The Common Ground Country Fair, the premier educational event of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), will be held online Sept. 25-27.
April Boucher, MOFGA’s Fair Director, noted, “While we can’t gather together in person this year, many aspects of the Fair will be available online, including iconic and educational content that folks look forward to year after year.” Additional resources specific to the Fair are available in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener newspaper. An online marketplace of fair vendors, will run from Sept. 25 through Jan. 8, 2021, and offers shoppers the opportunity to support local businesses that would typically participate at the Fair, including farmers, crafters, nonprofit educational organizations and more.
The schedule of live presentations, released today, offers three full days of content related to gardening, farming and sustainable living. The schedule is available at fair.mofga.org and video will be streamed there and on MOFGA’s Facebook and YouTube pages. In addition to keynote addresses each day at 11 a.m. there is a great mix of educational and entertaining content lined up. Learn how to plant garlic, make a sweet annie crown, bake bread, ferment vegetables and so much more! Plus, the ever-popular sheep dog demonstrations will take place each day.
This year’s keynote speakers highlight a mix of national perspectives on farming and gardening in diverse communities. Friday’s keynote speaker, Leah Penniman, is a Black Kreyol farmer/peyizan, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, and is the author of “Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land.” Saturday’s speaker is Barbara Damrosch, farmer and co-owner of Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine, author of “The Garden Primer” and “Theme Gardens” and co-author of “The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook.” She has also served as MOFGA’s Board president. Sunday’s speaker, Winona LaDuke, is a rural development economist and author working on issues of Indigenous economics, food, and energy policy. LaDuke lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota and is executive director of Honor the Earth.
Members of the MOFGA community are also developing additional content that will be available via an online library on the Fair website. All are encouraged to grow and submit items for the online exhibition hall, submit photos for the online garden parade, share poetry and Fair stories and more. Sarah Alexander, Executive Director of MOFGA, shared, “We’re hoping that the online Fair will still provide a sense of community and engagement related to everyone’s favorite activities from the Fair.”
Two unique Fair Boxes have been created and are currently being sold via MOFGA’s online store at store.mofga.org to celebrate the spirit of Common Ground at home. The Marketplace Sampler Box features a variety of products from marketplace vendors and the Common Ground Country Store Sampler Box features MOFGA and Common Ground Country Fair merchandise from past and present. Alexander added, “The special edition fair marketplace boxes help support both our local vendors and MOFGA’s work. All proceeds from both boxes will help fund our year-round educational programming for farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, and eaters.”