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Reporting from Mother Earth News Fair

Earth Day Every Day # 4

The Great Pacific Northwest, and more locally, our neighbor Puyallup, is one of two venues in the country for the Mother Earth News Fair.  It's happening this weekend at the Puyallup Fairgrounds.  (Their other fair will be held in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, September 21-23.)  We were busy for several hours Saturday just looking at exhibits and occasionally hearing a bit of a workshop presentation (plus allowing time to visit the chickens, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats and alpacas).      

Mother Earth News has for many years promoted sustainability and self-reliance.  The range of topics featured at the fair draws folks like-minded on those principles and goals, and yet diverse in their particular interests and lifestyles.  And the many dozens of workshops and exhibits seem to have something for everyone. For farmers, for example, there's info on small-farm management, choosing livestock, heritage breeds, home dairies, CSAs, and marketing to the green consumer.  As home gardeners you can pursue gardening with heirlooms, seed-saving, organic gardening, the edible front yard, city-farming, chickens in your garden, cover crops, composting, year-round harvests and gardening with children.  Or maybe instead you'd like to skip all that gardening and just learn to find and prepare wild edible foods.  Home-grown or gathered, presentations on food preservation have ideas for processing your harvest.  Even more on food--a number of workshops on making such items as cheese, yogurt, jams, tofu, beer, pickles, and whole-grain breads.

Builders and re-modelers can take a look at energy efficiency, green building options, solar plans, and water conservation.  Or maybe the tiny-building home?  Or straw-bale construction? Or light-earth walls?

For children there are special presentations on planning a garden, drawing farm animals, and cheese- and butter-making.  All ages can appreciate the Fort Nisqually Historical Museum reenactors demonstrating Dutch-oven cooking, spinning, rope-making, blacksmithing, and timber-squaring.   . 

Having recently watched Who Killed the Electric Car and then Revenge of the Electric Car, we were very interested to see the Alternative Energy Car Show.  The Tesla, the Leaf, and Mitsubishi's i-MiEV were there, as well as several electric conversions.  Not all the cars were electric.  The Max, a home-built sports car that gets over 100 miles per gallon, runs on diesel, bio-diesel or straight vegetable oil.  Like to do it yourself?   Build Your Own Hybrid Car is the title of a Sunday workshop.  (Plus another on Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle.)

All this and lots more--I'll add pictures the next few days to fill in some of the blanks.

And there's still time to go--the hours Sunday are 9 to 6 pm.  Maybe see you there?  Speakers, workshops and exhibitors are detailed on the Mother Earth News Fair website: http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/Puyallup.aspx   

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Doreen Anderson June 04, 2012 at 09:30 PM
So--back to the fair on Sunday. In order to be sure getting a seat at Joel Salatin's presentation (having heard there was standing room only last year), we went to the talk on microhydro energy (clean power from water) which preceded Salatin's. Hate to admit, but I really planned during that hour to read (discreetly) one of the books I'd got at the festival. But after a couple pages of discreet reading, glancing up occasionally to look politely attentive, I put away the book and found myself thoroughly involved with the speaker and his subject. And I learned a lot about something I hadn't thought of pursuing. I think this speaks to the quality of speakers and the choices for presentations the Mother Earth News team makes. (Google microhydro scott davis if you're interested in this topic.)
Doreen Anderson June 04, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Next up, Joel Salatin. Like most everyone else who" knows" him, we were first introduced to him in Michael Pollan's book, Omnivore's Dilemma, and further acquainted in the documentary film, Food, Inc. We figured we knew pretty much what he had to say, but that it would be interesting to see him in person. It was more than that. He was funny, engaging, and inspiring. I need a separate blog entry just for him and his message, but I'm afraid I can't do it justice. Before trying, I'll see if they post this presentation online, and if so, you can see and hear it yourself. He did close by saying that to re-integrate our food system into a sustainable way of life, we don't need more resources, people, or ideas. What we need is more participation. We left determined to increase our own participation by making more choices for local and seasonal foods, by growing more food ourselves, and by supporting our local farms by purchasing from them. So hey, Enumclaw farmers, keep up the good work, (the hard work, we know), grow us more good food, and we (speaking for Doreen and John) will keep buying it, and I believe many on the plateau will join us in that pledge. Right? (We have to let them know!)

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