Local foods festival coming to Norway

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NORWAY — There is a food revolution occurring in the Oxford Hills and that is exactly what will be showcased during the first-ever Foothills Food Festival next month.

FOOD FUN — Organizers and volunteers gathered at the Center for Ecology-based Economy last week help to hammer out the details of the first-ever Foothills Food Festival, celebrating the food revolution in the Oxford Hills.
FOOD FUN — Organizers and volunteers gathered at the Center for Ecology-based Economy last week help to hammer out the details of the first-ever Foothills Food Festival, celebrating the food revolution in the Oxford Hills.

Planning for the event is well underway, organized by Community Food Matters – the local Community Food Council – and is a project of Norway’s Center for an Ecology-Based Economy. It is scheduled from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, in downtown Norway. The rain date is Sunday, Aug. 14.

It stretches from behind Main Street’s Fare Share Co-op – which includes the two adjacent parking lots – all the way down to the square by the information kiosk, according to one of the festival organizers, Maisey Griffin.

On Thursday, June 30, roughly 15 organizers and volunteers gathered at CEBE to further plan the festival. Griffin described the event as “a harvest bounty,” noting the agricultural revival in the area where the festival will “showcase the food and agricultural renaissance in western Maine.”

Even though the festival is located in downtown Norway, Griffin noted it is a celebration of the entire region’s farmers, food advocates, chefs, educators and others in the local food scene.

“Part of the idea here is to create an identity for this area as a food destination,” fellow organizer Scott Vlaun added. “Norway is part of the food revolution.”

Organizer Ken Morse said their group is collaborating with Norway’s Alan Day Community Garden, which will host the two-day Community Roots program this year during the same weekend. The goal is to have plenty of signage and cross promotion at both events and possibly have a spray painted trail of vegetables leading between the two sites.

“We’re really hitting all of downtown Norway,” Griffin said.

There are numerous activities slated for both events and festival organizers were busy hammering out the details last week.

On tap for the Foothills Food Festival is a farmers market, complete with food and other local vendors, the beer garden, featuring Norway Brewing Company and other local brewers behind Green Machine Bike Shop, free workshops, live music, tours of Fare Share Co-op and Alan Day Community Garden, slideshow/exhibit of local farms inside CEBE, storytelling, poetry reading, a kids area with activities and farmers presentations, which will range the gamut of different style farms.

Morse noted there will be a printed program to help festgoers navigate the events.

Griffin added there is a lot to celebrate locally in food diversity and other goals are to promote and develop a robust food economy in the area and overall reduce our collective carbon foot prints.

“This is a food festival, but all-in-all this is a green festival,” she said.

Organizers are looking to the community in more ways than one to participate, contribute and attend the upcoming food festival. There is a wish list they have, which includes a PA system, picnic tables, generators, big tents and portapotties. Vlaun noted they would approach local businesses for in kind donations in return for promotion at the festival.

Over the next couple of weeks, a list of jobs will be compiled as the search for more volunteers continues. They have also launched an Indiegogo campaign to help offset the costs of the festival. Donations can be made atwww.indiegogo.com/projects/foothills-food-festival–2#/ or directly to CEBE.

“This is everyone’s food festival,” Griffin said. “We’re organizing it but this is really not going to be anything unless every community member comes out.”

For more information about the Foothills Food Festival, contact Griffin atmaiseygriffin@gmail.com.

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Community Roots

NORWAY — This year Community Roots – the educational event that focuses on do-it-yourself agricultural and environmental workshops – will move from the Oxford County Fair to the Alan Day Community Garden.

The 2016 edition is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, and Sunday, Aug. 14, at the garden, 26 Whitman St. in Norway. Christopher Easton, along with his wife, Paula, organize the annual educational event and said the fair site wasn’t working out for them, hence the change in location.

“We wanted Community Roots to keep going,” he said.

Easton added he spoke with Garden Coordinator Rocky Crockett, who invited Community Roots to hold the event the community garden. The pair didn’t realize the Foothills Food Festival was scheduled for the same weekend.

“OK, let’s see we can dovetail with that,” Easton remembered thinking after the realization. He noted there is some overlap of times and similar themes with the two events, but organizers are trying not to duplicate workshops.

While Easton has most of the presenters secured, he is still looking to fill a few slots. Thus far they include workshops on pesto, seed saving, solar energy, scything, mulch gardening, composting, pruning and grafting, beekeeping, permaculture and food forests.

For more information about Community Roots, contact Christopher Easton atcpeaston@megalink.net.

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