By Emily West, Correspondent
This past February, the Mother Earth News sustainable lifestyle fair made its Texas debut here in the city of Belton. Over 150 workshops, on subjects ranging from root cellar construction to sustainable farming, set up their wares in the Bell County Expo Center, drawing over 15,000 attendees.
“We had a great turnout from our local community,” said Tim Stephens, Executive Director of the Expo Center, “but we also had many people coming from out of state to attend.” Stephens also confirmed that the Mother Earth News fair will be returning to Bell County next year, and will likely be on a grander scale in 2017.
“This fair was amazing for our community,” remarked Judy Garrett of the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our hotels were all full, and our restaurants were excited to have all the business as well. We here at the Chamber were just as glad!”
The fair also featured countless vendors in addition to the many workshops and keynote speakers.
“Everybody was willing to explain their answers to your questions–– they wanted to educate, not just sell,” stated Tommi Aleman, a Bell County local who visited the vendors at the fair. “There was so much to learn, and I feel that now I have a good foundation to begin gaining experience in a self-sustaining lifestyle. I’ll definitely be going back next year,” Aleman said.
“The atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly, and it seemed like all the people around me were enjoying the fair as much as I did,” remarked Shay Nicholson, another Bell County local who not only visited the vendors, but also listened to a few of the keynote speakers, such as Rosemary Gladstar of Herbs for Family Health. “She was very engaging and easy to understand, and even though I already had a strong grasp of using herbs for better health, it was a very solid review of the basics.”
Despite being a seasoned self-sustaining citizen, Nicholson affirmed that she would definitely be returning to the fair when it comes back to Bell County in 2017. “Probably the best speaker I heard was the mushroom guy, Tradd Cotter. He wasn’t a keynote speaker but he was absolutely awesome… He was passionate, very informative and fun to listen to. I learned quite a few new things about mushrooms from him.”
For more information about this fair and its workshops, speakers or events, visit www.motherearthnewsfair.com