C E L E B R A T E R U R A L L I V I N G W I T H M O F G A
SEPTEMBER 23, 24, 25 2005
Always the Third Weekend After Labor Day
In 2006: September 22, 23, and 24th
I've been attending the Common Ground Country Fair in various capacities since its inception in Litchfield. Like many of you, I maintain a fierce loyalty to the Fair--which I used to say was THE only fair in the state. (As Fair Director, now all fairs are interesting.) Each year I would come to the Fair to network and find resources that I would use throughout the years. As a master gardener, all the farm and garden connections were indispensable; as a veterinary technician, I loved the animal demonstrations; as a homeowner, the energy and shelter products always caught my eye; and as a craftsperson, I would wander the crafts tents appreciating the skills displayed and wondering which ones I could develop. I would attend lectures of interest, collect armloads of information (some of which I probably still have, dutifully filed away), take in some entertainment, leave and then pore over the Fairbook Schedule at home. DARN! I always missed something I wanted desperately to learn.
You cannot see and do everything at the Fair, but the opportunity to gather information and make connections is boundless. Some veteran fairgoers go line-by-line on the schedule highlighting what they'll see and when. They also leave time to savor the exquisite food at the Fair and just to walk through the vendor booths.
Often I couldn't afford all the products I wanted at the Fair (One of everything please!), but if something was really outstanding, I would take information home and sometimes a year later-or even two, five or ten years later--I would know just where I could purchase that item. The same happened with information, which was preserved in my "Someday" file. My dad always said that the best education was a place that taught you how to get more information when you wanted it, and that was why I loved the Fair!
Broad presentations without sales pressure and with all available information enable Fairgoers to go home and make a grassroots attempt to do something themselves or to purchase a full-fledged product that will be up and running in minutes. Our emphasis on Maine means that you are supporting fellow Mainers and boosting local economies. Our emphasis on education means that everyone can go home with a new idea. This Fair makes you feel good: good about rural living, growing things, learning, supporting local economies, eating and about Maine and all its local talent. I have to wonder how my life has been influenced over the years by all the exposure I've had to the Fair. Many of my accomplishments were dreamed of as possibilities while making connections here at MOFGA's own Common Ground Country Fair!
--Barbara Luce, Fair Director
Come to the Fair! There is no excuse! The options for admission span from FREE to $9.00 and here is how you can do it. Admission is $9.00 for adults (13 and over); $7.00 for elders (65 and over); or FREE for children 12 and under, handicapped citizens with one assistant, volunteers, and MOFGA members. Not a member? No problem, visit one of the Membership booths outside the gates. Join MOFGA and get in free all weekend.
Come to the Fair and see the garden beds, the shade trees that are starting to give us their shade, the cultivated field plots, and orchards. Learn from the many that share their expertise; compete in various activities; dance, sing and have a great time. A one of a kind event, the Fair demonstrates how we are all able to incorporate more sustainable living practices into our daily lives and sends us home with the reasons it is in our best interest to do so.
For more information contact us at MOFGA - Common Ground Country Fair, PO Box 170, Unity, ME 04988, Phone: 568-4142 e-mail: email@example.com or visit us on the Web: www.mofga.org.
The Common Ground Country Fair's association with MOFGA's mission and goals has provided the structure that created this unique and dynamic Fair that has, since its inception in 1977, held the loyalty of volunteers. The Fair has grown with MOFGA, and MOFGA has grown with the Fair. This symbiotic relationship promotes sustainable, conscientious living, with FUN and opportunities to find sources, knowledge and inspiration to take incremental steps toward your own personal, sustainable goals.
For those who really love being at the Common Ground Country Fair, being a coordinator is a highly rewarding endeavor, and it's not difficult. When you volunteer for an area that accepts vendors, the basic responsibilities include: working with the Fair office to mail applications, selecting vendors from among the applicants, keeping in contact with them and answering their questions over the summer, and staffing the area during the three days of the Fair. Add a day to set up the area; stay till the very end to answer questions, solicit new ideas and clean the area when all have left; then, when you get home, submit a wrap-up report of what went right, what needs work and where we should go in the future. The MOFGA staff is great to work with and to help with important pieces of the administrative work (such as mailing applications and confirmation packets). Many coordinators divide responsibilities with others in their areas; others enjoy the company and process of doing all of the work together.
When you volunteer to work on one of the more invisible areas of the Fair, you are perhaps even more crucial to the ultimate, seamless (to the Fairgoer) presentation of what’s required to have 50,000 people move in and out of the fairgrounds. Needless to say the opportunities are endless! We can often take your interests and design a job that enables you to know at the end of the Fair year that you made a major contribution to a worthwhile organization. If you have never seen the Fairgrounds bloom into the full-fledged Fair-in-action and then return to "normal," you've missed a truly amazing feat. You get to work with other great Fair volunteers; spend three days at the best fair in the state; get a Fair T-shirt, volunteer staff recognition, and three excellent meals a day from the Common Kitchen; and become part of a community that has built something truly wonderful over the past three decades for Maine to be proud of.
If YOU would like to become involved, please call the Fair office at 568-4142 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to talk to you about your interests and how you can plug into the community of volunteers at the Common Ground Country Fair.
MOFGA, formed in 1971, is the oldest and largest state organic organization in the country.
The purposes of the Association are to help farmers and gardeners grow organic food, to protect the environment, to promote stewardship of natural resources, to increase local food production, to support sustainable rural communities, and to illuminate for consumers the connections among healthful food, environmentally sound farming practices, and vital local economies.
MOFGA is a 501(c)(3) organization that welcomes your financial contributions and volunteer participation. Financial contributions to MOFGA are tax deductible.
Volunteer leadership, the dedication and idealism of our members, and a grass-roots approach to carrying out education and change underlie the success of our programs:
* Organic certification
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)
Common Ground Country Fair
PO Box 170
Unity, ME 04988