UNITY — The Common Ground Country Fair, the premier educational event of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), will be held in an alternative online format this year. Many aspects of the fair will be available online, including educational content, during the three days of the fair, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 25 to 27.

An online marketplace for fair vendors, to run from Sept. 25, 2020, through Jan. 8, 2021, will offer shoppers the opportunity to support local businesses that would typically participate at the fair, including farmers, crafters and nonprofit educational organizations.

Each day will feature a keynote address at 11 a.m. Friday’s keynote speaker, Leah Penniman, is a Black Kreyol farmer/peyizan, mother, soil nerd, author and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York, and is the author of “Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land.” Saturday’s speaker is Barbara Damrosch, farmer and co-owner of Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine, author of “The Garden Primer” and “Theme Gardens” and co-author of “The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook.” She has served as MOFGA’s board president. Sunday’s speaker, Winona LaDuke, is a rural development economist and author working on issues of indigenous economics, food and energy policy. LaDuke lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota and is executive director of Honor the Earth.

MOFGA is developing additional content, including talks related to farming, gardening and sustainable living, that will be available via an online content library on the fair website. Activities to bring the community together in alternative formats are also underway.

All are encouraged to grow and submit items for the online exhibition hall, submit photos for the online garden parade, share poetry and fair stories. “The alternative format this year allows us to engage with and bring the fair to people who might not be able to join us in person during a typical year. We look forward to providing quality and engaging content for our existing fair community and a broader audience this year,” said Common Ground Country Fair Director April Boucher.

The fair content will be available free due to sponsors and the support of MOFGA members. MOFGA is also seeking volunteers to help with the fair this year. For more information, see fair.mofga.org and the fair-related content in the coming fall issue of MOFGA’s newspaper, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.

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