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Mother Earth News Fair
Our FAIRS bring living wisely to life with hands-on workshops in organic gardening, country skills, renewable energy and more.

5 Questions for Gianaclis Caldwell

Gianaclis Caldwell

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

A must, or a must see? A must see is Crater Lake National Park.

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

GEA Top flow milk inflations.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Interacting with animals.

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

Rainfall after a dry spell.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Do no harm.


Gianaclis Caldwell is the author of four books on cheesemaking and small dairying, including the award-winning Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking. Along with her husband, she milks goats and makes cheese at Pholia Farm Creamery in the south of Oregon. For more on Gianaclis check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

Vermont Welcomes MOTHER EARTH NEWS!

FAIR bookstore

For years I’ve read MOTHER EARTH NEWS and glanced with interest at the schedule of FAIRS – from Topeka to Texas – and sadly decided that none of the FAIRS were in a reasonable driving distance for this New Englander with kids and a full-time job.  Imagine my surprise to see an announcement that MOTHER EARTH NEWS was coming to Vermont!  I quickly arranged for a babysitter, secured our tickets, and downloaded the schedule to make a plan of action. 

My husband and I had 3 hours to spend at the FAIR, so we decided on a “divide and conquer” approach with a meeting place at the food (because you always need food).  We noted the vendors we’d like to check out and set out to glean as much knowledge as we could in our limited visit.

As part-time homesteaders, we are focused on raising vegetables and fruit and have not yet ventured into livestock so we honed in on gardening and propagation workshops and were not disappointed with the results.  We realized when we arrived that we had forgotten to bring notebooks, so I filled my event program with margin notes and my husband was impressed with himself for discovering the notetaking app on his phone (why didn’t I think of that?). 

Here is a small taste of the takeaways we gleaned in just a few short hours at the FAIR:

1. Some elderberry plants will fully regrow one season after another even if you cut them down to the ground in the winter, and certain varieties are easier when it comes to bird control because the berries flop down instead of growing up like an umbrella.  Thank you to Terry Durham of River Hills Harvest for the great workshop on Growing Elderberry for Heath and Harvest – and for our two Ranch Elderberry plants that went immediately into our collection!
2. Rabbits do not like the smell of Spicy Globe Basil.  You can plant it as a border around your garden to encourage them to go elsewhere for tasty nibbles.  Thanks to Shawna Coronado for her illuminating talk on Secret Organic Gardening Hacks that will Blow Your Mind!  Having already lost a whole bunch of little bean plants, were happy to see this basil variety available at the gardening center we went to later that day!
3. You don’t have to swing an ax around kids, or risk hitting your shin instead of the small log you’re trying to split into kindling.  Don’t tell my husband, but he’s getting a Smart Splitter for Father’s Day!
4. The Vermont Evaporator Company is taking orders for its fall supply of The Sapling – a nicely made family-friendly backyard evaporator that can also double as – wait for it – a grill, and now a smoker!  We haven’t started boiling at our house yet, but when they showed my husband the grill and started talking about the set up for smoking I could feel him starting to think, “You know, maybe it is about time we start tapping that sugarbush.

I could go on and on about the lessons learned – from fertilizer options to home health to winter hardy vegetables, buthere’s the real takeaway: there are so many people out there working to live sustainably and to help others to do so.  So much so that they’re offering their knowledge, services, and products at fair (or free) prices to others in the homesteading and farming community just so that we can all benefit from each other’s discoveries.  I have never been more convinced that “it takes a village” to live sustainably and that we all benefit from being a part of this extended MOTHER EARTH NEWS community.

See you at the FAIR!


Carrie Williams Howe is the Executive Director of an educational nonprofit by day, and parent and aspiring homesteader by night and on weekends. She lives in Williston, Vermont, with her husband, two young children, and a rambunctious border collie. Carrie has a PhD in educational leadership and is passionate about being an authentic, participatory leader in various settings. She is a contributing editor at Parent Co Magazine. Connect with Carrie on The Happy Hive Facebook page. Read all of Carrie’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

5 Questions for Josh Volk

Josh Volk

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Love.

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

I worked with Splendid Cycles for a few years. They sell cargo bikes and helped me get set up to deliver by cargo bike. Probably one of the all around best businesses I've ever worked with.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Seeing people generously sharing.

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

Fresh baked bread.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Go out and find experts to learn from.


Josh Volk is the author of Compact Farms. He is the proprietor of Slow Hand Farm in Portland, Oregon, and has been working on and managing small farms around the country for the last 20 years, studying the systems that make them efficient. He travels in the United States and abroad, consulting with farmers and researchers, teaching farm apprentices and new farmers, presenting workshops at agricultural conferences, and writing articles for publications, including Growing for Market magazine. For more on Josh check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

5 Questions for Kirsten K. Shockey

Kirsten K Shockey

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Narrowing it down to one, that's tricky, there are so many levels and its all a tangle of interconnectedness. Clean water and clean air.  I would have to say this lies somewhere in sustainable, clean food systems—that don't degrade the environment, that operates locally to feed every increasing population, that harvest and distrubute in ways that reduce and eliminate food waste, and in ways that nourish the body and microbiome and don't bring about obsesity. I know that is a lot. It is going to take radical shifts in thinking in not only how and what we produce but how we eat. (And fermentation is in there somewhere...)

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

This question has had me stumped and has kept me from pushing submit for hours and then I looked accross the room at our masonry stove—Tuli Kivi—6500 pounds of soapstone keep us warm with soothing radiant heat with very little fire wood.

What brings you the greatest joy?

My family! (Oh, and a yard full of blooming flowers.)

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

One I will never smell again, but I would know it in a heartbeat—my grandmother's house.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Enjoy the messy, tiring moments of being a mother while your children are growing up, while each day is long the whole of the journey is just a blink. I found this to be profoundly true.


Kirsten K. Shockey got started in fermenting foods with a farmstead food company, creating more than 40 varieties of cultured vegetables and krauts. Her current focus is on teaching the art of fermenting vegetables to others through classes and workshops. She blogs at www.Fermentista.us and lives on a 40-acre hillside homestead in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon.For more on Kirsten check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

5 Questions for Shawna Coronado

Shawna

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Without a doubt the one thing that's "a must" in this world is having relationships with our friends and family. Connecting with human beings is known to extend our lives and fill our soul with happiness. Sharing and caring with our loved ones is what life is all about.

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

Organic Mechanics Soil - it is an amazing soil filled with worm castings and one of my favorite things to add to my garden.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Food and family combined. I love spending time with my family over a good meal.

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

Rose. It brings back memories of my grandmother.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

When I first began creating videos I struggled to have the videos look "perfect" every time. Then a social media expert I knew told me that I needed to "get over myself" and just get out there and do it no matter if I had messed up hair or clutter in the images. This advice applied to all aspects of my writing, photography, and media business, so I've jumped in and taken his advice to heart. Get over yourself and just enjoy the activity, job, or fun that you're having in order to enjoy life more.


Shawna Coronado is an author, columnist, blogger, photographer, media host, and brand ambassador in the realms of green lifestyle living, organic gardening, and low-cost cuisine who campaigns for social good. She is also an on-camera spokesperson and social media personality with more than 375,000 followers on her various social media venues and she maintains a YouTube channel with more than a million views. In 2015 she co-hosted the radio show “The Good Green Home Show” and appeared bi-weekly at her home garden as the FOX News Chicago “Gardening with Good Day” organic gardening expert. Coronado’s garden and eco-adventures have been featured in many media venues, including PBS television. Along with her green lifestyle initiatives, Coronado is concerned about promoting and teaching healthy living. She was diagnosed with severe spinal osteoarthritis, news that led her to change her lifestyle, lose weight, and consume a mostly anti-inflammatory diet. She educates audiences about beneficial diet, food, and health practices through her organic living media. She dreams that this will enable more people who suffer from similar conditions to be active. Her successful organic living photographs and stories have been shown both online and off in many international home and garden magazines and multiple books. For more on Shawna check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

5 Questions for Barbara Pleasant

Barbara Pleasant

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Good knives. You can make anything, from breakfast to a house, if you have good knives.

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

In the old purchase category, it's my long-handled Cobrahead weeder, which is the most often used tool in my garden. Among recent purchases, last summer I bought a small Karcher power washer. It is great fun to use and we keep finding new jobs for it, like the annual cleaning of the chicken coop.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Morning light. I'm always up at dawn so I don't miss it.

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

Hickory barbecue. Even during times in my life when I was a vegetarian, the smell of slow-smoked hickory barbecue made my day.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

When something feels too complicated, there is always a way to make it simpler.


Barbara Pleasant has practiced organic vegetable gardening for 30 years in gardens large and small. The author of numerous books (including Homegrown Pantry, Starter Vegetable Gardens, and The Complete Compost Gardening Guide) Pleasant earned a Silver Award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association for writing the popular Gardening Know-How column in MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Pleasant lives in Floyd, Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers, and where she keeps a small flock of chickens..For more on Barbara check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!

5 Questions for Deborah Niemann

Deborah Niemann

What's the one thing that's a must in this world?

Eating real food (not the foodlike substances sold by big corporations.)

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

Premier1 ElectroNet fencing.

What brings you the greatest joy?

Having babies born on the homestead (just had two litters of piglets and triplet goat kids born today!)

What's your favorite smell in the whole world?

Food cooking with garlic in it.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Never say never.


Deborah Niemann is a homesteader, writer, and self-sufficiency expert. In 2002, she moved her family from the Chicago suburbs to a 32-acre parcel on a creek in the middle of nowhere. Together, they built their own home and began growing the majority of their own food. Sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, and turkeys supply meat, eggs, and dairy products, while a garden and fruit trees provide produce. Niemann presents workshops across the United States and in Canada. She is the author of Homegrown and Handmade, Ecothrifty, and Raising Goats Naturally.For more on Deborah check out MotherEarthNewsFair.com!