Monday, 18/11/2019 | : : UTC-5
Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Green and sustainable living enthusiasts attend Mother Earth News Fair

LYNETTE SOWELL

Cove Leader-Press 

More than 100 vendors and exhibitors, along with dozens of workshops filled the Bell County Expo Center as the Mother Earth News Fair returned to Central Texas over the weekend.

Whether it was learning about organic gardening or beekeeping, earthworm composting, rainwater harvesting, or seeing the latest in solar energy options or sustainable living resources like a solar oven, attendees had plenty to choose from in one location. Admission was free for those 17 and under, with wristbands available for adults to purchase ahead of time or at the gate.

The Mother Earth News Fair is held annually in six states throughout the country and this is the second year the Expo Center has hosted the fair.

CCLP/LYNETTE SOWELL Vendors were on hand teaching classes at the Mother Earth News Fair.

CCLP/LYNETTE SOWELL
Vendors were on hand teaching classes at the Mother Earth News Fair.

One section of the main Expo area was the kids’ treehouse, where presenters like Hannah Crum talked about green living at a kids’ level.

Crum, along with her husband, Alex LaGory, run a business selling Kombucha culture called Kombucha Kamp. She spent the weekend educating kids and their families about Kombucha, a flavorful, fizzy tea which is reported to have certain health benefits such as helping the digestive system, increasing energy, and is touted as a healthy alternative to sodas, other sugared drinks, and coffee. With their business based in California, Crum travels the country as a Mother Earth News Fair exhibitor.

“Kombucha is something that’s been around for thousands of years, and we’re spreading the message about what it can do and how good it is,” Crum said.

She had “SCOBY” bacteria on hand for kids to touch. SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, and the squishy, rubbery substance is what’s used to make the Kombucha tea.

“You purchase your SCOBY, and it’s a lifetime supply; it just keeps growing,” Crum added, and likened SCOBY to a sourdough starter.

Mary Jenkins and her daughter, Kayla, enjoyed checking out the culture and sampling the tea.

“It’s different, but I like it,” said Kayla, 6.

A local group from Temple, the Un-Included Club, stayed busy on the exhibitor floor talking about their club. In addition to providing a safe environment for kids’ activities in the East Temple area, they also have a community garden and teach kids and families about urban gardening. At the fair, they had a shelf-sized garden of micro greens as an example.

Doree Collins is one of the volunteers who helps run Un-Included. The former educator said she taught for seven years and was an administrator for a year before joining the organization.

“This was already established when I came on board,” she said. “I am a full-time volunteer. “I’m able to see the progress and implement the things we know are missing from these kids’ lives.”

Homestead Heritage, out of Waco, had several exhibits and vendor spots. The agrarian and craft-based community has a 550-acre farm and also mills its own grains in a 250-year-old hand-hewn, timber mill. Not only did the group offer their products for sale, but they had demonstrations such as weaving on hand looms, metal working, as well as a chance for kids to make their own baskets.

Homestead Heritage also runs the Ploughshare Institute for Sustainable Living, which provided a number of over the weekend. The institute offers hands-on classes in Waco, along with online workshops via its website sustainlife.org.

In addition to the workshops, vendors and exhibitors, several farms had livestock on hand to include cattle, horses, pigs, poultry and sheep.

The fair also had a bookstore featuring titles from many of the exhibitors, with book signings held throughout the two-day event.

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