Join us each day on The Common at 11 a.m. to hear our keynote speakers -- people who are thinking deeply about the world and what we might do to make it better.
Friday, September 21st
The Importance of Pickles, or Why I Put Up With Teenagers Working In My Greenhouse
Amy LeBlanc, of Whitehill Farm in East Wilton, grows hundreds of varieties of heirloom tomatoes to sell as seedlings and for fruit. She'll share her experience as a small farmer who passes her knowledge and work ethic (and pickle recipe!) on to young helpers each year. LeBlanc is an active member of the Fair Steering Committee and a co-coordinator of the Exhibition Hall at the Fair. She also has participated in the past two international IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) conferences, and she's been thinking hard about how the Common Ground Country Fair and MOFGA can be forces for change both here and beyond.
Saturday, September 22nd
Representative Hannah Pingree
Toxic Materials in the Environment - What We Can Do About Them
Hannah Pingree, of North Haven, is the Majority Leader of the Maine House of Representatives. A second-generation MOFGA member (her mom, Chellie, organized MOFGA's apprenticeship program), Pingree is a leader on issues dealing with toxic materials in the environment. She was the prime sponsor of this year's successful legislation to phase out the brominated flame retardant "deca." Pingree is one of the 13 Maine citizens who were tested for toxic materials in their bodies by the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine. She will talk about the lessons we can learn from the study and the changes we need to make to get toxics out of the environment and out of our food system.
Sunday, September 23rd
Parallels Among Organic Farming and Community Based Fisheries
Ted Ames is working to recreate community-based fisheries, starting with programs directed at lobster and cod at the Penobscot East Resource Center in Stonington. He has been a commercial fisherman and high school teacher, and he's done great work using oral histories to develop scientific models of where the old cod spawning grounds were in Penobscot Bay.
"Community-based fisheries can be considered the ocean version of the local food movement on land," says Ames. "Those fishermen and communities who are recognizing the need for limits to scale and the importance of ecosystem balance through community-based resource management are often considered as far out of the mainstream as organic farming was when it started. Fishing and agriculture have lots to learn from each other, about self-management and about food distribution and marketing."