On Friday, August 4, 2017, from 7 until 9 PM, Pottersfield Press will be launching the latest book by Joan Baxter,  Seven Grains of Paradise: A Culinary Journey in Africa at Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe & Dreamery, which was opened in early July by the renowned Canadian author and children’s poet, Sheree Fitch, and her husband, Gilles Plante.

This is the first book launch to be hosted at Fitch’s immensely popular new bookshop at 286 Allen Road in the village of River John in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.

Fitch says she is pleased to host this event because Baxter is a “local writer and a friend” and she believes this book has “global significance.”

Baxter, who has lived and worked for more than three decades in several countries in Africa, says she is “thrilled” to be launching this book, her sixth, in rural Nova Scotia. She describes the launch location as “beyond magical,” thanks to “the incredible imagination, energy, enthusiasm and efforts that Fitch and Plante invested to create what is sure to become a major literary and tourism destination for the entire province, if not the entire country and beyond.”

She describes her book as a “celebration of African foods, farms, farmers, crops, cooks and cuisines.” And while it may fly in the face of many global media headlines, she says, “Africa has much to teach the world about healthy eating. Of the ten countries with the healthiest diets on earth, nine are African, some of them among the monetarily poorest nations on earth.”

“Seven Grains of Paradise” draws on stories collected over the more than three decades that Baxter worked, lived and learned in Africa. It explores the riddle of a continent that is known more for hunger than for its rich and diverse foods and cuisines, and for having discovered and bred many of the staple foods and drinks consumed daily around the world.

The culinary journey of learning, eating and drinking takes readers from the fabled city of Timbuktu on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, to the diamond fields of Sierra Leone, from the savannah of northern Ghana to the rainforests of Central Africa.

It pays homage to the farmers, cooks and friends who schooled, guided and mentored her along the way.

“This is an eye-opening book that everyone should study carefully to learn how so called advanced cultures exploited and still exploit this natural rich continent. Highly recommended.” Food and beverage writer, Professor Hrayr Berberoglu, Winesworld Magazine

Baxter says the book doesn’t shy away from the very real problems of food insecurity, hunger or malnutrition brought on by conflict, poverty, unfair trade and climate change, which today plague not just Africa but many other parts of the world.

“While the book focuses on the immense potential of family farming and locally produced food in Africa, it also documents the growing risks they face,” she says.


About the author: Joan Baxter is a Nova Scotian journalist, science writer, anthropologist and an award-winning author. She has written six books and many research reports on international development and agriculture in Africa, and is a Senior Fellow with the Oakland Institute She has reported for the BBC World Service and contributed to many other media, including the CBC, Le Monde Diplomatique, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The Chronicle Herald. 

Seven Grains of Paradise: A Culinary Journey in Africa is available at bookstores in Canada and online:

Paperback & Kindle Edition:

Kindle Edition only:

Paperback only:

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