Volunteer for the 2000 Common Ground Country Fair
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I'm interested in volunteering at MOFGA's Common Ground. Please send more information.
skills / interests:
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), PO Box 170, Unity, ME 04988, Phone: 207-568-4142, Fax: 207-568-4141, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Share your skills or learn something new as a volunteer at the 2000 Common Ground Country Fair. We need hundreds of volunteers for our annual celebration of rural living. The Fair dates are September 22, 23 & 24. MOFGA also seeks volunteers for set-up (September 16 - 21), and clean-up, September 25 - October 8. For each four-hour shift, volunteers earn free admission to the Fair and a volunteer T-shirt. Additional shifts earn additional benefits.
Volunteers are the core of the unique community atmosphere at the Common Ground Country Fair. What do they do? Everything. A short list includes: organize events year round, write advance articles, paint signs, mark out booth spaces, build shelves, prepare meals, paint kids’ faces, move and distribute equipment and supplies, put up fences and shelving, make costumes for kids to wear in the Garden Parade, help kids dress up for the Garden Parade, collect and sort trash, announce events, park cars, give information, coordinate other volunteers, staff the exhibition hall, dismantle the entire Fair and pack everything up for next year -- in short, just about anything and everything necessary to make the Common Ground Country Fair happen.
To receive a volunteer registration form, send your name and address to Common Ground Country Fair Volunteers, PO Box 170, Unity, ME 04988. Or call 207-568-4142. Or email email@example.com
Calling All Shopfronts
Would you like to help us publicize this year's Common Ground Country Fair? We will begin distributing posters for the 2000 Fair soon, and we need names and locations of good public viewing locales. If you have any suggestions, or if you would like to help us deliver posters, give us a call at 568-4142. Thanks!
Calling All Maine Artists
The Fair artwork contest for the 2001 Fair will begin in June 2000. If you would like to submit artwork for the contest, please contact the Fair office for a registration form and contest guidelines. The address is PO Box 170, Unity, Maine. Phone: 207-568-4142. Email: .firstname.lastname@example.org. The selected artwork will be featured on the 2001 Fair poster, T-Shirt, and promotional literature. Newspaper articles and press releases will focus on the artist and the artwork. The winning artist will receive $1,000.00.
The contest is open to Maine residents and MOFGA members (regardless of residence) only. Artists may submit two entries. All entries must arrive in the MOFGA office by 4 p.m. on August 10, 2000. Selection will be made by September 1, 2000. MOFGA will retain full rights to the design.
This year's poster will be on sale at the Fair for $11.00. If Kirsten Moorhead’s geese poster doesn't sell out, it will become a collector's item and the price will go up to $15.00.
Agricultural Demonstrations and Workshops Being Planned For 2000 Fair
MOFGA's new home in Unity holds unlimited potential for the Agricultural Demonstration Program of the Common Ground Country Fair. Last year, we were able to host hands-on workshops and demonstrations that really made a positive impact on the site itself. Some of the big accomplishments included field and cover crop maintenance, woodlot improvements, compost turning, and using soil amendments in field plots and orchards. We also had our traditional presentations in the Agricultural Demonstration tents. If you have an idea for an demonstration or talk, please contact the Fair office with a suggestion, request, or offer to coordinate a presentation. We are now developing the program for this year, and we really would like to hear from you. Please contact us soon so that we can list your presentation in this year's Fairbook.
School Groups Wanted to Help With Fair Clean-up
When the Fair is over and most people have gone home, a great deal of work remains to be done. Volunteers for clean-up are very special folks whom we hold in extra-high esteem. For the past couple of years, school groups have attended the Fair free during the weekend and returned after the Fair to help with some of the major clean-up projects. If you are a teacher or student and would like to pitch in, please let us know. We will provide a meal and a volunteer t-shirt for each student on the day of his or her volunteer shift. Volunteering for clean-up allows students plenty of time to explore the Fair during the weekend. We appreciate any help you can give. Please contact Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), PO Box 170, Unity, ME 04988, Phone: 207-568-4142, Fax: 207-568-4141, Email: email@example.com.
Help and Have Fun at Common Ground This Summer
Ahh, do you remember that delicious supper around a spontaneous campfire in the Summer of 1999? Some of the best company and food to be found... If you weren't one of the fortunate volunteers there for that, you'll have another chance this year.
Yes, it's time once again to work on projects at MOFGA's Common Ground--and we need you to make it happen. Not only is it a good time, but a LOT of work gets done as well. This year we're trying to be more organized so that a schedule is in place. (If it turns out that none of the scheduled times work for you, just call and we'll work something out). Every Wednesday from May 17 through October 25, volunteers will be getting together to tackle projects from about 4:00 - 8:00. Come at any time, any Wednesday you can, and join in. Starting on May 13 &14 and going through August 12 &13, larger scale projects will be tackled each second weekend of the month. Come when you can and leave when you must.
We're looking for volunteers at all ability levels. If you feel "skillfully challenged" there are sous chef positions in the kitchen, and we're trying to find out if volunteers are needed to provide child care for families who couldn't otherwise participate. Projects will include a lot of carpentry of all skill levels, landscaping and grounds work (including a Plant a Row for the Hungry Garden), cleaning, painting, making costumes for the Garden Parade and some electrical/mechanical work. We also need coordinators to organize various projects.
Weekend volunteers can come for a few hours, a day, or pitch a tent on one of our primitive but picturesque tent sites and stay the weekend. After a day of hard work, we'll kick back in the evening -- bring musical instruments and other entertainment. Snacks, lunch and supper will be provided on weekends. To help in meal planning, please let us know the week before that you plan to volunteer for a specific weekend. If you're interested in child care, please talk with Susan.
If you would like to volunteer but these times don't fit your schedule, call the MOFGA office to chat with Susan or Rick about other options. There will always be a place for you.
Exhibition Hall RulesThe Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) sponsors the Common Ground Country Fair, which encourages agriculturally-based rural communities. The Exhibition Hall at the Fair maintains one of the original intents of agricultural fairs: to improve local farming by bringing farmers together to compare the outcome of their farming practices. Traditionally, exhibition halls served as a post-harvest forum where farmers could teach and learn from each other about their successes and failures. MOFGA and the Common Ground Country Fair host an exhibition hall for this very purpose. Maine residents can compete in many different contests in the Exhibition Hall. The contests include: great pumpkin; biggest squash; great zucchini; biggest cabbage; biggest beet; giant cuke; the whatever contest for vegetable oddities; organic farm exhibits; MOFGA chapter exhibits; other fruit and vegetable exhibits; canned foods; dried foods; baked goods; honey; eggs; herbs and houseplants. Also appearing in the Common Ground Exhibition Hall is the work of amateur artists and craftspeople. Some of the arts and crafts on display in the Exhibition Hall each year include: afghans; bedspreads; quilts; clothing; sweaters; rugs; wall hangings; basketry; candles; dried flower arrangements; handmade soaps; pottery; photographs; paintings; woodcuts; and silkscreens. Schoolchildren can take part in the Children’s Apple Pie Contest, and all Mainers can participate in the Natural Dessert Competition.
EligibilityCompetition in the Exhibition Hall is open to all organic growers in Maine. Entrants need not be certified organic growers, but must follow these practices:
General Rules for Submitting EntriesAll articles are to be entered in the owner’s name and registered at the Exhibition Hall with the volunteers who will be there to assist you. If you are planning to exhibit more than 10 articles, preregistration materials can be obtained by mail by contacting Martha Gottlieb by Sept. 10 at 93 Head Tide Rd., Whitefield, ME 04353; 549-5198. Unless otherwise noted in the preceding text, all entries must be in place in the Exhibition Hall before 9 a.m. Friday. If there is a problem meeting the deadline, we may be able to accommodate you if you call us early!
Judging Criteria for Vegetables and Fruits, Canned and Dried Foods, and HerbsThe criteria for judging at the Common Ground Country Fair include the suitability of the entry for its intended use -- table or storage. Uniformity is an important criterion for carrots or beans, but less so for some peppers. For instance, a collection can demonstrate the color changes typical to the variety. Size can be an advantage, up to a point, but it may be difficult to judge in some of the rare heirlooms. Heirloom fruits and vegetables are especially valued, since they help maintain the genetic diversity so important to food crops. Entries in the vegetable, fruit, canned and dried foods, and herbs categories are judged by how well they measure up to the ideal standard for their type. If any item is judged to be excellent, it is awarded a blue ribbon. More than one entry in a category can receive a blue ribbon, as items are not judged against each other. Gift Certificates are awarded to the 1st Prize (Blue Ribbon) entries in all edible categories. Blue ribbon winners may redeem their gift certificates at the following Maine seed companies:
Special Exhibition Hall Categories
Prepared Food Competitions
Organic Farm ExhibitsConsisting of a display of produce, products, and materials descriptive of a single organic farm. Each display is judged on how well it presents a complete picture of the operation and avocations of the farm and its people. A prize of $100 for a full booth or $50 for a half booth will be given to first prize winners. Please reserve space by September 10. Display must be set up by 9 a.m. Friday.
MOFGA Chapter ExhibitsConsisting of a collection of entries from chapter members or a unified display depicting chapter life and events. Judged on how well the display represents the people, area and programs of the MOFGA Chapter. A prize of $100 for a full booth or $50 for a half booth display will be given to first prize winners. Please reserve space by September 10. Display must be set up by 9 a.m. Friday.
Fruits and VegetablesVegetables and fruits may be rinsed or brushed, but should not be scrubbed, peeled, waxed or otherwise changed from their natural state. If grown from commercial seed, specify variety. If grown from saved heirloom seed, please indicate. Vegetables should be presented for judging in appropriate condition. Green beans, for instance, should be young and smooth; onions should be ripened off, with their skins intact for long storage; carrots and turnips, etc., should have about 1/2 inch of tops left on, as if ready for storage. Tomatoes should be ripe, blemish free or with naturally sealed cracks, and presented neatly with stems all on or stems all off. Please provide your own white paper plates, small plates, or bowls, depending on the size of your entry. Please be sure to bring the correct number of articles for each exhibit.
FruitsSpecify if heirloom variety. All fruits should be named varieties. Sample of five unless otherwise stated.
NutsMust be cultivated by exhibitor, not wild-gathered. 1-quart sample.
GrainsOne small sheaf, consisting of 15-20 heads per sample unless otherwise specified.
Home Canned FoodsAwards based on appearance and use of good canning practices. Judges will not taste canned food. Canned goods must be displayed in commercially sold canning jars with metal lids, and safe and proper canning methods must be used. Please feel free to transport canned goods, for safety, with rings, but rings must be removed for display. All items must be canned by exhibitor.
Home Dried Foods and Culinary HerbsThis category has a lot going for it. Nothing but solar energy is needed for drying, and no energy is needed for storage. Vitamins and minerals are maintained very well. Dried foods and herbs are judged both by their appearance and their suitability for long storage. Crop maturity and degree of dryness, color, aroma, texture and taste are all indicators of quality. The label must state contents and date. Clear glass jars, 1/2 pint or larger. Herbs may be presented in storage jars or jars designed for counter-top use.
Homemade Beverages, Vinegars and SyrupsClear glass jars,1 pint or larger. (Cider: 1 quart jar)
Home Baked GoodsJudges will taste all home baked goods. Competitors must use ingredients that comply with the Common Ground Country Fair food guidelines (see above). No commercial bakeries or chefs. Leavening agents must be specified. We suggest you submit a copy of the recipe to be displayed with your items.
EggsAll eggs must be washed and cleaned. Eggs will be candled. Indicate variety of hen, duck, turkey, etc, if possible!
Honey & Beeswax Products
HouseplantsEntries should have been under the care of the exhibitor for at least six months. Entries will be checked daily and watered if necessary.
Arts and CraftsAmateurs only, please. Items will not be offered for sale, but we will give your name and address to individuals wishing to place an order with you or wanting to ask about patterns, techniques, etc. We define an amateur as a person who does not make a substantial portion of his or her living selling the art or craft he or she has entered.
Needlework and Fancy WorkNo kits please. Judging preference given to articles made with natural materials. Please specify if the design is original or not.
CraftsAmateurs only please. No kits please. Specify if the design is original or not. All pictures must be suitably framed and ready to hang on a pegboard hook.
For more information about the Exhibition Hall at the Common Ground Country Fair, contact Martha Gottlieb at 93 Headtide Road., Whitefield, ME 04353. Phone: 549-5198.