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Handpicked Podcast Wraps Up Season One

Handpicked: Stories from the Field recently released its sixth and final episode of its first season. The podcast, which is produced through the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, examines how community-driven sustainable food systems research is changing the way we grow, get, process, eat, and understand our food. “It’s been such a joy to create the first season of Handpicked,” says Amanda Di Battista, co-producer of Handpicked and the Project Coordinator at the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. “This season we interviewed fourteen incredible sustainable food systems researchers and advocates to create over five hours of original content. We feel like we’ve really connected with our listeners and we’ve received some excellent feedback on our show.” Episodes from the first season of Handpicked have been downloaded nearly 1000 times and the audience continues to grow.

The first season of Handpicked: Stories from the Field includes episodes on understanding sustainable food systems (episode 1), innovative ways to measure food system sustainability (episode 2), Indigenous food sovereignty and climate change adaptation in the Northwest Territories (episodes 3 & 4), the role of international agreements in the development of municipal food policies (episode 5), and the importance of open source data for food sovereignty (episode 6). Each episode of Handpicked includes show notes, a glossary, and discussion questions. “We like to try to imagine how Handpicked could be used in the classroom or in more informal learning settings, like in a library podcast club for example,” says Laine Young, Handpicked co-producer and PhD candidate in Geography and Environmental Studies at Laurier. “Even though we’re dealing with complex concepts like food sovereignty or how to measure sustainability in food systems, we always try to keep the listener in mind and find ways to make them feel as though they’re listening in as we learn from the people we interview.”

Prioritizing the voices of sustainable food systems advocates and researchers in their podcasts poses some challenges for the producers of Handpicked, especially as they adapt to shifting working arrangements due to COVID-19. “We’ve learned a lot in these first six episodes,” Di Battista says. “Podcasts take a lot of time and care and there is a pretty steep learning curve on the technical side of things. But I think that we’ve really found our voices as hosts, producers, and storytellers and we’re lucky to get to interview people who are passionate about the work they do to transform their food systems.” In a recent webinar hosted by Laurier Alumni Relations, Di Battista and Young shared their experience as podcast producers and explained their method for crafting and telling effective research stories.

Plans are already in the works for a robust line-up of episodes for Handpicked’s second season, which is due out later this year. “Stay tuned for episodes dealing with gender and urban agriculture, technology and food, and food waste,” says Young.