Mother Earth News Fair offers something for every stage of life

MEETING OF THE MINDS: Cyndi Ball, left, founder and president of the National Ladies Homestead Gathering, will present two workshops at this year’s fair in Asheville. The two sessions — Women Who Homestead: The Need for Community and Simplify Your Homestead Plan — require separate registration and an additional ticket purchase. Photo courtesy of Mother Earth News

The Mother Earth News Fair will offer sustainability-focused advice and products that cover life’s full expanse, from accessories for baby hair to eco-friendly coffins, when it returns to the Asheville area the last weekend in April.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29, the fair will bring exhibitors, vendors and presenters to the area to help attendees live simpler, more meaningful lives through what the company bills as “your passport to money-saving hacks, health-boosting remedies and environmental strategies from leading experts and entrepreneurs around the country.”

Vendors will offer sustainability and homesteading products and advice that cover you from birth to death.

For instance, Lilla Rose Stylists sells accessories for all types of hair, ranging from fine baby hair up to long thick follicles, and Honey Sweetie Acres will have all sorts of goat milk products along with baby goats for people to pet.

On the other end of the spectrum, Coffin Club USA, a new vendor, aims to help people with funeral and burial options.

“Coffin Club USA is just part of my organization,” said exhibitor Jay Requarth with “ helps people find affordable after-death care for themselves or their family. We have free price comparison lists for funeral homes and crematories. We also offer a free ebook that helps people understand the process — an educated consumer will save money and get the funeral they want. Green burials are one option that people can have, but they have to be educated enough to ask for the option.” His company offers a $300 pack-flat, green-certified casket in a simple style similar to the inmate-built box used by recently deceased preacher Billy Graham, Requarth says.

Started in New Zealand, the Coffin Club allows people to come together and decorate their own caskets. Requarth said he will be showing his company’s pack-flat casket, as well as how to assemble it. Company representatives will also be painting one or two to show off the ability to personalize the casket for its future owner.

Other presentations will cover a wide range of diverse topics, including “Find Dining – Wild Food for Free” with Alan Muskat, “The Practicality and Legality of Craft Distilling” with Victoria Redhed Miller, “Planning Your First Homestead” with Kimberlee Bastien and “The Homesteader’s Guide to Renewable Energy” with Dan Chiras, just to name a few.

Other hands-on workshops will focus on activities like making face cream, cultivating oyster mushrooms and mastering spice blends for sausages and dry rubs.

Due to the popularity of the workshops, the fair now also offers breakout workshops for an even closer look at a variety of subjects.

“These breakout sessions let you go even deeper into doing what you’re interested in,” says Alec Weaver, associate producer for national events for Ogden Publications Inc., the publisher of Mother Earth News. “They are full-day, intensive sessions where instead of an hour amongst a crowd, you’ll have more time in a much more intimate setting.”

Space in the breakouts is strictly limited so that the sessions can be interactive, Weaver says, and reservations plus an extra ticket purchase are required. Topics to be covered include aquaponics, homestead planning, poultry breeding and tips for those interested in starting their own hemp business.

Weaver says the culture of the Asheville area and the fact that Mother Earth News started in nearby Hendersonville are part of the reason the fair — one of six across the country that the magazine will host this year — is held here.

“This is one of our largest events,” Weaver says. “Over a weekend, we’ve seen as many as 15,000 to 20,000 people.”

“I think everyone comes for their own reasons,” he says. “Everybody’s looking for their own piece of the sustainability puzzle, but you don’t have to go completely off-grid to find it. You can just dip your toes into it by growing your own mushrooms. The fair is just a very communal experience with a wealth of information.”


WHAT: Mother Earth News Fair

WHERE: Western North Carolina Agricultural Center, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher

WHEN: Saturday, April 28, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, April 29, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tickets range in price from $20-$75, free for those younger than 17. Each hands-on workshop and breakout workshop has an additional charge, and space for breakout workshops is limited, so reservations are required. Information at or 800-234-3368.



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About Liz Carey
Liz Carey is a veteran reporter living and working in Upstate SC. For more than 20 years, Liz has covered everything from crooked politicians to quirky characters from Minnesota to Florida and everywhere in between. Currently, she works as a freelance writer. Her latest book, Hidden History of Anderson County, will be released in February 2018. Follow me @lizardcsc

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