The Mother Earth News Fair is coming up shortly in October. October 19th and 20th in Topeka for the Kansas event. Miss Mercy and the Mad Farmer have been attending the Fair every year since they started having one in Topeka.
The Kansas Mother Earth News Fair used to be held in Lawrence, KS – home of the University of Kansas, the KU Jayhawks (amazing basketball team if you like that kind of sportsball), the Free State Brewery (Because without beer, things do not seem to go as well) . Some people are not aware of this but Ogden Publishing, that puts out Mother Earth News, Grit, Capper’s Farmer and many other publications, is based in Topeka, KS. When Ogden decided to start having a Mother News Fair in their hometown the Mad Farmer was happy to attend, to see what all the fuss was about. Miss Mercy was probably either mildly curious or just humoring the Farmer and decided to tag along.
Last year’s Mother Earth News Fair had a lot speakers that we were interested in seeing. To be fair (see what I did there) there usually are a lot of interesting things to hear about from a lot of interesting people. One of last year’s keynote speakers was Jessi Bloom. Jessi has written several books on Permaculture and homestead living, her first was Free Range Chicken Gardens, followed by Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, and her most recent book was released just before last year’s fair, Creating Sanctuary. I was able to attend three of her seminars last year and they always have some information that I wasn’t aware of.
Last year I also attended a talk by Tradd Cotter, author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, which is considered one of the best books on mushroom farming currently available (of course I picked up a signed copy)! Super interesting – you should give it a read.
This year looks like it’s going to be more fantastic talks from excellent people! Rob Avis and his wife Michelle, own Verge Permaculture, a Permaculture consulting firm based in Canada. I first started following Rob on Diego Footer’s Permaculture Voices podcast. The Farmer can’t wait to attend his talks and hopefully his workshops. Rob and Michelle have recently published a book on rainwater harvesting, Essential Rainwater Harvesting. The Mad Farmer is pretty sure that he will end up having an autographed copy of that book by the end of the Fair.
Another speaker that will be at the Kansas fair is Gary Collins, the author of “The Simple Life” book series. Gary has been a member of Jack Spirko’s expert council, answering questions on health and living right. It’s kind of strange because after listening to so many podcasts and reading an author’s books you kind of feel like you know them. The Farmer can’t really begin to fathom what that it might be like to have thousands, even tens of thousands or more people, all feeling like they know you, taking your journey through life with you, as spectators or peripheral participants. Amazing that these extraordinary people take it in stride and are still able to be “normal” people..
And a fan favorite, Uncle Mud, will also be there. The Mad Farmer had the great pleasure of getting to know Uncle Mud in Montana at Wheaton Labs during the Rocket Mass Oven Kickstarter Pizza Party. Since the Farmer was driving by Missoula on the way to the Labs he was asked if he would mind picking up “Uncle Mud” from the airport. The Farmer went to the airport and actually got to text Uncle Mud “I’m here to pick you up and I’m standing by the bear” (the Missoula has a stuffed grizzly bear in the lobby area – it’s awesome)! Once Uncle Mud debarked from the plane we had a super conversation and then the Farmer got to spend several days at Wheaton Labs with Uncle Mud, Donkey Mobert and the Duke of Permaculture, Paul Wheaton, himself.
When the Mad Farmer returned from Montana, Miss Mercy greeted him, welcomed him home and and then, a few days later, Miss Mercy and the Farmer went to the Mother Earth’s News Fair that year, and attended several of Uncle Mud’s seminars and later got to go out to dinner with him and his family that was attending. Just a really good time with people the Farmer really admires. Can’t wait to see Uncle Mud again.
The one vendor we really hope comes back this year is a small company, Rogue Hoe, originally from western Kansas (the company has since moved to Missouri) that melts down old tools and re-casts the iron into new tools. We purchased a scuffle hoe the first year we saw them there and sadly they haven’t been back yet, we hope they make it this year.
One last thing. If you sign up for the Mother Earth News Fair newsletter, you can get your weekend pass wristbands for just $10.00 each. That is a deal that’s hard to beat. Hope to see you all there!