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"When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers therefore are the founders of human civilization."
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MOF&G Cover Winter 2009-2010
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  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerWinter 2009-2010Letters   
 Letters – Winter 2009-2010 Minimize

Being Part of the Fair

To the editor:

The fair is the classic, quintessentially American way of ending the summer, that final hurrah before winter and school. When someone says “fair” you think delicious greasy food, rusting amusement rides obviously designed by people who hadn’t just eaten a corndog and a milkshake; combined with large, dusty and smelly crowds. That’s what the fair is to most people, a ritual of stuffing your face with food you would normally not touch, games you know are scams but play anyway because you want a giant stuffed gorilla, and a general break from the responsibilities of everyday life.

That is the fair to most everyone, except those who have had the privilege of attending the Common Ground Country Fair, hosted on the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) fairgrounds in Unity each September. The Common Ground Fair represents all that is good in us and our culture, and leaves whoever goes feeling a little more optimistic about the future direction of our country and our world.

Strolling around the fairgrounds, after an amusing transaction that left me with a huge smile and an equally large steak sandwich, my friends and I strolled by a huge set of solar panels and a crafts tent where people compared homemade soaps, clay pots, blankets and the likes. Then on to the Youth Enterprise Zone, where kids of all ages sold everything from candles and jewelry to apple pie and wooden spoons. Then, after a quick jaunt into the Bicycle Coalition of Maine tent, circling around to the green, where we would meet some friends and relax while others cracked out their instruments and started jamming, immediately attracting a small crowd. 

This year our class volunteered in the Children’s Area, with jobs such as face painting, scarecrow making, hammering nails and print making, as well as welcoming people who enter and thanking those leaving. During our shift I met many wonderful little kids, some proudly showing me their prints while others hid behind their moms when I greeted them. Our shift had us working hard from 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon, leaving us tired but with a feeling of accomplishment: that we really were a working element in the Fair; that we helped it happen. 

On behalf of a great Fair supporting great people and great ideas, I strongly urge you to try to go next year, and if you know you are going, tell as many friends (or enemies) to come as well. Who knows, you might leave feeling a little better about yourself, or maybe it’s just that steak sandwich.

– Ari Snider
Ashwood Waldorf School eighth grader
Rockport, Maine



Praising Kimball

To the editor:

I was disappointed that you posted a review of Herrick Kimball’s apple grinder and cider press plan booklet written by someone who had no hands-on experience at building and using Herrick’s machines. What is a review of a set of plans compared to a review of what the plans come to when built? I have built and used this equipment and am quite satisfied; maybe this will change over time as I am a neophyte, but the pleasure of building his press and grinder and then making my own cider is enormous. Also not noted was Herrick’s personal attention to his customers via his Web site, www.whizbangcider.com/, and the ongoing yahoo group, easily reached through the Web site, which makes Herrick immediately accessible to his growing body of customers.

– Don England
Auburn, Maine


    

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