Last weekend, we traveled to Unity, Maine to attend and take part in the Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener Association’s annual Common Ground Country Fair. I have been looking forward to this since last year’s Fair and even blocked off my calendar so we could participate for all three days this year…a brilliant decision on my part if I do say so myself!
If you aren’t familiar with it, The Common Ground Fair celebrates small Maine farms and sustainable and intentional living. It’s generally similar to any state fair in that there are agricultural demonstrations, tons of information and product booths, and row after row of scrumptious fried food. But rather than big tractors and combines, there are fossil-fuel-free draft animals. Instead of conventional blue-ribboned 4-H animals, there are heritage breed small farmers discussing the merits of raising old breeds more slowly and selling directly to the public. When you can’t resist the wafting waves of mouth-watering aromas anymore, your choices vary from standards like fried potato chips and pie-cones to kale-filled ravioli and veggie tempura, all organically and locally grown here in Maine. There are public policy teach-ins and class after class demonstrating skills from worm-composting to root-cellering to directional tree-felling. There are talks on “Radical Simplicity” and “Unschooling” all set to a background of bluegrass music and laughing children. There’s an enormous farmers market and tents full of handmade craft goods, home-spun yarn, and original art. You can pick up herbal infusions and medicines or a book on chicken coop design. Wandering through the social and political action tent, you can sign petitions, meet policymakers, or just pick up some knowledge about current trends and implications of events.
I watched Michael Beaudry hand-hew a timber frame, attended a talk on home-funerals, and then learned about how to make flour from acorns. I found out why my some of my worms recently committed suicide (I was doing a few things wrong and the owner of Worm Mainea helped me understand!), learned how to root-cellar in my basement’s bulkhead from Cheryl Wixson, and had some nagging questions about winter chicken-keeping answered by the experts. I don’t have as many photos as I’d like because I was frantically scribbling notes in my little Moleskine notebook…so much information! Curious? Check out this year’s schedule here!
I’m so drawn to the refreshing concept that happiness is not purchased, but created through connection, community, and intentional living. It was a nice reprieve from the constant message to work work work so that you can buy buy buy.
We cannot get enough of the sheep dog demonstrations! These working border collies are AMAZING!! David Kennard of Wellscroft Farm uses his dogs to move his sheep, goats, and ducks and demonstrates the efficient and humane methods that have been so successful for his farm! It’s seriously cool!
We camped at a friend’s cabin and had ourselves a good time around the campfire Saturday night!
Justin is full-on ready for a cabin of his very own!
The whole crew! Stop judging…we were CAMPING, so glamorous we were not!
Please forgive the crazy green cast that the tarp we were standing under gave these images! Do you remember these two kiddos? Can you believe that Lila is in school and Ellie is almost there?!?!? Nothing like the kiddos to make you feel the years pass!
So who’s up for next year?? I already have my eye on the wool spinning workshops as well as a few more of the herbal remedies talks…