Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Fair News – Spring 2009

Fair News Archive \ Fair News – Spring 09

2009 Fair Poster

John Bunker Wins 2009 Poster Art Contest

The 2009 Common Ground Country Fair poster art contest winner is John Bunker of Palermo. Bunker's painting features a delicious array of 16 apples varieties, one from each of Maine's 16 counties. The varieties and their counties of origin are rendered in the artist's handwriting along the contours of each apple. "There is a simplicity and elegance in the Maine character of John's painting," says Fair director Jim Ahearne. "It is a genuine and natural fit for the Common Ground Country Fair poster."

Bunker is founder of Fedco Trees and a long-time member of MOFGA and the MOFGA board, including a previous term as board president. Known far and wide, in the words of The Atlantic, as an "apple whisperer," Bunker is a recognized authority on and enthusiast for apples. He has written much about heritage apple varieties, including his recently published book, Not Far From The Tree: A Brief History of the Apples and the Orchards of Palermo, Maine 1804-2004. He is also an accomplished artist, regularly contributing his distinctive illustrations to Fedco catalogs.

Each year, MOFGA invites Maine residents and MOFGA members (regardless of residence) to submit a design for our Common Ground Country Fair poster. We are now accepting submissions for the 2010 Fair. The selected art will be featured on the 2010 Fair poster, Web site, T-Shirt and promotional literature. The artist will be featured in this newspaper, along with a press release about the artist and the art. In addition to these benefits, the winning artist will receive $1,000.

Artists may submit two entries. All entries must arrive in the MOFGA office by 4 p.m. on Friday, August 7, 2009. For complete guidelines, including technical specifications, eligibility requirements and timeline, please visit the Fair Art link on the Fair page at or contact the Fair office at or 207-568-4142.

Posters from this year and previous years are
available from MOFGA for $10.00.


Bottled Water Sales Eliminated for 2009 Fair

Not long ago, packing a canteen or water bottle was standard practice when planning an outing for a day. In recent years, as bottled water became ubiquitous at events, including the Common Ground Country Fair, habits changed and people commonly purchased bottled water instead of bringing their own. The staff and volunteers leading the Fair Steering Committee have long been concerned about the increased use of bottled water at the Fair and its impact on the environment, natural resources and our own waste stream.

Last year the committee decided to work toward eliminating bottled water sales at the Fair. The first step, for the 2008 Fair, was installing water bottle filling stations, which enabled fairgoers to refill their own water bottles easily with clean, fresh, free water from our well. These filling stations were a hit and substantially reduced the sale of bottled water over previous years.

Encouraged by that progress and confident that we have adequate infrastructure at our education center to meet Fairgoers' needs for fresh, clean drinking water, the Fair Steering Committee has decided to eliminate the sale of bottled water at the 2009 Fair. We will increase the number of drinking water stations, take additional steps to ensure appropriate access, and educate fairgoers about our decision and the resources we're making available. If you have questions about our decision or would like to help promote this initiative, please contact Jim Ahearne, Fair Director, at MOFGA (568-4142 or


Folk Arts Seeking New Demonstrators

The Folk Arts Area at the Common Ground Country Fair is seeking new demonstrators to expand our offerings in skills that promote sustainable lifestyles. In our present economy, traditional skills and folk arts are more relevant than ever because they show us how our basic life support materials and systems were created before we began depending on the electric grid, big box stores and online catalogs. Going back to basic skills, or revising basic skills to meet our current needs, is an underlying theme of Folk Arts, and we are looking for demonstrators to show us how we can revive traditional practices that can make us less dependent on prevailing systems and more reliant on our local communities and ourselves.

One example is making old-fashioned wooden coffins for green burials instead of relying on expensive caskets and chemically laden embalming practices. And in areas pertaining to living, what about showing how milk paint is made or how candles are dipped? How can we make rakes and brooms? There are many more ideas out there, and people to demonstrate them, and we would like to hear about your ideas and skills.

If you know of Maine folk artists who have something to teach us about sustainable skills and who want to demonstrate in Folk Arts, please have them contact Anu Dudley, Folk Arts Area Coordinator, 382-6717,

CR Lawn in the Exhibition Hall
CR Lawn tours the squash table at MOFGA’s 2008 Common Ground Country Fair. The number and diversity of squashes should be even greater at the 2009 Fair, as the Exhibition Hall co-coordinators have pronounced this the “Year of the Winter Squash.” They encourage farmers and gardeners to grow winter squash – especially heirloom varieties – to show in the hall this fall. English photo.

Start Seeds Soon for the Year of Winter Squash Exhibition Hall Display

Winter squash is the “crop of the year,” say the Common Ground Fair Exhibition Hall co-coordinators. They hope that MOF&G readers will grow diverse varieties of this productive crop this summer to display in the Hall during the Fair. Last year’s emphasis on wheat garnered wide interest during the Fair, and in light of that success, the 2009 display will feature the humble – and spectacular – winter squash.

Winter squash is a time-honored staple that is grown on all the continents. Its high nutritional value and keeping quality make squash doubly valuable. Even with so much going for it, though, so many squash varieties are not commonly grown that the diversity of this genetic material is in danger of being lost.

That visual diversity of these wonderful squashes makes the Exhibition Hall display spectacular! Far beyond the staple ‘Buttercups,’ ‘Hubbards,’ and ‘Waltham Butternuts’ are heirloom varieties from around the world. How about a ‘Japanese Futsu,’ ‘French Galeux d’Eysines,’ ‘Australian Queensland Blue,’ ‘Yugoslavian Finger Fruit,’ ‘Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck’ or ‘Italian Marina di Chioggia’?

We invite all gardeners to contribute to this display, which will introduce fairgoers to new squash varieties and will help preserve this valuable food!

For a feature story about growing winter squash, see

For articles about previous Fairs,