Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Fair News – Fall 2010

Fair News Archive \ Fair News – Fall 2010

2010 Fair Poster

Welcome to the 34th Common Ground Country Fair!

Lively Rooster Art by Holly Meade Animates 2010 Poster

Welcome to the 34th Common Ground Country Fair!

By Jim Ahearne

The Fair has grown a lot over the last 34 years. More than 700 exhibitors, demonstrators, speakers and artists now participate in the Fair.

Behind all this activity is a remarkable group of volunteers who continue to inspire and create. Planning Common Ground is a year-round endeavor, and all year the volunteers on the Fair Planning Team are tending to their respective patches of the Fair – planning, making connections, sorting arrangements, minding the details – so that come late September, we can all enjoy the harvest of their efforts. These 150 or so Planning Team members bring us all of these 700 participants and events. Without them, there would be no Common Ground Country Fair.

The model of the volunteer Planning Team collaborating with MOFGA staff, volunteers on the Fair Steering Committee and the hundreds of Fair participants to bring forth Common Ground is a lot like the economy of Maine, especially the rural economy. It takes a lot of collaboration, sharing, innovation and hard work to make life tick here in Maine. But it sure tastes great at harvest! This is no more evident than on Maine's farms.

A week before last year's Common Ground Country Fair, an article in The New York Times covered the restaurants of Portland, Maine. At least initially it appeared to be about Portland's restaurants. The story it really conveyed was that of the relationship between the chefs of Portland and Maine farmers. The writer recognized and celebrated that Portland's emerging reputation as a Mecca of first class eateries is built not only on the creativity of its chefs, but with the bounty of Maine farms. Not acknowledged in the article, but deeply entwined in this relationship between farms and markets, are the hundreds of thousands of Mainers who are making healthy choices and make local and organic agriculture integral to their lifestyle and communities.

It's those choices and connections, and the thousands more like them – among farmers, schools, restaurants, gardeners, businesses and consumers – in communities across Maine that we celebrate with the Common Ground Country Fair.

While celebrating, we certainly like to eat well and we have a good time. There's a lot of fun to be had at the Fair, so we hope you enjoy it. Fill your cup with a good contradance and your plate with delicious organic food. Or flex your muscles for the manure-toss (didn't know we had a manure toss, did you?) or with the Unity Fire Department's test of strength game. Perhaps you'll discover something new to you or smile at the reunion with an old friend.

Whatever attraction drew you to the Fair or your connection to Common Ground, on behalf of more than 6,000 MOFGA members, I thank you for your support and wish for you a great Fair!

Holly Meade
Holly Meade

Lively Rooster Art by Holly Meade Animates 2010 Common Ground Country Fair Poster

The 2010 Common Ground Country Fair poster art contest winner is Holly Meade of Sedgwick, Maine. An accomplished artist, Meade is well known for her children's book work – the first in 1992 and almost 30 since then. A number of these books have won awards, the two most notable being a Caldecott Honor for HUSH! A Thai Lullaby, written by Minfong Ho, and the Charlotte Zolotow Award for Creative Writing for John Willy and Freddy McGee. Other books with Meade’s art include Cocoa Ice by Diana Applebaum, And Then Comes Halloween by Tom Brenner, and On the Farm by David Elliot. In fact, Meade introduced the lively rooster featured on this year's poster from her body of work created while illustrating On the Farm.

Meade, originally from Massachusetts, earned a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and later attended workshops at the Haystack Mountain School on Deer Isle. “That exposure to the area is what brought me to this part of Maine,” she says. Since attending a Haystack workshop with printmaker Hester Stinnett in 2002, she has been printing from wood blocks, linoleum blocks and sometimes the two combined. She also makes prints on Japanese papers; does illustrations; and has done cut paper collage for most of her children’s book work. Her art has been shown in galleries throughout Maine and is displayed at her Reach Road Gallery (62 Reach Road, Sedgwick, Maine;

Much of Meade’s work has a great sense of movement and vitality to it – gained, in part, from observing animals at Carding Brook Farm in Brooklin, which is owned by her second cousin Jonathan Ellsworth, and his wife, Jennifer Schroth. “They have sheep, horses, chickens… That’s where I go to sketch the animals,” says Meade – and where she got the idea for the rooster. Meade recalls “the last rooster they called Pecky, for reasons you can guess. In fact, he was aggressive enough to, unprovoked, attack their youngest son, Walker,” to whom On the Farm is dedicated. “So, too bad for Pecky,” says Meade; “he ended up in the cookpot.”

Meade also gets certified organic produce and other foods from Carding Brook, now that her children are grown and she no longer gardens.

Meade will be signing posters at the Common Ground Country Fair. Please check the schedule of events in the Sept.-Nov. 2010 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener for the time and place.