Mother Earth News Fair WOrkshop

Have you ever attended a Mother Earth News Fair? This sustainability and self-reliance event has been a must-do on my calendar ever since I first learned about it back in 2013, not long after I hit my personal retirement button. My husband and I thought a trip to the Mother Earth News Fair would be a fantastic way to re-energize — just the right thing for two old, would-be hippies who wanted to get back to basics.

Not that the Fair’s attendees are hippies. The folks who fill the workshops and exhibit halls fill a broad spectrum: young, old, rich, modest-of-means, hip, not so hip. They come for different reasons. I’m betting they all leave with new purpose and enthusiasm.

Finding Passion in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Beyond

We headed to the Mother Earth News Fair mothership in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, for what became a great new passion for gardening and preserving our harvest. We had tried our hands at gardening years before, but we needed some remedial education. The Fair turned out to be just what we needed. It was the perfect place to renew our enthusiasm for modern homesteading, too.

I can’t begin to describe how excited we were to discover a Fair was planned for the next spring in nearby Asheville, NC. We crossed our fingers that enough like-minded people would show up to convince organizers to keep it going. We needn’t have worried: Like the initial Pennsylvania Fair, the one in Asheville far exceeded the planners’ expectations. We’ve attended every single one.

Fair venues keep expanding; each year for the last several years, the Fair has added a new location to its offerings. This year, Fairs are happening in Vermont, Oregon, Texas, and Kansas, as well as Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Much more accessible to back-to-the-landers or just plain folks who want to live more intentionally.

A Sample of Lessons Learned at the Fair

Here’s a tiny sampling of what I’ve learned at these events. From great garlic guru Ira Wallace, I learned all about growing garlic. Haven’t had store bought since. Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko reinforced the importance of prioritizing values when you’re striving to achieve…