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Festival hopes to Spur sustainable economy, environment

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A new festival hopes to "spur" Winnipeggers into giving extra thought to environmental and economic sustainability.

Spur Winnipeg, a three-day festival of politics, art and ideas, kicks off the evening of Friday, April 26, and will discuss different aspects of the environmental debate, from the business side, to food consumption and the "capture" of nature through art.

The Winnipeg festival is one of three the Spur organization is holding across Canada this year. A similar festival in Toronto will focus on money while one in Vancouver will highlight global issues, says Helen Walsh, publisher of the Literary Review of Canada, which is behind the events along with Diaspora Dialogues and the Ideas Institute.

"There are a lot of individual presentation festivals, but not a festival that formulates ideas," Walsh said.

Each festival will issue a communique following the festival with ideas brought forward by speakers and by audience members, Walsh said.

Environmentalist, author and entrepreneur Paul Hawken is the festival’s keynote speaker and he will speak on green entrepreneurship and about changing the relationship between business and the environmment. He speaks Friday at 7 p.m. at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People.

On Saturday, author Sarah Elton will read from her new book, Consumed: Sustainable Food for a Finite Planet and later Saturday, April 27, at 5 p.m., at Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, will debate the locavore trend with University of Toronto Mississauga geography professor Pierre Desrochers.

At 7 p.m., on Saturday, also at Eckhardt-Grammaté Hall, Winnipeg artist Diana Thorneycroft, Deer + Almond chef Mandel Hitzer and photographer David McMillan will discuss the artistic side of nature.

On Sunday, there will also be a panel discussion about the future of Manitoba literature, a Cinematheque screening of the documentary Lost Rivers, which explores lost urban waterways around the world, and an insider’s look at the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s permanent collection, led by multimedia artists Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan.

A musical evening at The Fairmont Winnipeg on Friday night, with the Winnipeg band The Solutions performing, will add some entertainment to the weekend’s debates.

A full schedule of events can be found at the festival’s website, spurfestival.ca, where tickets can be purchased. Tickets for each event will also be available at the door.

History

Updated on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM CDT: Fixed name of website

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