Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Gail Taisey
Gail Taisey has volunteered at the Common Ground Country Fair since she was a teenager. One of her favorite areas in which to volunteer is the Livestock Area. English photo.


By Marada Cook

Six years, 18 shifts, and 11 different jobs. Those are the figures on Gail Taisey's volunteer history. The cheerful 22-year-old has been working at the Common Ground Fair full time "at least since the beginning of high school," she said, "We went as a group of friends, doing one four-hour shift per day!

"I started going to the Common Ground Fair in Windsor when I was very young," Gail explained. While her mother and aunt wandered through the craft tents, Gail found something more exciting to do. "I started volunteering to keep busy. My very first job was in the recycling tent."

With 11 or 12 different MOFGA volunteer jobs under her belt, Gail has selected both her favorite and least favorite jobs. She thought about her least favorite for a moment, and said, "I don't really like washing dishes. They never seem to end!" Her favorite job was far easier to pick: "I love working in the Livestock Area. Mostly I just shovel manure and push a wheelbarrow, but I get to be around the animals!"

Gail is currently working for Lisa Turner of Laughing Stock Farm in Freeport. One of only a handful of farmers in Maine who grow year 'round, Lisa describes Gail as, "very reliable. I can always count on her to help out when I need her most. She's the type of person I'm always happy to see in the morning!"

Gail knows her future includes agriculture, although she's not sure what form it will take. "Right now it's a toss up between horses and vegetables. Who knows, maybe even both! Right now I'm just kind of 'getting my feet wet' in farming."

Her ability to stick with a project has served Gail well, both on and off the Fairgrounds. She has worked for Lisa Turner for two and a half years, and this spring will start a southbound hike of the Appalachian Trail. "I'm leaving in May and I'm going to hike as far as I can, stopping around Thanksgiving," she said, "I'm really looking forward to it!"

The hike means that for the first time in six years she'll miss the Common Ground Fair. She encourages others to take her place. "There are literally hundreds of different jobs. Wherever your interests lie, there's something you can do to help out. My advice to willing volunteers is just to come on up and give it a try!"

MOF&G Cover Spring 2002