Curtis McManus and dee Hobsbawn-Smith shared a session at the Festival of Words on Friday. Filling the Taylor Room of the Moose Jaw Public Library with an attentive audience, the two authors covered food, farming, and the “Dirty Thirties.”
Speaking at her first writing festival, Hobsbawn-Smith said she was excited to be presenting. A classically trained chef, former restaurant owner, and food journalist, she was introduced as a "foodsmith-turned-wordsmith." She started off her food-inspired readings with her poem “Scent of Lemons,” and read from her book Foodshed — an accumulation of stories, original recipes and facts covering the ABCs of Alberta food production.
She said the driving force behind the book was her interest in the disconnect between farmers and consumers. “You know your doctor, your lawyer, and accountant. But do you know your farmer?” Hobsbawn-Smith asked the audience. She highlighted the importance of understanding the needs of those who produce food to be able to support them. She also spoke about eating food locally, and the role consumers play in which foods are produced.
Curtis McManus spoke second, turning the conversation to a darker side of the theme of food and farming — drought and starvation. A professor at Lakeland College, his teacher voice was put to good use as he discussed and read from his latest book Happyland: A history of the “Dirty Thirties” in Saskatchewan 1914-1937.
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