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Back-to-the-land homesteading fair planned next month in Lowville

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LOWVILLE — An inaugural homesteading fair here next month will offer myriad opportunities to develop self-sustainability skills.

“People want to be off the grid,” said Michele E. Ledoux, executive director at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis County. “They want to go back to the land.”

The fair, featuring more than 90 educational workshops, will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 8 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 9 at Maple Ridge Center off East Road, just east of the village. Breakfast will be available both days at the American Maple Museum booth.

The cost for admission is $10 per person for a single day or $15 for a two-day pass. Children ages 17 and younger will be admitted for free.

Free parking will be available.

The 45-minute workshops, featuring extension educators from throughout the north country and other agricultural professionals, will begin at 10 a.m. both days.

Attendees “can jump around from workshop to workshop,” Mrs. Ledoux said.

Workshops and vendor displays will be separated into six categories, all at different sites on the grounds. The categories are maple and forestry; gardening and food preservation; solar and other renewable energy; livestock; poultry, and small farm machinery.

The idea for the homesteading fair, to be held in conjunction with the Mother Earth News International Homesteading Education Month in September, came from Brantingham resident Mary Lou DeMinck, who attended a similar event in Pennsylvania, Mrs. Ledoux said.

She and Beaver Falls resident Gary Herzig suggested to local extension officials “that this would be a great thing to hold up here in Lewis County,” which led to establishing an organizing committee and lining up of presenters, she said.

“Extension has the expertise to teach these skills,” Mrs. Ledoux said.

Anyone seeking more information or to pre-register may call the extension office in Lewis County at 376-5270 or Jefferson County at 788-8450.

Plans are to post a complete workshop schedule on both county extensions’ websites when it is finalized, Mrs. Ledoux said.

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