There are four more Mother Earth News Fairs coming up this year: Frederick, MD (June 2-3), Albany, OR (Aug. 4-5), Seven Springs, PA (Sept. 14-16), and Topeka, KS (Oct. 13-14). Potential fair-goers will have a challenge deciding between workshops. I certainly did when I attended the Asheville event in April.

With over 100 workshops to choose from and only nine workshop slots over the course of the two-day Mother Earth News Fair, a sustainable living devotee can get frustrated. When I printed out a copy of the schedule and began highlighting the workshops I wanted to attend, I saw that I needed to clone myself. My biggest conundrum was whether to attend new-to-me workshops or revisit some of my favorite speakers and topics. As usual, I did a little of both.

The Old

After seeing Niki Jabbour extol the virtues of year-round vegetable gardening several years ago, I’ve kept my fingers crossed every year that I’d see her name on the agenda again. My wish came true this year, so you can bet I attended both her workshops. I wasn’t disappointed. Niki always inspires me to try new vegetables in the garden. Chickpeas are next on my list. 

Niki Jabbour gardening

Niki Jabbour shares her favorite varieties of vegetables, many of them unusual and intriguing. Photo by Carole Coates

Likewise, I was delighted to listen again to Shawna Coronado (secret gardening hacks—lots of tips on being good to your back in the garden), Jessi Bloom (using permaculture techniques to increase garden resiliency—she makes it understandable and doable), and Alan Muskat (wild food for free—what could be better). There’s always something new to be learned and it never hurts to be reminded of something you learned before and maybe lost sight of in the day to day. 

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