engaged over 15, 000 kids and thousands of adults around the world since she began her activism in 2010. She was inspired to pursue this passion after her family successfully reversed her father’s type-2 diabetes without the use of medication, only with healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and upon learning that kids were increasingly being diagnosed with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. All of Haile’s programs, projects, and initiatives are geared towards engaging, educating, and empowering young people to make healthy lifestyle choices and live their best lives.

Haile and her work have been featured on the Today Show, Food Network, CNN, Buzzfeed, MTV, NowThis, Dr. Oz, Teen Vogue, Fortune, O Magazine, and the Experience Magazine… to name a few!

In our discussion, Haile shares her experiences founding and running HAPPY, and how to spark a joy and curiosity in kids around food and nutrition (yes, even picky eaters!). She speaks to how her own business and personal connection to food has grown with her through time, and how that’s impacted her business goals and desires. We also discuss what makes folks in her generation so successful in being advocates for social justice and equity on the world stage. Haile is a woman I am constantly inspired by, and it was a true delight to be able to speak with her for this episode!

Listen to the full episode in the player above, or on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify!


Haile’s Website

Haile’s Instagram

Episode 30: Immigrant Visibility in Food Systems with Vanessa Garcia Polanco

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When we think of what a food system is, we tend to think of it as a static structure, rather than a complex system of people working at different levels, or the diversity of communities working towards sustaining foodways. This week, we’re discussing how to create more diverse and equitable food systems in America with Vanessa Garcia Polanco. Vanessa is a current graduate student in Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, and an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. She is an alumna of the Food Solutions New England Network Leadership Institute and the University of Rhode Island.

 As a member of Food Solutions New England and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Vanessa has served at the local, state, and regional levels to promote democratic empowerment, racial equity, and visibility of immigrants in food systems. She worked as a chair for communications and outreach at the Rhode Island Food Policy Council and as a program assistant at the URI Cooperative Extension.

In our discussion, we explore the idea of what a food system is and the limitations of the term, the ways in which language and actions in food studies can disempower or disenfranchise people of colour and immigrants’ agency, and how Vanessa challenges these ideas with her own research and writing. I first came across her work on Twitter through a hashtag she started called #FoodJusticeFridays and was struck by her activism and perspectives on the food system, so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with her – as I’m sure she’s going to be out changing food policy and economics one day not so far from now!

Listen to the full episode in the player above, or download on Stitcher, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or iHeartRadio!


A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism by Eric Holt Giménez

Food Solutions New England 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge 

Farming While Black by Leah Penniman

To Serve a Larger Purpose 

Get Social with Vanessa!

Twitter: @vpgvisions

Vanessa’s Website

Hashtags to Follow: #foodjusticefridays #dominicanfoodstudies #foodisneverjustfood

Episode 29: YouTubing and Food Storytelling with Katie Quinn

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One medium I take a lot of inspiration from in terms of food storytelling is YouTube (as I’m sure many of you do as well!). Personally, it was the first platform that made me connect to cooking in a fun and accessible way, and reduced my fear of learning about the kitchen. Today we’re talking all about video creation and food storytelling with one of my favourite YouTubers, Katie Quinn of the QKatie channel.

Katie is a video journalist, host, and cookbook author. Katie’s YouTube channel has over 3 million views, and her slogan is #keepitquirky because she thinks life is more enjoyable when you don’t take yourself too seriously. An Ohioan turned Brooklynite, Katie was based out of NYC for the past nine years. She has talked about food on NBC’S Today Show, as a contestant on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and as a judge on Beat Bobby Flay. Katie attended Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris and is the author of the “Avocados” cookbook. Katie is currently based out of London, England, where any day of the week you can find her recording videos and finding new adventures or experimenting with new recipes. She is also the host of the delightful and refreshing Keep It Quirky podcast.

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This interview with Katie was such a lovely way to start of the new year. We explore the many ways we can tell food stories through different mediums both digitally and with television, and how her connection to food transcends into how she connects with people and shares her story. We explore her experiences in culinary school and the influences these had on how she shared her own stories through video journalism, and the ways she feels her creativity has shifted and grown from cooking into a diverse array of platforms. It’s always exciting for me to dig deeper into the places and values food holds for us, and Katie really opened up to exploring these with me in the interview. This lead us through how different mediums shape the stories we tell and the audiences we speak to! Her approach to food and cooking is infused with her Keep It Quirky slogan, and it was a dream to be able to speak with her about the ways her connection with food has developed and grown as her QKatie brand has also evolved over the years.


Listen the the player above, or on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play or iHeartRadio!

Get Social with Katie!

Katie’s Website

QKatie on YouTube

Keep it Quirky Podcast

Katie on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook