UNITY, Maine — With a total of 67,848 fairgoers, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) 2022 Common Ground Country Fair was a record-breaking event (the previous record was 65,098 in 2015). Fairgoers poured in from around the Northeast and beyond to enjoy live music, organic food, Maine artisan crafts and a variety of educational opportunities, with over 500 presentations.
“We were so excited to be back in person this year, and the feedback from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive. People were excited to reconnect, learn new things, eat delicious organic food from our fair vendors, and support our farmers, exhibitors and artisans,” said Sarah Alexander, MOFGA’s executive director.
The number of fairgoers wasn’t the only record broken; this year’s fair sold out of all items with the 2022 fair design. Lines snaked out of the Country Store tent, as thousands of people waited patiently to purchase shirts, bags, posters and cards with the coveted raven and blackberries design. MOFGA is working to order a reprint of a small selection of t-shirts, which will be made available in MOFGA’s online store (https://store.mofga.org/) and at The Maine Organic Marketplace (https://www.mofga.org/our-
“The raven and blackberries design by Morgan Cameron was an enormous hit this year; we were completely sold out by Sunday morning of the Fair,” said Lucy Cayard, MOFGA store manager. “We are already working with Liberty Graphics to organize a reprint of the adult short-sleeve t-shirts. A huge thank you to all the staff, planning team and volunteers who made the Country Store a roaring success!”
No records could be broken without the thousands of hours donated by volunteers to make the Fair possible. This year, a third record was broken, with over 2,000 volunteers donating 20,000 hours of their time, an economic value of $490,000. Volunteers worked across the fairgrounds, filling 3,500 shifts from compost and recycling to The Common Kitchen to the children’s area.
“I’m blown away by the magnitude of time, effort and love that volunteers devote to this Fair,” said Community Engagement Coordinator Caitlyn Barker. “Hours and hours of work by thousands of volunteers had a direct impact on the success of the Fair. We quite literally would not have been able to hold this event without them and I’m so honored to work alongside this exceptional community of volunteers.”
“Volunteering was a highlight of my Common Ground experience and I plan to be back to volunteer every year. I immediately felt like I had community there among the thousands of strangers,” said Alex Chase, compost and recycling team volunteer. “Even sorting was fun, elbow deep in compost and recycling. Everyone had such positive attitudes.”
While fairgrounds clean up is still underway, the Fair planning team has already begun planning for the 2023 Fair. Learn more about the Fair here: https://www.mofga.org/the-
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), formed in 1971, is the oldest and largest state organic organization in the country and is creating a food system that is healthy and fair for all of us. Through education, training and advocacy, MOFGA is helping farmers thrive, making more local, organic food available and building sustainable communities. More at mofga.org.
–Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association