Puyallup Speaker Spotlight: Ann Larkin Hansen

Reader Contribution by Erica Binns
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Get to know Ann Larkin Hansen of Storey Publishing.

What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR?

I’m going to talk about three areas that I wish I’d known about when I started farming: 

On Saturday at 1 p.m. on the Grit Stage, I’ll discuss how to find good land that will fit what you want to do with it and also fit the rest of your life, along with some of the other things you really ought to know about if you’re thinking of moving to the country – from septic systems to fence regulations.

At 3 p.m., same day, same stage, we’ll discuss how to combine the USDA organic farming rules with the resources you have and the (usually limited) time you have to build a beautiful, productive, sustainable organic farm.

On Sunday at 11 a.m., again on the Grit Stage, we’ll talk about how to choose, design and build the fence that’s right for your livestock and land. This will be as detailed as I have time to make it, and if we have some soft dirt available we’re going to build a corner, which is the foundation of a sturdy fence and is so much easier to understand if you can see it.

Lastly, for fun, I’ll be talking with the kids about bugs – how important they are to an organic farm and a sustainable world, how much fun they are to watch, catch, and study, and how to make your own bug net. 

What are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees?

Detailed, practical, and useful information; the kind I needed and so often couldn’t find easily when I started farming.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR?

I love being around people who love the same things I do: living close to the earth, eating good food, and working to make life more sustainable for all of us.

Tell us about your background with your particular topic.

I’m in my 20th year of organic farming, and have also been a professional writer for 25 years. Besides writing free-lance articles on farm and forestry topics for several publications during the course of my career, I spent six years as a regional editor for an agricultural newspaper, which gave me the opportunity to visit several hundred farms and interview the farmers. This was a terrific opportunity to see and compare both conventional and organic farming methods, and discover just how individualized all farming is, adapted to each farmer’s personality, land, markets, and family.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation?

Come and hear some practical, field-tested methods and tips on finding good land, building a farm system, and fencing. I don’t think we can possibly cover everything in the short time available, but if you have more questions, maybe we can talk more afterwards!

What advice do you have for attendees?

Strike up a conversation! When I’m at gatherings of this sort, I’ve found there is always so much to learn from and discuss with the other people there. How often do you get a chance like this to talk about your favorite things all day long?

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose?

My first choice would be a boat, but if you won’t let me have a boat, then I’d ask for a really powerful solar-powered radio broadcasting system, and if you won’t let me have that, then I’d want a really good knife!

Thanks, Ann! We’ll see you at the fair.

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