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- Albert Howard, The Soil and Health, 1947
 

 

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 Fair News – Summer 2014 Minimize


Kate Seaver's 'Medicinal Herbs' Design Wins Common Ground Art Contest
Area Coordinators Wanted for Fair
Volunteer Registration Open for the 2014 Fair

Artist Kate Seaver won the 2014 poster design contest for the Common Ground Country Fair. Rachel Nichols photo.


Kate Seaver's 'Medicinal Herbs' Design Wins Common Ground Art Contest

Kate Seaver's drawing of medicinal herbs, featured on this year's Common Ground Country Fair poster (and T-shirts, cotton bags and other goods), emits a bright and positive energy that reflects the artist, her farm and the healthful qualities of herbs.

Kate and her husband, John, are MOFGA journeypersons in their second season of market gardening at their MOFGA-certified organic Up-Beet Farm in Porter Village (https://www.facebook.com/UpBeetFarm), where they live with and home-school daughter Cora. They are working toward producing a sustainable 5 acres of organic and biointensive heirloom vegetables, herbs, cut flowers and seedlings, with Broadturn Farm's John Bliss and Stacy Brenner as their mentors this year; Piper's Knoll Farm in Newfield, Maine, mentored them last year.

The Seavers are inspired by permaculture, biodynamic and nutrient density principles – and by MOFGA. They left Maine for a year, but Kate says they "needed to be back in Maine; it's so supportive for farming." They say they hope to stay open-minded as stewards of food and the earth and to continue to see agriculture as an artistic and joyful endeavor.

Both are very interested in nutrition and community health – and share a love for reggae music as well. In fact, Up-Beet Farm was named for that musical genre. Kate sings reggae and would like to perform at the Common Ground Country Fair someday. She is also learning to play ukulele.

Originally from Fryeburg, Kate grew up in the Fryeburg and Porter areas. She began creating art as a child, and her first visit to the Common Ground Country Fair, at age 13, sowed an idea: She wanted to design a winning Fair poster someday.

After working as a tattoo artist, she majored in illustration at Maine College of Art (MECA). Her medicinal herbs poster drew on both backgrounds.

"I used Prisma colors" – pencils with colors that blend – for the poster design. "I had used those pencils for designing tattoos, because they blend the way ink would on skin."

Her training at MECA helped, too. She hopes to expand her art by painting "not just the surface of things, but the energy I feel behind them." And she wants to continue to use her illustration talent to produce educational books and pamphlets about farming and herbs.

The herbs that inspired the poster grew at Up-Beet Farm.

"I always wanted to know more about herbs," says Kate. "I'm taking a course by video with Gail Faith Edwards [of Blessed Maine Herb Farm]. Deb Soule's garden [at Avena Botanicals in Rockport] was another inspiration. I saw the biggest mullein plant I've ever seen there."

Kate grew the herbs that appear on the poster and chose to depict them because "those are the herbs I felt comfortable with. They're bright, pretty, alive. The herb garden is very healing."

Up-Beet's produce and Kate's art appear in the Seavers' new health food store and café, Good Health Grocery, on Route 25, next to the Porter Emporium in Porter Village. They'll be selling produce from other farms, too. "We're aiming for all certified-organic," says Kate. A certified yoga teacher, Kate will begin offering yoga classes there this fall.

Like a richly integrated living soil, Kate has even more going on. She waitresses at and sells her vegetables to Flatbread Company in North Conway, N.H., and has recently been commissioned to create artwork for that restaurant.

Kate says her favorite reggae song is probably Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song.' That seems fitting in light of the life she has created for herself: "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery," sings Marley; "None but ourselves can free our minds."

Seaver will be signing posters at the Country Store at the 2014 Fair. Please see the schedule of events in the Sept.-Nov. issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener for the time. 

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Area Coordinators Wanted for Fair

Opportunities are available to help organize the Common Ground Country Fair. Every facet of the Fair is shepherded by volunteer coordinators, and we are looking for help in areas throughout the Fair. We have openings for coordinators, assistant coordinators and understudies, and for volunteers to provide leadership before, during and after the Fair. Our volunteer coordinators do so much to contribute to the design and production of this extraordinary celebration. Below are some projects and areas where we are looking for help and where you could make a difference. We have many more volunteer coordinator positions and more information about the positions below at http://mofga.org/TheFair. Please take a look! 

Parking – aka Arrival and Departure Experience Coordinators
In the past five years, MOFGA has invested considerably in parking capacity and traffic management to improve the arrival and departure experience for fairgoers. We have an incredible team of dedicated volunteers who manage parking and traffic at the Fair. Join their team and help ensure that positive Common Ground experience for all. A few places where you can help are

• traffic signage design and support
• parking layout and set-up
• shift leaders
• volunteer coordination

Administration

• School liaison
• Audio and video production
• Alternative transportation support (promote buses, rideshares, train, cycling, etc.)
• Lost and found
• Ticket gate staffing

Exhibitor Area Coordinators

• Agricultural Demonstrations Area
• Media exhibitors
• Young Maine Area
• Youth Enterprise Zone

Programming and Activities

• Children's Area
• Donkey and Mule Show
• Speaker/presenter hosts
• Lawn Games

Site Logistics

• Site cleanup
• Site signage coordination (catalog, design, distribute, storage, update)
• Venue setup teams (manage tables, chairs and other equipment for exhibitor and speaker tents and venues)
• Water stations

Volunteer Support

• Common Kitchen operations and food preparation
• T-shirt coordination and distribution

As the Fair evolves, new opportunities arise. The above opportunities top our list, but perhaps you see a way to help with something we've missed. Either way, if you would like to take a leadership role in producing our big annual celebration, we would love to hear from you. Please visit our website or contact Anna Libby, MOFGA's volunteer coordinator, at alibby@mofga.org or 207-568-4142.

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Volunteer Registration Open for the 2014 Common Ground Country Fair

Volunteer registration for the 2014 Common Ground Country Fair is now open. Volunteer opportunities are available before the Fair during setup; through the Fair weekend of September 19, 20 and 21; and afterward for cleanup. Individuals, families and groups are all welcome.

Individuals and groups can register for shifts at www.commongroundcountryfair.org. Or, to learn more about volunteering at the Fair, look for the "Fair Volunteers" page in the Fair section of the MOFGA website (www.mofga.org).

We rely on hundreds of volunteers, contributing in myriad ways, to produce MOFGA's annual celebration of rural living. Whether you have a specific skill, experience in a trade or simply an abundance of enthusiasm and creativity, the Fair has a volunteer role for you. Contributing in every imaginable way – from carpentry to commercial plumbing and electrical, landscaping, traffic control, preparing meals, collecting and sorting recycle-ables and trash, collecting tickets, serving meals, helping speakers, staffing information booths, selling T-shirts, and more – volunteers do just about anything and everything necessary to make the Common Ground Country Fair happen.

Volunteers who work a 4-hour shift receive a "grown and made in the USA" organic cotton Fair T-shirt, Fair admission and a delicious meal served by the Common Kitchen. Work additional shifts and receive additional meals and days of free admission.
For more information about volunteering at the Fair, visit the Fair Volunteers webpage at www.mofga.org or contact Anna Libby at the MOFGA office at 207-568-4142 or volunteers@mofga.org.

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