struggling with a chronic illness is no joke when it comes to planning outings, but i am SO excited that i was able to get myself to the mother earth news fair this year! literally up until 5 minutes before i left, i still wasn’t sure if i’d be able to go or not, but i kept thinking that i would just continue to plan and prepare in case i could go- no pressure that way, and no expectations and even if i was driving there i allowed for the possibility that i may have to turn around and go home, or leave early. but i figured it was worth the gamble, and it paid off. BIG TIME!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i kind of expected the venue to be like concert venues from my teen years- overcrowded and stressful in every way. so i was more than pleasantly surprised to get there and 1- not have to sit on the off-ramp waiting in traffic to exit the freeway forever; 2- find plenty of available parking really close to the entrance (which i assumed was the wrong entrance, because it was so close and easy to get to. but it wasn’t!); 3- find out that the parking, which they totally could have charged for and made money off of, was free!; 4- find that everyone from the employees to fellow attendees was helpful and calm. rather than that too-rushed-to-deal-with-you attitude i was bracing against, these people seemed to have all the time in the world to help me and everyone else with whatever questions came up. what a breath of fresh air!; 5- find that instead of a giant hard-to-navigate mini-city, this fair was set in more of a quaint small town. they had plenty of speakers and vendors, all with their individual spaces and areas, and while nothing felt crowded or squashed, there was a feeling of being at an intimate gathering among friends that i’m amazed they could pull off.

but they did it, and it was awesome!

i think their next fair is in september in pennsylvania, and if you can go, you really really should!

so…the first the i did…the thing i have literally waited months to do… was to hear joel salatin speak. whoa. i was, like, giddy with anticipation, and i guess this is how a brit must feel before they are in the presence of royalty. if i was considerably younger and sillier, i might have bought a t-shirt and asked him to sign it. no joke😉

his speech was amazing, of course🙂 he was SO right on target about SO many things, and it got me very very energized! i saw a comment a while back that someone put on the facebook page for oak park hates veggies- that we had gotten so big we had lost our mission. it was said in a nice and polite way- not meant to attack or provoke confrontation, but meant to let people know that this other site was continuing the fight for the rights of people to garden or farm or something similar. it made me really sad then, and it still does now, and in fact i wrote to joel salatin and to roger dorion (two really important people in food movements) and asked them some questions to help me get back on track and get some direction about what i could/should/might do to better help in food politics. (i prefer to think of it as optimistic rather than arrogant that i wrote to them…) so i have had this nagging feeling for a while of just being off track, but not having a clear sense of how to get back to where i should be. and listening to joel salatin put things back into a framework of how things should be. just like that. i would seriously listen to him for hours a day if i could. he’s the kind of guy you sell your belongings and go apprentice yourself to (if you’re 18 years old and single), or buy all the books he’s ever written and then pseudo-force (meaning gently coerce) your friends into reading them. and if you don’t know who he is, yes- he’s that good!

i also heard a woman named pat foreman- the chicken whisperer. http://www.amazon.com/City-Chicks-Micro-flocks-Bio-reyclers-Producers/dp/0962464856 she was SO funny, and SO gracious, and i loved listening to her! you had to know i’d go to a lecture on chux, right? i was sad that her accomplice, oprah henfrey (i wish i’d thought of that name!) had to leave before we got there, but pat combined great info with funny stories. she was a pleasure to listen to, and the time went by too quickly. now i just have to order her book🙂

i heard some other speakers- also really good- and saw some vendors of cool stuff which i didn’t investigate too closely, lest i buy. also, i wanted to maximize my chance to be around speakers who i wouldn’t normally have a chance to hear, and i figured i could shop anytime (i subscribe to mother earth news, and many of the vendors advertise in the magazine, so i also reasoned i could see their ads there…).

i very uncharacteristically did NOT buy myself 2 alpacas, in spite of them being super cute, and in spite of my wedding anniversary coming up and alpacas being a rather perfect gift. the first time i walked into the tent (to look for a speaker) where the alpacas were, i just turned around and walked straight back out- because i know that i can’t be trusted around adorable farm animals. but i reasoned that they were really there for display (they were shearing animals and selling yarn and such) so since i knew they weren’t for sale, i figured i was safe. wrong🙂 i went back later on just to look and possibly pet them (no dice on that front, but at least they didn’t spit at me), and one of the folks there was actually a breeder with a set of boys FOR SALE right there at the show, and he would even deliver them…

oh dear…

time for another big girl pill.

luckily i was still heady enough from hearing joel salatin to feel like if i was going to get livestock, they better produce something we could use. which pretty much means a dairy cow. which we are almost definitely not getting. so that solved that little conundrum.

phew.

and, because i’m actually starting to learn about boundaries once in a while, i actually left before i was completely shattered.

and i made it home in time to feed the chickens and whisper sweet nothings to them before bed.

i’m so jazzed that i got to go, and so grateful to my family for sparing me for the day.

especially *h, who constantly amazes me by how willing he is to go to heroic lengths to help me be the best i can be.

all in all, a most wonderful day🙂

thanks for sharing it!