When’s the last time you sat down next to total stranger at a restaurant or at a festival and both of you started talking about your garden and chickens? Never? I’ve never had that happen … except at the Mother Earth News Fairs. It’s as if I’ve been transported into a world where everyone is a homesteader or at least thinking about the possibilities.
In my day-to-day world, I’m bordered by a field of GMO corn and soybeans, and the “real farmers” around me think we’re weird. Why would we want to grow heritage poultry? Why do we have those dinky pigs? What are they good for? But at the Mother Earth News Fairs, people get excited to hear we have American Guinea Hogs. They ask intelligent questions about their care and the flavor of their meat. It was the first place I’d ever met anyone who adored heritage poultry as much as I do, and I became fast friends with Victoria Miller when her book Pure Poultry was just a twinkle in her eye.
Imagine overhearing conversations about goats and hoop houses and solar panels, rather than what was on television last night. Nobody is gossiping about their neighbors. They’re too busy learning and making plans. In some cases I simply have a fun conversation over lunch with someone I just met. In other cases, I’ve made a new friend for life. We exchange emails and “friend” each other on Facebook. We start following each other’s homesteading adventures, worry about each other’s homesteading challenges, and share recipes. And we look forward to seeing each other again at the fair next year.
Of course, you can’t overlook the amazing educational opportunities. When was the last time you were able to listen to Joel Salatin talk about his pastured poultry operation for 90 minutes? There are sessions on family cows, beekeeping, commercial flower farming, making sourdough bread, distilling liquor, gardening with arthritis, cooking with animal fats, herbalism, organic pest control, building with cob, heritage rabbits, alternative energy, and more! The hardest part is choosing between the eleven (yes, 11!) talks that are happening every hour. If you come with a friend, I suggest that each of you go to a different session, take great notes, and then tell each other what you learned. It won’t be as good as being there, but it’s better than missing it entirely.
Join me at the Fair in Kansas!
I wish every homesteader could experience the amazing education, networking, and fellowship that happens at a Fair. So, I asked the lovely folks at Mother Earth News if they’d give a couple of my readers tickets to the Fair that’s coming up in Kansas on October 21 and 22, and they graciously agreed. In addition to getting free admission to the Fair, I’d also love to meet you for lunch or coffee or whatever our schedules can accommodate for the weekend.
You know the drill! If you’d like to enter the giveaway, there are lots of options listed below. You get three (yes, 3!) entries if you leave a comment telling us why you want to go to the Fair. Be sure to use your real name when leaving a comment so that we can match it up with your entry in case you win. Because the Fair is the weekend after the giveaway ends, you’ll have only 48 hours to respond with your address if you win or we will draw another winner. (Sorry, I just got this idea on Friday.) Make sure to check back on the website when we announce the winner next Monday and check your spam folder so you don’t miss our email!
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