Learn how this agricultural revival is building healthier communities with stronger economies, while nurturing our natural environment. The Festival showcases the food and agricultural renaissance in the foothills of Western Maine and brings a wide range of food producers and vendors, food access, education and community programs. Music and art will also fill the sidewalks and parks of Downtown Norway.
Organized by Community Food Matters, Oxford’s Food Council, a project of the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy.
Local food council to meet, focus
on Foothills Food Festival
April 4, 2017 | Oxford Hills Observer, Turner Publishing
NORWAY – Community Food Matters, a member of the Maine Network of Community Food Councils, will be hosting its quarterly meeting from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 7, at the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy, 447 Main Street. The focus of this meeting will be the second annual Foothills Food Festival, slated for Saturday, Aug. 12, in downtown Norway. It was estimated that nearly 1,000 people attended the 2016 event that featured local food vendors, a farmers’ market, live music, educational booths and events, activities for kids, and a beer garden featuring local brewers around the state.
Organizers are building on the momentum created last year with ideas to expand the educational scope of this year’s festival and include more farmers and vendors. “While we had some great talks, workshops and educational organizations involved last year, we hope to integrate more information about how and why to build a robust local food system,” said Ken Morse of Community Food Matters. “This is primarily a wonderful celebration of local food,” he added, “but we’d love for folks to come away with a better understanding of the current food system and why it makes so much sense to support a robust local agriculture.”
One part of the Festival that organizers would like to expand on is the farmers’ market. “Last year we had just a few farmers attend the Festival, but they did incredibly well,” said Carl Costanzi, the region’s 5210 Let’s Go! Coordinator. “Pietree Orchard told us it was their best farmers’ market day all season. For Mid Ridge Farm in Otisfield, it was their first farmers’ market. They loved the experience of interacting with all the customers and are looking forward this year’s festival. We hope to attract more area farmers this time around and also promote the Norway Farmers’ Market at Old Squires, as well as other regional markets to really showcase what is being grown here,” he continued.
The Festival organizers encourage all community members from various sectors to join in planning and creating the 2nd Foothills Food Festival. All are invited to share ideas and participate in one or more working groups. Working groups include: Marketing, Fundraising, Farmers’ Market, Food Vendors, Beer Garden, Education, Music & Entertainment, Children’s Activities, Logistics, and Volunteers.
“It took a great deal of energy from a lot of volunteers to make the inaugural event such a success last year,” said Scott Vlaun, a Festival organizer, “and even though we’ve laid some groundwork, there will be plenty of opportunities for everyone to help make year two even better and continue to define the area as a local foods haven.”
A light meal will be served at Friday’s planning event. All are welcome. Admission is free. For more information, call 207-739-2101 or email us.
Photo caption: The Youngerbloods playing to a dancing crowd of Foothills Food Festival attendees in Longley Square in Norway on August 13th 2016.
Foothills Food Fest in Norway promises something
for everyone … especially mooers and crowers
August 11, 2016 | By Erin Place
NORWAY — Food and farming and culture, oh my!
At least that’s what the organizers of the first-ever Foothills Food Festival hope attendees will exclaim when they visit the event this weekend. The festival is set from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, in downtown Norway.
Many of the events will take place in the town square on Main Street across from the Norway Opera House and will overlap with Community Roots set for Saturday and Sunday at the nearby Alan Day Community Garden at 26 Whitman St.
“Local farming and food culture are rebounding in Maine after years of over-dependence on unsustainable industrial imports,” said Ken Morse of Community Food Matters. “These foothills are alive with this movement, and we’re celebrating the rich diversity of these agriculture and performing cultures at our first Foothills Food Festival.”
The festival is a project of Community Food Matters, which is housed at Center for Ecology-Based Economy (CEBE) in the Fare Share Commons on Main Street.
Sarah Carter, another festival organizer who works as a community nutrition educator for SNAP-Ed at Healthy Oxford Hills, said the festival will showcase and celebrate “all parts of the food system – people who make food, people who grow food, people who brew – all things related to agriculture.”
For those foodies out there, there will be a local spread to enjoy. Riverside Lodge (South Paris) will serve up artisan pizza, Cafe DiCocoa (Bethel) will feature Greek-themed and vegetarian food, along with garden creations from Anna Sysco, Fiddlestick Farm (Hanover) will offer its hand-made raviolis, Avalon Creamery (Otisfield) will scoop up its small-batch frozen custard, Alex’s Mexican Food Cart (Bethel) will roll in with spicy favorites and Little Jamaica – Portland’s Island Flava will bring its authentic Jamaican food.
A beer garden – organized by Norway Brewing Company and operated by Café Nomad – will serve brews from across the state in the fenced in area behind Green Machine Bike Shop at 419 Main St., which is the former Longley Hardware Store. Maine breweries include Norway Brewing Company (Norway), Pennesseewassee Brewing Company (Harrison), Sunday River Brewing (Newry), Bear Bones Beer (Lewiston), Sebago Brewing (Portland area), Bigelow Brewing (Skowhegan) and Branded Horn (Biddeford).
Fare Share Co-op, at the Fare Share Commons next to CEBE, will host tours of its market and have samples and information from Durgin Dairy (Norway), Harmony Farm (Harrison), Wee Bit Farm (Orland) and Rob Nichol’s mead.
FRESH FOOD — Fresh fruits, veggies and other produce will be available for purchase during the first-ever Foothills Food Festival scheduled from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13. There will also be a variety of food vendors, live entertainment, talks from farmers, art making and children’s activities.
Also behind Fare Share are the farmers’ market and Sprout children’s area. The farmers’ market will feature Ordway Grove (Norway), Black Mountain Farm (Sweden), Pie Tree Orchard (Sweden), Maple Springs Farm (Harrison), Edgewood Nursery (North Falmouth), Mid Ridge Farm (Casco) and Ryerson Gone Wild (West Paris) will sell Maine chaga, ramps, vegetables and various mushrooms. Main Street’s newest book store, Food for Thought, will have a table behind the co-op with food-related literature.
The Sprout area will include gardening, composting activity, feel and guess food game, mask making, story telling and a smoothie-making bike.
“It is very family friendly. There are tons of activities for kids,” Carter said.
CEBE will be the site of two different talks. The sidewalk along Main Street will feature resource tables, including representatives from Roberts Farm, Maine School Garden Network, Western Foothills Land Trust, Maine Farmland Trust, Maine SNAP-Ed, University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Books N Things at 430 Main St. will host Maine author Kathy Eliscu, who will sign her book, “Not Even Chocolate Can Fix This Mess.”
No type of festival would be complete without a full slate of live entertainment.
“Between local bands, which is a pretty good spread of different kinds of music to really appeal to the whole family, there will be talks from farmers and folks with knowledge in our community,” Carter said. See the sidebar for the entertainment schedule.
There will be art for fest goers of all ages to create and Maine artist Jacinda Martinez will be in attendance. On nearby Deering Street, there will be face painting, tye-dying, hula hooping, food packaging musical instruments, paper maché Earth painting, corn hole, mask making and community poems.
Martinez will feature her Fashion in the Raw photographs of garments she created from food and will create a piece specially for the festival. 100 Aker Wood will offer 10-percent-off framing of her prints purchased during the festival.
Sponsors for the festival include Local Food Connection, Pie Tree Orchard, Wheeler’s Insurance, Cafe Nomad, Norway Savings Bank, Green Machine Bike Shop, Let’s Go! Oxford County and Woodman’s Sporting Goods. Supporters include Grassroots Graphics, Garbo-Kane Integrated Solar Builders, Swett Signs, Tractor Supply Company, Smedberg’s and Joel Speakman.
The rain date is Sunday, Aug. 14. If the festival is postponed, a post will be made on CEBE’s Facebook page by 8 a.m. Saturday.
A farmers’ market will be held behind Fare Share Co-op on Main Street in downtown Norway as part of the first Foothills Food Festival, scheduled from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13.
Maine artist Jacinda Martinez will be on hand at the first-ever Foothills Food Festival scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 13, in downtown Norway. She will have her Fashion in the Raw prints available and make a garment out of food just for the festival.
Fresh fruits, veggies and other produce will be available for purchase during the first-ever Foothills Food Festival scheduled from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13. There will also be a variety of food vendors, live entertainment, talks from farmers, art making and children’s activities.
Local foods festival coming to Norway
July 7, 2016 | By Erin Place
NORWAY — There is a food revolution occurring in the Oxford Hills and that is exactly what will be showcased during the first-ever Foothills Food Festival next month.
Planning for the event is well underway, organized by Community Food Matters – the local Community Food Council – and is a project of Norway’s Center for an Ecology-Based Economy. It is scheduled from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, in downtown Norway. The rain date is Sunday, Aug. 14.
It stretches from behind Main Street’s Fare Share Co-op – which includes the two adjacent parking lots – all the way down to the square by the information kiosk, according to one of the festival organizers, Maisey Griffin.
On Thursday, June 30, roughly 15 organizers and volunteers gathered at CEBE to further plan the festival. Griffin described the event as “a harvest bounty,” noting the agricultural revival in the area where the festival will “showcase the food and agricultural renaissance in western Maine.”
Even though the festival is located in downtown Norway, Griffin noted it is a celebration of the entire region’s farmers, food advocates, chefs, educators and others in the local food scene.
“Part of the idea here is to create an identity for this area as a food destination,” fellow organizer Scott Vlaun added. “Norway is part of the food revolution.”
Organizer Ken Morse said their group is collaborating with Norway’s Alan Day Community Garden, which will host the two-day Community Roots program this year during the same weekend. The goal is to have plenty of signage and cross promotion at both events and possibly have a spray painted trail of vegetables leading between the two sites.
“We’re really hitting all of downtown Norway,” Griffin said.
There are numerous activities slated for both events and festival organizers were busy hammering out the details last week.
On tap for the Foothills Food Festival is a farmers market, complete with food and other local vendors, the beer garden, featuring Norway Brewing Company and other local brewers behind Green Machine Bike Shop, free workshops, live music, tours of Fare Share Co-op and Alan Day Community Garden, slideshow/exhibit of local farms inside CEBE, storytelling, poetry reading, a kids area with activities and farmers presentations, which will range the gamut of different style farms.
Morse noted there will be a printed program to help festgoers navigate the events.
Griffin added there is a lot to celebrate locally in food diversity and other goals are to promote and develop a robust food economy in the area and overall reduce our collective carbon foot prints.
“This is a food festival, but all-in-all this is a green festival,” she said.
Organizers are looking to the community in more ways than one to participate, contribute and attend the upcoming food festival. There is a wish list they have, which includes a PA system, picnic tables, generators, big tents and portapotties. Vlaun noted they would approach local businesses for in kind donations in return for promotion at the festival.
Over the next couple of weeks, a list of jobs will be compiled as the search for more volunteers continues. They have also launched an Indiegogo campaign to help offset the costs of the festival. Donations can be made at –2#/ or directly to CEBE.
“This is everyone’s food festival,” Griffin said. “We’re organizing it but this is really not going to be anything unless every community member comes out.”
For more information about the Foothills Food Festival, contact Griffin
NORWAY — This year Community Roots – the educational event that focuses on do-it-yourself agricultural and environmental workshops – will move from the Oxford County Fair to the Alan Day Community Garden.
The 2016 edition is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, and Sunday, Aug. 14, at the garden, 26 Whitman St. in Norway. Christopher Easton, along with his wife, Paula, organize the annual educational event and said the fair site wasn’t working out for them, hence the change in location.
“We wanted Community Roots to keep going,” he said.
Easton added he spoke with Garden Coordinator Rocky Crockett, who invited Community Roots to hold the event the community garden. The pair didn’t realize the Foothills Food Festival was scheduled for the same weekend.
“OK, let’s see we can dovetail with that,” Easton remembered thinking after the realization. He noted there is some overlap of times and similar themes with the two events, but organizers are trying not to duplicate workshops.
While Easton has most of the presenters secured, he is still looking to fill a few slots. Thus far they include workshops on pesto, seed saving, solar energy, scything, mulch gardening, composting, pruning and grafting, beekeeping, permaculture and food forests.
For more information about Community Roots, contact Christopher Easton.