NORWAY — There is a food revolution occurring in Oxford Hills and it will be showcased during the first Foothills Food Festival next month.

Planning for the all-day event is well underway. It is organized by Community Food Matters — the local Community Food Council — and is a project of Norway’s Center for an Ecology-Based Economy. The event is scheduled from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, downtown. Rain date is Sunday, Aug. 14. 

The festival area spans from behind Main Street’s Fare Share Co-op, which includes the two adjacent parking lots, to Longley Square, according to Maisey Griffin, a festival organizer.

On Thursday, June 30, roughly 15 organizers and volunteers gathered at the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy to further plan the festival.

Griffin described the event as “a harvest bounty,” noting the agricultural revival in the area will “showcase the food and agricultural renaissance in western Maine.”

Even though the festival is downtown, Griffin noted it is a celebration of the entire region’s farmers, food advocates, chefs, educators and others in the local food scene.

“Part of the idea here is to create an identity for this area as a food destination,” fellow organizer Scott Vlaun added. “Norway is part of the food revolution.”

Organizer Ken Morse said their group is collaborating with Norway’s Alan Day Community Garden, which will host the two-day Community Roots program this year during the same weekend. The goal is to have plenty of signs and cross-promotion at both events and possibly have a spray-painted trail of vegetables between the two sites.

“We’re really hitting all of downtown Norway,” Griffin said.

There are numerous activities slated for both events and festival organizers were busy hammering out the details last week.

On tap for the Foothills Food Festival is a farmers market, complete with food and local vendors, the beer garden, featuring Norway Brewing Co. and other local brewers behind Green Machine Bike Shop. Also planned are free workshops, live music, tours of Fare Share Co-op and Alan Day Community Garden, a slideshow/exhibit of local farms inside the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy. Storytelling, poetry reading, a kids area with activities and farmers’ presentations, which will range the gamut of different style farms, are also slated.

Morse said a printed program will help festival-goers navigate the events.

Griffin added there is a lot to celebrate locally in food diversity and other goals are to promote and develop a robust food economy in the area and overall reduce the collective carbon footprints.

“This is a food festival, but all-in-all, this is a green festival,” she said.

Organizers are looking to the community to participate, contribute and attend the food festival. There is a wish list they have, which includes a public address system, picnic tables, generators, big tents and port-a-potties. Vlaun said they would approach local businesses for in-kind donations in return for promotion at the festival.

Over the next couple of weeks, a list of jobs will be compiled as the search for more volunteers continues. They have also launched an Indiegogo campaign to help offset the costs of the festival. Donations can be made at–2#/ or directly to the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy.

“This is everyone’s food festival,” Griffin said. “We’re organizing it, but this is really not going to be anything unless every community member comes out.”

For more information about the Foothills Food Festival, contact Griffin at [email protected].

[email protected]

Community Roots

NORWAY — Community Roots, the educational event that focuses on do-it-yourself agricultural and environmental workshops, will move from the Oxford County Fair to the Alan Day Community Garden.

The 2016 edition is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, and Sunday, Aug. 14, at the garden, 26 Whitman St. in Norway.

Christopher Easton, along with his wife, Paula, organize the annual educational event and said the fair site wasn’t working for them so the location was changed.

“We wanted Community Roots to keep going,” he said.

Easton said he spoke with garden coordinator Rocky Crockett, who invited Community Roots to hold the event the community garden. The pair didn’t realize the Foothills Food Festival was scheduled for the same weekend.

“OK, let’s see if we can dovetail with that,” Easton said he remembered thinking after the realization.

He noted there is some overlap of times and similar themes with the two events, but organizers are trying not to duplicate workshops.

While Easton has most of the presenters secured, he is still looking to fill a few slots. So far, they include workshops on pesto, seed-saving, solar energy, scything, mulch gardening, composting, pruning and grafting, beekeeping, permaculture and food forests.

For more information about Community Roots, contact Christopher Easton at [email protected].

[email protected]

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