What is common ground? It is a shared interest, purpose or ideas, perhaps even ideals. In some cases it is a physical place that unifies. For the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association/MOFGA, their annual Common Ground Country Fair appears to be all of the above.
Situated in Unity, Maine, about 35 minutes southwest of Bangor, the 2017 Common Ground Country Fair, celebrating rural living, was a sight to behold. Bicyclists choosing to bike their way to this farming Utopia were cheered for en masse upon arrival. Welcome signs and a substantial farmer’s market greeted attendees. Strolling musicians, a town of food vendors, plentiful artisans for discerning buyers and collectors, tool demonstrations, antique tractors, seeds and bulbs, a meet and greet for many animals, and abundant classes back to back on topics from “Sustainable Beekeeping,” to “Permaculture Design for Farms,” to “Herbs for Supporting Mental Clarity and Memory” filled the day with choices upon choices of farming and holistic goodness to immerse yourself in.
Even on Friday, which is historically the least crowded of the three-day event, had countless cars covering numerous acres of field; however, it was well organized and staffed with many volunteers for parking—some of the many thoughtful and hardworking volunteers who make this entire event run seamlessly. It was so well attended that if a visitor wanted to purchase a souvenir Fair t-shirt, they would have had to wait for likely hours in max capacity lines wrapping all the way around the massive tent that served as the country store. An update from MOFGA for online purchases of remaining t-shirt inventory offered a helpful solution, as good design, which is featured upon these shirts year after year, cannot be missed.
Filled to capacity with many standing around the perimeter, Herbalist and Teacher, Deb Soule’s Friday presentation on “Herbs for Easing Anxiety, Despair and Grief” was one of, if not the most, well-attended class that day. Her thoughtful words that educated and peaceful cadence that nourished offered an oasis of Herbal Wisdom. She even had class notes for attendees and Lemonbalm glycerite and Lavender glycerite samples of her Avena Botanicals to try. Even for the advanced herbalist, her class offered anecdotes and personal insight that can’t be matched unless shared in person.
This is a fair that requires more than one day to get the fullest experience. The best way to make the most of your Common Ground Country Fair experience is to become a MOFGA member, which grants free admission every day of the fair, in addition to directly supporting new and established organic farmers through MOFGA’s teaching and other programs, including some free of charge. You can also volunteer, which is an enriching experience. The Fair app provides a proper scheduling tool. Perhaps in the future their dedicated staff, or volunteers or interns could include a map, ideally interactive, and one that includes a vendor directory with links to their media. If you require lodging, book it a year in advance, or more, as local hotels and campgrounds fill up fast.
Bottom line, the Common Ground Country Fair is like no other, including their volunteers and staff, who deserve heartfelt thanks. It is the place to be where likeminded people meet to celebrate connection, the earth, and to purposeful living. For more information visit MOFGA.org.
The heart of Botaniscape™ and budding Herbalist/Wildcrafter, Lori McClellan sees the Art of Herbalism as her lifelong connection to Nature and wonder manifested most fully—another exciting medium and source of abundant joy. A daily meditator and career Journalist, Author, Artist and Poet, she creates as Loretta Boyer McClellan. Her works as a writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression, connection and inspiration. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates from a place of Oneness. Writing, meditating, painting, and her relationship with Nature and all beings, most tangibly through Herbalism, are her connection to the Infinite.