As I mentioned briefly in my last post, I attended the Mother Earth News (MEN) Fair this past weekend in Frederick, MD. This was the first time the MEN Fair had visited Frederick.
I was only able to attend for a short while on Saturday, due to family visiting from out of town. The weather Sunday was abysmal anyway, cool and rainy, although I’m sorry I missed hearing Michael Judd and Joel Salatin speak.
Since I only had a limited time, I had to be very selective with the presentations and vendors. Of the presentations I attended, I most enjoyed Jessi Bloom’s “Perma-what?”. I haven’t been able to put my finger on why, exactly, but it inspired me to start dreaming up ideas for my own tiny little paradise. I would have loved to see some presentations on foraging (surprise) or focused on the gardening challenges specific to the mid-Atlantic.
I didn’t purchase much. Well, I didn’t purchase as much as I could have, let’s put it that way! I was excited to find a lion’s mane mushroom spawn kit from Sharondale Farm.
I also picked up some asparagus bean seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange as an impulse purchase. I normally order from their catalog, so when I found their booth I had to fan girl and buy something, anything!
The MEN bookstore was a major eye opener for me, when I realized how many books I already owned! Did I mention I’m on a book diet at the moment? Uh oh, I might have brought two new books home. (Samuel Thayer’s Nature’s Garden, and Home Grown Pantry by Barbara Pleasant. Because I don’t have enough foraging, gardening and preserving books … oops?)
The last acquisition of the day was June, my new serviceberry. (Yes, I name my plants. Don’t you?) The vendor, American Native Plants, had pawpaws as well but sold out of them Saturday morning within 30 minutes of opening.
I’ll be curious to see if the MEN Fair returns to Frederick in future years. The Frederick News Post boasted of the thousands of people who attended, but I saw a LOT of empty seats in the presentations I attended or walked past. The only long line I encountered was for food, and it wasn’t really that long of a wait. Even the ladies’ restrooms had little or no line! Crazy, right?
I am evaluating whether I can attend the session in Seven Springs, PA, later this year, so I can enjoy more of what this Fair has to offer. I am particularly excited to see Sara Bir listed as a speaker. And yes, I am aware of the irony in driving 146 miles, each way, and paying for a hotel, to attend to a conference on sustainability topics… shhhhhhhhhhh.
Will you be driving 146 miles each way in something like a smart car, or something more like an Expedition?
When will you be opening your own booth at these events? Obviously you’ve gone far beyond my casual-farmers-market-consumer stage. Are you a Wendell Berry reader? That is the only name from this movement I would recognize. I just read the Communio issue on food (https://www.communio-icr.com/issues/view/food) and they had plenty to say about Berry and a couple other authors I forget.
I don’t know what I could offer with a booth…maybe instead I’ll be one of the speakers up on stage! I haven’t read Wendell Berry yet, but _What Are People For_ and _Bringing It To The Table_ are both on my to-read list!
[…] community (and the overlapping tribes of permaculture and sustainability). Through visiting the Mother Earth News Fair, taking a class at the Fox Haven Learning Center, and attending the Third Annual Pawpaw Festival at […]
[…] weekend, the Mother Earth News Fair visited Frederick, MD. I enjoyed the event as much this time as I did last year, and managed to attend both […]