Sustainable Traditions

I’m just looking forward to being there,” he said.
Driving through the evergreen countryside, passing the landmark wagon wheel, I totally agreed; “My thoughts exactly. Just being there.”
Surrounded by like-minded people. People that all gathered not just to learn, but that congregated because we were alike by default. A convention of learning and fellowship.
“It’ll be great just to catch up with everyone from last year…as well as go around and count all the Subarus and look at the Eco-bumpersticksers!”
We’ve been going since 2012, it’s become something of a tradition.
My own Subaru was included in that statement. I’d say that about 57% of people that attend the Mother Earth News fair drive a Subaru. That’s not an exaggeration, or a joke. Breaking down the counting, we have it subdivided into bumper-sticker categories like Coexist, No Farms No Food, Co-op, and my personal favorite, My Honor Student is Self Sufficient.
Each year is a chance to meet new people and catch up with the friends made from the year before. Every Mother Earth News fair is the same, but different. We learn new techniques and skills for self-sufficiency, or we hone our skills on what we learned the year before, all while networking, growing, and taking a break from life to focus on something that feeds your soul and interest.
tomato sauce
Some of the key points we learned last year were how to properly make soap from scratch (not the glycerin pieces you get at the craft store), getting started with an apiary and making honey, properly fermenting sauerkraut and kimchi, making bread at home, making quick cheese (such as ricotta and cottage cheese), and preserving seeds for next year’s harvest.

There were also classes on homesteading and home school, which were immensely helpful for me, as I’m now in my fourth year of homeschooling our two boys.
We’ve taken away quite a bit from the classes and the people we’ve met at the Mother Earth News Fair. We started growing heirloom carrots and planting in pots as we live in the city. My friends started their own apiary and made delicious honey. Together, we baked some fantastic cheddar chive rolls after harvesting string beans.

The list-maker in me loves how the classes are set up. It’s a college-style course list, and you can look at the course title and description and decide which classes are best suited to you, and attend accordingly.
If I were a teacher for one of these classes (as my husband and I have considered putting ourselves out there for this!) I’d definitely suggest that we use EventBrite as a way of tracking who would be attending the course. It also helps with planning out all the classes you want to attend; ensuring that you don’t try to sign up for two classes that may be running at the same time. This can easily help you map out your day.
Not only would EventBrite give the teacher a better idea of who was attending and how many people they would have to work with that particular day and time slot, but it would also offer a way for people in the class to network with each other. Meeting other people in the class and networking with them on social media is a great way to continue your learning and friendships throughout the year until the next convention!
A few important things I make sure I pack are:
* my camera (because Seven Springs is incredibly scenic in September!)
* a notebook with plenty of fresh pages
* several pens with caps (because pens will burst and you need to protect your stuff!)
* business cards with my email and social media on them
* a hard copy of the classes offered
* an open mind and lots of coffee
I feel that’s the most important part of attending any convention–not just to learn, but to network and make friends.


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