A little over a year ago, when our desire to create our own homestead started, we got a subscription to Mother Earth News. Every other month, the issue was usually read from cover to cover to see what we could glean from those pages. We also learned about their fairs, although we had only a vague idea of what they had to offer.
Living in Florida, we probably should have gone to the one in North Carolina. However, right about the time of that fair, my dad passed away and the next several months were spent handling his effects.
Around the end of August, we started looking into going to the next Mother Earth News Fair, which was coming up in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania – in the Allegheny Mountains.
We scrambled to work out our accommodations, got our plane tickets and car rental reservation, and waited for the full schedule to be released. The fair in Seven Springs runs from Friday to Sunday, with 13 different seminars available every 90 minutes from start to finish! To say it was overwhelming is a complete understatement.
So Much to See and Do
The hardest part of planning our trip was just figuring out which seminars we wanted to attend! We tried to nail down a few of our “must-sees” before we got on the plane, but the schedule changed before we arrived and we had to make adjustments.
We bought our weekend wrist bands in advance. As a result, we were invited to watch the film Polyfaces on Friday morning before the fair started. That was a great intro to the whole fair experience with an in-depth look at Joel Salatin’s family and farm.
By the time the doors opened at noon on Friday, we were ready! Vendor booths and exhibits filled the convention center and took over the parking lots and grounds behind the main resort building. We had an hour to check those out before the seminars started. The first day, my husband and I went in different directions all day to catch information on woodstoves, building with cob, growing fruit trees, homesteading tools, bees, and chickens.
We were glad to get back to our room that night and soak in a hot tub!
Read more: So You Want to Start Raising Goats?
Two More Days of Amazing Information
On Saturday, we both went to the same seminars, starting with Marjory’s food production presentation. Although there were many excellent speakers at the fair, we are partial to Marjory and she really engaged the audience. We had the opportunity to meet her in person afterwards, and that was an added treat!
The rest of Saturday was spent learning about goats, grazing rotation, gardening with chickens, butchering livestock, and earth plasters. In between, there are lots of things to see and sample at the different booths. It was a full day!
On Sunday, the morning started with Joel Salatin. Such an exceptional speaker! Listening to him is an experience that will touch your heart and really make you think! Some of the mental math he was doing to explain how he gets the most efficient production from his farm was definitely a stretch for some members of the audience. He did a second talk at the end of the day that I was glad I didn’t miss!
Marjory’s second presentation on Sunday was also valuable and as a bonus, I had the opportunity to speak with some people about blogging for The Grow Network.
The only downside to the fair is that you can’t get to every seminar that you’d like to see or take home all the books and products that would sure be great to use. Otherwise, it was a fantastic experience that I know we will do again!
Karen the Newbie Homesteader is a novice gardener, homesteader, and permaculturist. She and her husband recently purchased four acres in central Florida to create their homestead and grow their own food. She will be sharing their adventures: successes, failures, and everything in between – here at The Grow Network.