Common Ground Country Fair

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The children's vegetable parade happens each day of the fair.

The Common Ground Country Fair is a fair in Unity, Maine sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). The fair began in 1977 in Litchfield, Maine. In 1981, it moved to Windsor, Maine and in 1996, MOFGA purchased 200 acres in Unity, Maine, where the fair now takes places yearly.[1] The fair "celebrates organic living, farming and growing," and all the food sold at the event must be organic.[2] The fair regularly hosts 50,000 to 60,000 people.[3]

The fair is also host to a large number of political groups and activists. In 2009, there were 64 political or social activism groups in attendance.[4]

In 2008, MOFGA installed water bottle filling stations to test the viability of banning the sale of bottled water. The test run was deemed a success and the sale and use of bottled water was banned the following year.[5][6]

The two food courts only serve organic food.

For the first time in 2017, the fair was powered entirely by alternative sources, including a 102-Kilowatt solar array, a series of heat pumps and a small wind turbine.[7][8]

A farmers' market greets visitors at each of the two fairground entrances.

The fair doesn't have a midway or race track. It features traditional skills demonstrations, alternative energy demonstrations, handicraft vendors, two farmers markets and two food courts, selling a range of organic, prepared foods. The fair is known for its numerous vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.[9]

In 2017 the Portland Press Herald noted that "the busy food courts aren’t the only places to sample the delights of Maine’s organic vegan cuisine. The fair includes a mind-bogglingly long list of classes, many on how to grow, forage and eat plants."[10]

Years earlier the Portland Press Herald reported: "Instead of the typical fair staples such as cotton candy and carnival rides, the Common Ground Country Fair draws crowds seeking veggie burgers and workshops on worm composting."[11]

An alpaca strolls with visitors at the 2016 fair.

In 2012, The New York Times visited the fair and wrote: "The fair is a grand celebration not only for organic growers, but also for spinners and weavers; woodworkers and jewelry-makers; drovers of oxen, horses and mules; and sheep herders and their dogs. Not to mention poets and fiddlers, reflexologists and herbalists, solar and wind power gurus, seed savers and worm-keepers." The Times also noted: "It wasn’t the toasty smell of cotton candy that filled the air; it was the fruity fragrance of sweet Annie (Artemisia annua), a European herb that can self-seed in the garden like an invading army. Women old and young wore golden crowns of it on their heads."[12]


  1. ^ Pols, Mary (September 14, 2014). "For Common Ground vendors, is the fair enough?". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  2. ^ Mack, Sharon Kiley (September 20, 2003). "Common Ground Country Fair starts". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  3. ^ Schneider, Keith (September 25, 1989). "Maine Fair Promotes Pure Food and Rural Values". New York Times. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  4. ^ Cousins, Christopher (September 27, 2009). "Activism flourishes at Common Ground Country Fair". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Fair News". Maine Organic Farmers Gardeners Association. Spring 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  6. ^ Kitchens, Sharon (September 9, 2014). "8 things I am looking forward to at this year's Common Ground Fair". Maine Today. Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  7. ^ "MOFGA prepares for first solar-powered Common Ground Fair". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  8. ^ "How Mainers keep finding new sources of energy". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  9. ^ Kamila, Avery Yale (2014-09-17). "For vegetarians, Common Ground is the fairest of them all". Press Herald. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  10. ^ "At the Common Ground fair in Unity, vegans have plenty of options for eating and learning". Press Herald. 2017-09-13. Retrieved 2018-08-23.
  11. ^ "Crowds find Common Ground at Maine fair". Press Herald. 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  12. ^ Raver, Anne (2012-09-26). "The Common Ground Fair in Maine Celebrates Organic Food". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-14.

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Coordinates: 44°35′24″N 69°17′28″W / 44.590°N 69.291°W / 44.590; -69.291