Sustainable Fair packs the day with activities

ALSTEAD, N.H. – Seeds of tall climbing nasturtium, cosmos Sensation mix, Bloomsdale open pollinated spinach and giant snow peas sold for a buck a pack at the 12th annual Seed Celebration and Sustainable Community Fair. Orchard Hill Community on Old Settler’s Road in Alstead, N.H., hosted the full day event on Feb. 11, 2017.

Seeds of change in ideas and hope for better ways to grow and live came from fifteen speakers, four musicians, and nurturing food with great bread, of course, to enjoy.

sustainable fair
Sam Jaffe of Caterpillar Lab showing Estrella and Kaia Cannon a tomato horn worm larvae. Photo by Mary Ellen Cannon.

Marty Castriotta of Orchard Hill gave an introduction to permaculture. This March he leads a 90-hour course  at Orchard Hill on permaculture design that will lead to an internationally recognized  certificate. Valerie Piedmont, founder of the Sustainability Project that sponsors the fair, plotted how to become our most alive, happiest, intelligent selves. Practical thoughts on why and how to save rain drew people to a session by Jan Lambert of The Valley Green Journal. Lambert authored “Water, Land, and Climate – The Critical Connection.” She brings Dr. Michal Kravcik to Orchard Hill on March 11 for a 7 p.m. program on restoring rainfall to the land.

Students from the ecology club at Keene State University entertained children with art projects in the morning and hopes of sliding if the day warmed.  Sam Jaffe of the Caterpillar Lab wowed people with hornworms. (Caterpillar Lab seeks a home. Its Keene Colony Mill space will turn into condos.) Carl Majeski of UNH Extension shared how to garden. A fruit tree pruning demo by Antoine Elbers and Jenny Wright took folks outside.

Outside, a biochar demonstration by Doug Clayton warmed people by the fire. Joy Moves dance with Hillary Richardson, kimchi making with Tom Prunier, mending with textile artist Kate Dean, synthesis of environmental landscape and livable future by Lionel Chute, manage your woodlot with Chip Chapman, Manitonquat on how to reconnect with each other, tea with Lior Sadeh, visualization with Bill Whyte, tiny houses with Kevin Warzecha and Dee Denehy – all made for full, diverse day.

Solar Sisters Valerie Piedmont and Jeanne Sable played music.  Peter and Linda Simoneux, Bayou X band, performed. Look for their CD “Big Powerful Woman” under their a.k.a., L’il Orphans Cajun Express.

The Sustainability Project is a nonprofit educational organization that promotes love of nature, environmental stewardship, and caring communities. Visit


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