The fair is on. The Common Ground is for those who see the world on its head. And in that sense, it might be unfair to call MOFGA's Common Ground Country Fair
The last time we went, we squeezed our pickup between a battered Volkswagen bus and a gleaming Volvo wagon with two childseats. That, in a nutshell, sums up the fair’s demographics, via HN.
Recovering hippies don't ride Ferris wheels – even the homemade, handbuilt kind. The fair is difficult to conceptualize. And, yes, it's a deliberate, ideological fair. The fairness of the vegetable (organic only, please) judging is skewed to favor those following the Righteousness Path on The Way Life Should Be. It's a homogeneous, community rally, a postmodern, post-Big Organic political barbecue of sorts, minus the smoked beef and red snappers and with the addition of prizes for the best – the ugliest – Chiogga beets. Everything is better the Common Ground way; it's both easy and elitist, a classic example of back to the land theology, as Rebecca Kneale Gould
has described in her discussion of the Nearings:
The blend of humility and exceptionalism here, as elsewhere, produces a curious effect. While claiming that "anyone with their perpicacity" can learn to sugar, the Nearings also make an effort to emphasize the ways in which their own approach to the maple sugaring business was unique and more effective.
It's tailor-made for the wealthy and morally-superior and those members of the choir willing to shell out the double-digit dollars ($10, tickets available at Books Etc and WhoFooMa in Portland) just to get in and hear the preaching. Go yogic flying
! Grow your own! Save money! Shell out those Jacksons for Sweet Annie! Corporations is gonna kill you! Eat local, live forever!
And like the organic movement in general, the real problem is that for the privilege of eating donuts made with organic, whole wheat flour (it's Common Ground mandate) – not because that's authentic or tastier or even from local Aroostook County wheat farmers, but because it's Better For You – you'll pay a price. Or if you're feeling like joining the insular ranks, the Common Kitchen, where volunteers eat, is where the real food gets made. Fried shittakes and a bag lunch come highly recommended.
Not that I'll forgo the traffic jam outside Unity (rural traffic jams!) – or the caffeine deprivation (coffee, fair-trade or not, it's all Evil!), I raise my glass of cheap, imported wine to the organic revolutionaires
who need one thing that will be in short supply at the sheep dog demonstrations and around all the instructional tutorials on all things homesteading this weekend: Fun!
Labels: Beet, Donuts, Farm, MOFGA, WhoFooMa