UNITY, MAINE, Maine — Maine farmers and others interested in rural life and organic farming first gathered to celebrate the harvest in Litchfield in 1977. More than 40 years later, deep into a pandemic but with the help of decades of technology, that gathering begins again Friday, this time live and online.
The 2020 Common Ground Fair opened at 9 a.m. Friday. Programming will run through 6 p.m. daily, followed by music by local artists..
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, which operates the annual gathering — typically at the Unity Fairgrounds — has organized three days of live, online programming including interactive talks, a marketplace of Maine-made products, as well as workshops and demonstrations.
Topics include garlic planting, perennial polyculture design, 'Herbs for Stressful Crazy Times,' community solar farms, seed saving, water bath canning and raising heritage pigs.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, a "Public Policy Teach-In Panel: Climate Change in Maine – The Problem, the Response and What All of Us Can Do" will be led by Hannah Pingree of the Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, Commissioner Amanda Beal of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and Melissa Law of Bumbleroot Farm.
Keynote speakers are scheduled at 11 a.m. each day, including Leah Penniman, author of "Farming While Black: African Diasporic Wisdom for Farming and Food Justice," on Friday; Barbara Damrosch, author of "Power to the People: Drawing Strength from the Pandemic," on Saturday; and Winona LaDuke, author of "Relocalizing and Restoring Traditional Food Varieties: Building a Regional Indigenous and Local Food System," on Sunday.
The daily livestream fair schedule is available HERE.
The 2020 fair book, featuring letters, articles, recipes, a calendar and reviews, is available on the website as well.
Watch the livestream of the fair here.