The Permaculture Podcast

    1832 -Mother Earth News Fair 2018

    In September I had the opportunity to attend the 2018 Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. While there I recorded two in-person interviews, a full-length conversation with Jereme Zimmerman about his new book Brew Beer Like a Yeti, which is the 8th-anniversary release out on October 10th. Cyndi Ball of National Ladies Homestead Gathering also took a few minutes to catch up with me as a follow-up to our video interview last year. I’ve included that conversation with Cyndi at the end of this episode.


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    I always enjoy going to Mother Earth News Fair and other conferences as a chance to catch up with the various folks I’ve gotten to know over the years, to continue to strengthen and grow existing relationships and start new ones.

    While at the fair this year I had a chance to talk with Sean and Michael of Chelsea Green Publishing about the upcoming catalog and what to expect in Spring 2019. One of those is a book by Emmet van Dreische who runs a Christmas Tree Farm where he coppices the trees rather than the traditional cut/stump/replant. This is something nearly unheard of among the softwoods used for Christmas trees. Emmet also, as I understand, is working on doing a non-familial transfer of a farm, all while carving spoons and raising a family. I reached out to Emmet via Instagram and we have an interview scheduled for this week.

    Another interview on the docket is with Lindsey Bender, the mycologist for Field and Forest Products. If you’re not familiar with Field and Forest they are one of my favorite mushroom companies, in general, and also of my favorite companies on earth, in particular, due to their outstanding customer service.

    Lindsey, her co-worker Laura, and I spent the weekend talking mushrooms, life in the midwest, and generally nerding out about all the cools things happening in the world of mycology. As a research scientist with a background in microbiology, Lindsey brings a lot to the table that I’ve not encountered elsewhere when talking to people who work with mushrooms. That day I learned a lot, and an interview with Lindsey should be illuminating for anyone interested in the Kingdom Fungi.

    Moving away from interviews I also saw Jessi Bloom and we checked in about her new book, Creating Sanctuary, which is off to the printers. We’re planning a follow-up to continue to explore the ways we can heal ourselves and help others, through the lens of the personal and public projects she’s working on.

    I also saw Sara Bir and Victoria Redhed Miller, of The Fruit Forager’s Companion and Craft Distilling, respectively. Sara was a delight to hear speak about Paw Paws, which I highly recommend you track her down if she is speaking near you.

    Victoria had ended her talk when we finally caught up, and she’s someone you should see in person if you get a chance. When describing my time with Victoria to a friend after the show my friend commented, “She sounds like the Jane Goodall of baking and distilling.” I think my friend was right. Victoria’s passion for these subjects came through in every moment I spent with her.

    At any large expo like this, you can also expect many vendors. One of those that I ran into was Susquehanna Sustainable Enterprises and Rebel Garden Tools, both run by my friend and PDC instructor Ben Weiss. I spent time with him and his partner Ella as they staffed their booth and we caught up on all things permaculture, gardening, and herbal apothecary.

    I can’t speak to the herbal medicine Ben is creating, but I can say that I’m impressed with the line of Wilson designed, locally built garden tools, especially after replacing a made-by-someone-else garden fork and then bending the replacement while working on some projects at Seppi’s Place.

    The tools Wilson and Ben offer are heavy duty, hard-working, and with an artisanal-industrial look which appeals to my inner metal-head. For my own use, along with a grub hoe I already own, three tools I would add to my collection in a heartbeat are the magna grecia (a two-tine pick/mattock), tusk spade/axe (my personal favorite), and the 5 Tine Mini Fork with T-Handle. Though some might prefer a broad fork to the mini fork, these particular tools form a well rounded, go-anywhere kit for the gardener, forager, or forest farmer.

    Ben talked with me about offering some discount codes to both of his companies for Permaculture Podcast listeners. You’ll find those, and other discounts and opportunities, such as classes with The Permaculture Women’s guild, on the podcast affiliates page at

    Overall this was another great Mother Earth News Fair if a bit smaller than past years. I look forward to seeing what the fair holds in 2019.

    You can see pictures from the weekend at

    As mentioned in the opening, last year at the fair I spoke with Cyndi Ball of National Ladies Homestead Gathering. Returning to the 2018 fair, we sat down and recorded this short conversation to discuss where the organization went in the preceding year, and what their plans are for the future.

    Find out more about Cyndi Ball and National Ladies Homestead Gathering at

    Related Interviews
    1553 – Make Mead Like a Viking with Jereme Zimmerman
    Ladies Homestead Gathering with Cyndi Ball (YouTube)
    1822 – The Fruit Forager’s Companion with Sara Bir
    1816 – The Legality of Craft Distilling with Victoria Redhed Miller
    1823 – The Art of Craft Distilling Redhed Miller

    Mother Earth News Fair
    Mother Earth News Magazine
    The Permaculture Podcast on Instagram
    The Permaculture Podcast on YouTube
    Brew Beer Like a Yeti
    Susquehanna Apothecary (Use this link to save 20%)
    Rebel Garden Tools (Use this link to save 10%)
    National Ladies Homestead Gathering

    (This post contains affiliate link(s). An affiliate link means I may earn advertising / referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, without any extra cost to you, it helps to keep this podcast going. Thanks for your support.)

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