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Keynote Speakers at the 2017 Common Ground Country Fair


Friday, September 22 – 11 a.m., The Common

Jill Agnew

Jill Agnew
Farmer, Willow Pond Farm

"Community" Supported Agriculture
Looking Back, Looking Forward, A 40-Year Story

The first CSA in Maine started in 1989 at Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus. A new concept for many but drawing on the age-old strength of “Community,” Willow Pond Farm has integrated into the social and economic structure of an area from Portland to Augusta.

Jill and Charlie Agnew have farmed in Sabattus since 1982, raising a family and operating a small diversified farm and orchard. This has included training over 90 apprentices and growing organic vegetables and small fruits, pastured pigs, chickens, turkeys, lamb and value-added products for over 120 households a year.

Jill will talk about what visions lie ahead to maintain a positive impact in the community and how basic human values are supported, taught and nurtured – all in the context of agriculture, the panorama people can see, smell, experience and eat. This will be hard to put into words, so it will unfold as “The Story.”

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Saturday, September 23 – 11 a.m., The Common

Sherri Mitchell

Sherri Mitchell
Attorney, Teacher and Spiritual Activist, Land Peace Foundation

Standing on Indigenous Rights

Sherri Mitchell was born and raised on the Penobscot Indian reservation. An indigenous rights attorney, teacher and spiritual activist, she is an alumna of the American Indian Ambassador program and of the Udall Native American Congressional Internship program. In 2010 she received the Mahoney Dunn International Human Rights and Humanitarian Award for research into human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples. In 2015 she received the Spirit of Maine Award for commitment and excellence in the field of International Human Rights. And in 2016 Mitchell’s portrait was added to the esteemed series, Americans Who Tell the Truth, by artist Robert Shetterly.

Mitchell was a longtime advisor to the American Indian Institute’s Healing the Future Program and currently serves as an advisor to the Indigenous Elders and Medicine People’s Council of North and South America. She is the founding director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the global protection of indigenous rights and the preservation of the indigenous way of life. Mitchell speaks and teaches around the world on issues of indigenous rights, environmental justice and spiritual change. She is featured in the upcoming documentary film “Dancing with the Cannibal Giant” by New Story Film, set to be released in late fall 2017, and her new book “Sacred Instructions; Indigenous Wisdom for Spirit Based Change” will be available in February 2018. Mitchell also has a syndicated radio program with co-host Rivera Sun called Love (and Revolution) Radio, which highlights stories of heart-based activism and revolutionary spiritual change.

Mitchell will talk about the need for developing unity with indigenous rights movements, centering on our shared connection to the Earth and our interdependence with one another and the entire structure of life.

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Sunday, September 24 – 11 a.m., The Common

Jonathan Rosenthal

Jonathan Rosenthal
Executive Director of the New Economy Coalition, and Co-Founder of Equal Exchange

From Local to System and Rural to Urban: Building a New Economy

Jonathan Rosenthal has spent over 30 years working to transform the power of business from a destructive force of accumulation into a healing force honoring the interconnectedness of all people and our earth. He co-founded Equal Exchange, a pioneering fair trade company that is now the second largest worker cooperative in the United States, as well as Oké USA and Belmont-Watertown Local First. He has consulted with people and organizations all across the trade justice movement. He is the author of numerous articles and is a frequent speaker at colleges and events, is a board member of the Coffee Trust and an emeritus board member of Root Capital.

In his current role as Executive Director of the New Economy Coalition, Jonathan stewards a network more than 190 organizations from across the US and Canada who are at the forefront of creating new economies using strategies like cooperatives and public-ownership that give power back to communities -- groups like Cooperation Jackson, People’s Action, Participatory Budgeting Project, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Cooperative Development Institute, and many more.

In his talk, Jonathan will discuss the interconnectedness of our many different struggles for justice. He will highlight solutions that fundamentally transform our economy, culture, and politics, while looking at the connection between local work and systemic transformation.

2017 Fair | Page 1 of 12 | 2016 Fair


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