Celebrating Sustainability and Local Food at the 7th Annual North Amherst Harvest Festival

7th Annual North Amherst Harvest Festival
Sunday, September 23rd

Have you ever made your own cornmeal, or dyed your own fabric using wildflowers?  Families can do all of these things and more at the North Amherst Harvest Festival on Sun, Sept 23rd from 12noon-5pm at the North Amherst Community Farm at 1089 N. Pleasant Street in North Amherst. This is a free rain or shine event (>$ parking). (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

When was the last time that you enjoyed a bike-power-blended smoothie?  Have you ever made your own cornmeal, or dyed your own fabric using wildflowers?  Families can do all of these things and more at the North Amherst Harvest Festival!

The harvest festival takes place on Sunday, September 23rd from 12noon-5pm at the North Amherst Community Farm (NACF), a farm run as a grassroots project to provide affordable, locally and sustainably grown food to the community.  The festival will include seasonal activities like hayrides and cider pressing, along with live music, local food, face painting, games, and other family activities.

A range of fun children’s activities will be offered throughout the day, including pumpkin bowling, face painting, operating a cider press and making your own smoothie using a kid-sized blender bike! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

In addition, the festival offers a plethora of hands-on opportunities!  Kids can participate in pumpkin bowling, cider pressing, using fresh local apples and a manual press to extract delicious juice.  Hayrides offer an opportunity to tour the farm fields – families can see the fields and animals, and learn about the farm’s biodiversity soil-rejuvenating practices.  There will also be hand-crank food mills on hand for families to try out making their own homemade cornmeal – kids can hand-pluck dried kernels from the cob and use their own muscle power to grind the kernels into meal… and after all of that hard work, they can enjoy a smoothie blended using bike power!

Each activity is sure to be fun and exciting for kids of nearly any age, and each offers a unique learning opportunity.  By participating in food processing, kids can become more aware of how food products are created and the amount of effort that is necessary to produce them.  In touring the farm, they can become familiarized with farm machinery, farm practices, and farm animals, and can begin to develop a deeper connection to their food.  Bring learning full circle by enjoying a local dinner together after the festival!  For more information, visit www.nacfonline.org.

This year, NACF is collaborating with Amherst Community Connections (ACC) and Craig’s Doors, two local non-profits offering services to those in the community who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. Hwei-Ling Greeney of ACC will oversee the food production for the Festival utilizing volunteers recruited from NACF, ACC, Craig’s Doors and The Amherst Survival Center. In return, a portion of NACF’s Festival proceeds will be shared between these agencies. The organizational missions of these groups all share a common concern for the issue of local food security.

Two Days of Peace, Love and Garlic in Western MA

12th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival
October 2nd & 3rd, 2010

Two solar powered stages of entertainment, including a family stage, all weekend. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Voted the second best festival among hundreds of great local events in the Valley Advocate readers poll, the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival is a fun (affordable) event to take the family too!  Enjoy and support the bounty of artists, farmers and organizations; Strengthen community by purchasing locally grown and crafted. Gain vision and skills for local living: learn to grow a garden, press cider, mill lumber, cook gourmet, go solar. Nourish yourself in the incredible food courts and experience the wondrous wood fired bread oven. Transform trash into compost (only three bags of garbage for 10,000 people); Kids of all ages enjoy fabulous art and nature activities and garlic games galore featuring the ever-popular raw garlic eating contest and all new garlic dance party.

Travel the garlic globe with celebrated local chefs and cooking demos. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

MUSIC: Two solar stages entertain all weekend. The musical line-up includes: Melanie and the Blueshots, Steve Crow, Kris Delmhorst, Cailte Kelley, Zydeco Connection, Marka Music, The Pangeans, and Incus. The family stage features Cabaret Attar, Inside Out Dance Company, Peter Siegel and Jay Mankita, Celtic Heels Dance, Dagen Julty, Mafanti, Dan the yo-yo man, Sugati Belly Dance, Dan the Airborne Comedian, and Gaia Roots.

FOOD: Travel the garlic globe with celebrated local chefs including Chez Albert’s Paul Hathaway, Ristorante DiPaolo’s Hilton Dottin and Sam Kochan of the Gill Tavern, plus fresh and local food artists Andy Sussman, Gail Beauregard, The Kitchen Garden, and Stockbridge Herbs.

WORKSHOPS: Energize your life with incredible workshops like solar electricity and zero energy homes in the renewable energy tent. In our healing arts area, enjoy a chair massage or Tai Chi, yoga and poetry presentations.

Follow your heart (and nose) to this fabulous fall destination at Forster’s Farm (60 Chestnut Hill Rd.) in Orange MA, where there’s something for everyone in the family.  Read the rest of this entry »

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