Three kids, 22 hours in the car, 1 hotel swimming pool, 1 milked goat, 2 moms, 1,674 dreams and one great Fair.
Despite tired kids with swimming on the brain and road trip fatigue, the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup was a dream factory. Yuppie picklers, back to the land pioneers, urban farmers, beginning homesteaders and barefoot recumbant biking hippies melded into one crowd of dreamers at the spacious fair grounds. At first I was overwhelmed by the desire to absorb every bit of information and see it all.
After the initial sensory overload subsided we were all able to enjoy the kids' goat milking class and pretty much every single vendor booth. I felt so excited and empowered. No level of knowledge, or lack of in my case, met with derision. Every teacher, speaker, vendor and visitor seemed poised to encourage and teach. Mentoring and dreaming seemed to be the theme. Encouragement and excitement to learn new things permeated every demographic. Again and again you saw people laughing, engaged in excited conversation, examining products and sharing ideas.
I even ran into someone I met in India last fall. I met his family, also interested in homesteading, and was so happy to know that it is all good people trying to make a difference and live an authentic life in the ice cream line. You just can't beat that feeling!
Bryan Welch's talk about the readership and his commitment to how he lives his life was inspired and thought provoking. The raw dairy sessions were enlightening, informative and inspiring. The gyros were divine! Having lunch with speakers, bloggers and Cheryl Long was a privilege. To be in the same room with so many who's words have inspired me was like coming home. I never felt like an out of place novice. I felt like a fairly well read dreamer on the precipice of great things. I was proud of my crappy soil garden and little flock. I am living this good life and it gets better each day. I felt I had been admitted to a secret society of doers and dreamers and givers and savers of the world. I was surrounded by people directly addressing every issue of import we face, and they grow tomatoes!
The most important moment for me came during the Q&A following the chicken processing session. I have long feared failure and marketing to the strangers I picture as my market. I asked about figuring out your market the first year. Mr. Salatin told me to find my tribe, like minded people to give chickens to my first season. He referenced chiropractors and aroma therapists semi jokingly. I had a flash and realized who my tribe is. Emergency room people, medical people. No one cares more about not ending up sick from what we put in to ourselves, no one sees more evidence of diseases of affluence. I can talk to night shift nurses, I am night shift nurses. there was my lightning bolt. I can build a farm business and I have my market.
After the talk an ER nurse from Longview, Washington introduced himself to me and confirmed my idea. His family started with a small laying flock and now produces eggs, poultry, raw dairy products, and pork. They have a waiting list for products.
I can do this and people want this. That one moment made the entire trip worthwhile. My dream is valid and important. I can affect change in a very real way. I can positively impact every issue I care about. My family can feed ourselves, other families, the planet and what is right. Our homestead will feed people and this planet and put only good back in.
The 12 hours home didn't exactly breeze by, but I felt lighter the entire ride. Thanks Mother Earth News!
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