The 2013 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Wash., last weekend was again a source of great energy and exceptional education, thanks to 15,000 attendees, more than 125 presenters and some 300 sponsors and exhibitors. Major sponsors this year included Bob’s Red Mill, Botanical Interests, Brinsea, CeCe Caldwell’s Paints, Earthineer, Envirolet, Ford, King Arthur Flour, Klean Kanteen, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Mountain Rose Herbs, Nature’s Flavors, Purina, Rub with Love, Shambala Permaculture Farm and Nursery, and Theo Chocolate.
Here's a summary of some of the highlights from Puyallup 2013. (And for those of you who are not able to travel to the FAIRS, watch for our new DVD later this year, featuring a selection of presentations from previous FAIRS.)
EXHIBITORS DEMONSTRATED A WONDERFUL ARRAY OF HOMESTEADING TOOLS.
- A new heavy-duty cider press from Bob Powell, developer of the wonderful Vashon broadfork (www.meadowcreature.com)
- Super-lightweight aluminum three-legged ladders made in Japan by Hasegawa
- An outstanding affordable ($180) cedar cold frame with stainless steel hardware and corrugated polycarbonate glazing (www.cedarcoldframes.com)
- BCS two-wheeled tractors, including a walk-behind sickle-bar mower attachment for small-scale hay making
- The super-efficient Sun Frost refrigerators
Several solar power installers were on hand.
And all of them told me that the costs of solar power have dropped by at least 20 to 30 percent in the last year or so.
EVEN MORE SEED AND NURSERY COMPANIES OFFERED THEIR WARES THIS YEAR.
Fairgoers mobbed Botanical Interests' booth, where they could choose from thousands of seeds at a special price of $1.00 per packet. Other seed companies and organizations exhibiting this year included Shambala Permaculture Farm, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply, Victory Seed Co., Seed Savers Exchange, Raintree Nursery and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
LIVESTOCK PROVED A POPULAR DRAW.
This year's FAIR featured a huge and wonderful Poultry Show organized by the Washington Poultry Exhibitors and sponsored by Purina. Fairgoers also enjoyed Dexter cattle, always-adorable alpacas, assorted sheep and goats, llamas under harness pulling carts, herding dogs, several breeds of pigs, and bees a-buzzin’. Kids attending got to feed the (goat) kids.
ATTENDEES GAVE EXCELLENT FEEDBACK ABOUT WORKSHOPS.
There were more than 240 workshops this year, making it tough to single out high points. But I have to mention the live demonstration of how to butcher chickens hosted by David Schafer and Joel Salatin (you can watch a video of an earlier version of the presentation on the FAIR YouTube channel) and the plethora of natural health information provided on the Mountain Rose Herbs Stage.
The FAIR wrapped up with a rousing standing-room-only presentation, "Don't Be Scared, Be Strange," by farmer/author/activist Joel Salatin. Joel’s insights and energy are always inspiring—a fitting close to two great days of learning, laughing and connecting around living wisely.
If you’re curious to know more about workshops you didn’t attend, or would like to jog your memory about those you did, peruse the full Puyallup program. Also visit the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR site and sign up for the FAIR e-newsletter. You’ll be notified as soon as the schedules for the upcoming FAIRS in Seven Springs, Pa., (Sept. 20-22) and Lawrence, Kan., (Oct. 12-13) are available. The e-newsletters will also keep you abreast of future speakers, special promotions and other news.