Lesson 1115 – Reflections on the Mother Earth News Fair

This past weekend I attended the Mother Earth News fair held in Seven Springs, PA. It was an 11+ hour drive down on Friday with an 11+ hour ride back on Sunday, but you know what? It was totally worth it.

If you have never been to one of these events, do consider going. It was my first time and I didn’t know what to expect, I mean I knew there would probably be some vendors and I had seen the flyer and knew that there would be some workshops, but I HAD NO IDEA.

The first thing you realize when you get to the fair is that you can breathe just a little easier. You realize, as you look around and see people wearing jeans, canvas jackets, and cotton that you are among your peeps. These are all people who are interested in what you’re interested in – a healthier and more vibrant life.

A Mother Earth New fair is not a fair so much as it is a cosmic event. Located at the Seven Springs Conference Center it covers area inside the center as well as outside.

IMG_20140913_153320040_HDRHere’s a view from the 10th floor where my room was located of just what was going on outside (and even this doesn’t cover it all as there were many vendors around the corner.) Inside the center, you’ll find conference room after conference room filled with presentation stages and vendors who want to share their expertise with you.

“Don’t worry, I won’t spend any money,” I told Marc before I left. Silly, silly words. I ended up spending a lot just because I wanted to share some of the experiences with my family when I got back home (brown soap for the bathroom and two types of mead for Marc were among just a few of my purchases.)

There was so much to buy (of course, you didn’t have to buy anything, but you’d have to have strong self-will to do that.) From soaps to carved spoons, to fermented foods, herbs, tools, and even farm machinery – if a sustainable-living person couldn’t find it here, then she probably didn’t need it.







And the workshops. Every hour, there were several workshop (which to choose, which to choose) by someone on some aspect of sustainable living. Every time you sat down to listen it was like going to a classroom – the information that was freely handed out by the presenters was priceless. I found myself listening and taking page, after page of notes. There was so much material that I wanted to bring back home with me.


Which brings me to the books. Right in the middle of the conference, there was the “Mother Earth News bookstore.” Pile after pile of books, many written by the presenters (there were opportunities to get them signed) and also by people well-known in their fields. Ed Begley Jr. was there and although I tried not to be a stalker (big St. Elsewhere fan) I did manage to grab a photo when he wasn’t looking. Another big superstar was Joel Salatin and while I didn’t meet him, I did see him when I stopped by the large tent where he was giving a presentation using revival-like style (“And another thing folks, when I was young, I never even heard the phrase “food Allergy” – uh huh, yup, times have changed, they sure have!”)



Everyone, and I mean everyone wanted to share information and experiences. If you didn’t find the answer to your question it’s because you probably didn’t ask it.

I was fortunate, I had been invited to the fair and went to it knowing that I would already know others. (Robin, an editor at MEN took me under her wing and showed me around the fair making sure I was introduced to others.) But if you wanted to meet people, all you had to do was to say “hi” to someone and you had a partner in conversation. Pass by someone reading a book on a topic you were interested in and you’d found a new friend. When someone asked you about something you were holding (like that fabulous mead) you had an opportunity to share what you had just learned.

Robin and Lego Mama Hen

Robin and Lego Mama Hen

It was a gathering of like minds in the truest sense of the word.

Was it a long ride to get there? Absolutely, at times it felt like I’d never stop driving, but because I can’t stop thinking about the things I learned and the experiences I had, you can bet that I’m already planning to go back again next year and if you go, be sure to let me know so I can say “hi.”



Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under Living Tiny in a Big House, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Lesson 1115 – Reflections on the Mother Earth News Fair

  1. Phall0106

    I was there, too! I was also a newbie (although your travel distance outpaced mine, fer sure!). I would agree 100% with every thing you wrote about the MENF. Tons of options, more opportunities and a billion more ideas! The best part was the people–welcoming, friendly, and willing to share a conversation, their ideas, their experiences. The first day I nearly cried a dozen times, just it the unbelievable relief that I’d FOUND MY PEOPLE (folks who has similar beliefs of respecting and conserving our environment as did I!)

    I can’t wait until next year!

  2. Carla

    It was my first time to an even like this too. But what do you think happened in regards to healthy food choices?! I was stunned, and hungry at how few options were available, besides a few samples. I’m gluten and dairy free, so I had to live off of pack able snacks I brought with me. The regular ol’ cafeteria style type foods, made in the lodges kitchens, were not even a viable option for me, and I also avoid GMO’s like the plague! This really could have been an event that food trucks could have shined…

    • Wendy Thomas

      I think that having food trucks there would have been a great idea. I also noticed that there wasn’t that much in food options (if you wanted a meal at the restaurants that was fine (and the food was good) but it was hardly quick and/or low cost.)

      On one day I ended up snacking on maple kettle corn and while yummy, if a healthier option had been there I would have opted for that.

      Next year, I pack snacks and food.

      On Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 2:56 PM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:


    • Phall0106

      Ditto! I planned to cook my breakfast and dinner back at the camp site (which worked out fine), but had planned on getting lunch at the Fair. Boy was I in for a surprise–lunch at the lodge was pricey, and being gluten-free, the options were few! Wish there would have been serious food options.

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