Learning About Farming: MeANS Students Talk Agriculture at Common Ground Fair 

MeANS is proud to be a part of rural living in Maine and showed it at the 2022 Common Ground Country Fair! Held Sept. 23-25 at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners (MOFGA) Common Ground Education Center in Unity, Maine, the Common Ground Fair featured 1,000-plus exhibitors and speakers emphasizing rural communities, sustainable living, local economies, and organic agriculture. 

Poster for the 2022 Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine

A few of those speaking at the festival included three MeANS students:

Rose Jademac spoke about planting in Greenhouse 2, what we grow and what students do in the greenhouse during the day.

Chloe Strout spoke about planting flowers for selling and daily activities in Greenhouse 1 to ensure the plans and fish in our aquaponic unit are healthy.

John Batchelder spoke about our 1 Acre Farm and his time working on it, including building a farmstand, harvesting garlic and potatoes, and more.

Having our agricultural students speak to their hands-on studies is a Common Ground Fair tradition.

The students were led by our agricultural education leader, Jeff Chase. A graduate of Unity College, Chase has been a MOFGA volunteer for 22 years, has been named Agriculture Teacher of the Year for Maine Agriculture in the Classroom, and a leading advocate for agriculture in Maine. 

Note To Our Local Community Partners & Supporters: Keep an eye out for MeANS-grown lettuce on sale this year with proceeds going to fund our greenhouse operation!  

Ongoing activities for our students include collecting and drying herbs with a student-made solar dehydrator, harvesting amaranth (a pseudocereal grown for more than 8,000 years known for edible starchy seeds—a staple of the Aztec diet), and lots more. 

Student licked by white cow at Common Ground Country Fair.
A little too close for comfort? This student doesn’t think so!

“Amaranth is a seed you grind up and use as flour,” Chase says. “We’re going to grind it and make amaranth bread—that’s the payoff for all the hard working and learning these students are doing daily. 

“We’re also working on new aquaponic tank systems, a program we’ve had for about eight years now,” Chase continues. “We haven’t raised enough fish to eat yet because we’ve had issues with the filters, but the new tanks should change that. It’s a perfect winter activity for the kids.”