Keynote Speakers at the 2012 Common Ground Country Fair
Shannon Hayes, Owner of Sap Bush Hollow Farm, Journalist, Homesteader. 11:00 a.m., Friday, on the Common. Blending story telling, farm humor, and an uncanny knack for stirring up trouble, Shannon examines the history of consumerism in America, how it played out in the household, the effects it has had on our food system and culture, and how we can recover our households, our communities, our ecosystem and our country.
Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides. 1:00 p.m., Saturday, on the Common. For more than three decades, Jay has been hammering away at the likes of Monsanto, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Dow, Dupont, Bayer, Syngenta and pesticides industry lobby groups such as the misleadingly named RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment). Feldman cofounded the advocacy organization Beyond Pesticides and has been its director since 1981. Like MOFGA, Feldman seeks a transition to a world free of toxic pesticides.
Sarah Smith, Dairy Farmer, Co-Owner of Grassland Organic Farm in Skowhegan, MOFGA Board Member. 11:00 a.m., Sunday, on the Common. Sarah and her husband, Garin, milk 40 cows and raise 4 acres of mixed vegetables, organic beef, pastured broiler chickens, laying hens and pigs. They offer seasonal CSA shares, and Sarah attends four farmers' markets year round while also raising their three children, Cedar (6), Reed (3) and Charlotte (9 months). Additionally, Sarah manages a multi-farm CSA in Skowhegan called The Pickup, which supports 40 food producers in the region.
Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Director of the United States Department of Agriculture. 1:00 p.m., Sunday, on the Common. Merrigan helped develop USDA's organic labeling rules while head of the Agricultural Marketing Service from 1999-2001. Between her USDA positions, she worked at Tufts University as Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program. She has a PhD in environmental planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.