Whose land?

Some of the most popular sessions at last year’s Monty Lit Fest were the ones that looked at issues around farming, food and nature – perhaps not surprising considering that the land is so much a part of our lives in Montgomeryshire.

And there’s plenty to talk about, no shortage of debates to be had about the future of our food; what life is really like in our rural communities and how we can both exploit and enjoy what’s so dear to us.

That’s why we’re delighted to welcome to this year’s Festival three authors whose books contribute much to these debates and will definitely have some brilliant insights to share when they’re with us on the afternoon of Sunday 11th June.

As in 2022, Fieldwork Book Club’s Adam Bedford will chair two sessions for us.

First up is Anna Jones, an alumna of Montgomery Young Farmers and author of Divide. In her book, she argues that town and country need to stop sniping at each other from either side of the divide and learn to work together if we are to solve the problems in our food system and environment – and heal the land.

Then we’ll hear from Rebecca Smith, whose brand new book, Rural (published just the day before the Festival starts), explores the lives of the working people who continue to shape our countryside – but often go overlooked. She’ll remind us of how precarious life can be for the people who rely on the land for their living and ask us to consider the question: what next for the countryside, whether we live in or long for it?

In a third session, chaired by local farmer, Jonathan Wilkinson, we’ll meet David Elias, author of Shaping the Wild.  As a conservationist, David is well aware of the seemingly irreconcilable differences between those wanting to protect wildlife and the farmers whose livelihoods depend on the land. But, by exploring the story of one hill farm in the Eryri National Park, he also unpacks the gritty reality of what it really takes to ensure farming families remain on the land while simultaneously allowing nature to flourish.

So, if you’re interested in the big question: “Whose land?”, this is the Festival afternoon for you.

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