Thursday, September 15, 2016

Save the planet on the way to the Common Ground Fair - By Lorraine Glowczak

The popular and well attended Common Ground Fair in Unity is happening again this fall on September 23rd, 24th, and 25th. For those who live in the Windham and Raymond communities, the 200 mile round trip to Unity may seem a bit daunting. Additionally, driving separately in a number of personal vehicles from the Sebago Lakes region to Unity is, well…..environmentally “unfriendly.” However, Tom Nash, director of the Windham-Raymond Adult Education was one of the individuals who realized these two important issues. He worked with others to solve the traveling and ecofriendly concerns by organizing bus transportation from various communities, including Windham, to the fair next week.

“I worked with a representative from the Common Ground Fair (CGF) over the past year trying to coordinate with adult education programs to provide buses from around the state to bring adults to the CGF. We have five buses traveling from different communities, picking up others at various locations to get people to the fair in a more ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘greener’ manner, thus reducing our carbon footprint,” said Nash.

At an educational presentation by Dylan Voohrees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine at the 2011 fair, he pointed out, “transportation accounts for 45 percent of Maine greenhouse gas emissions and that our increased driving over the last decade or two has countered pollution reductions attained from slightly more-efficient vehicles.”

Thanks to the efforts of Nash, other adult education organizations and CGF representatives, ecological efficiency will be honored due to the bus riding options.  As for the Sebago region community members, individuals interested in attending the fair can eliminate their carbon footprint by traveling on a bus leaving the Windham High School Campus/Middle School parking lot at 406 Gray Road on Saturday, September 24th promptly at 8 a.m. To guarantee a spot, Nash has asked that individuals arrive no later than 7:45 a.m. Costs for the bus ride is $34 for the general public and $26 for members of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA.) Nash stated, “The cost includes the discounted $8 admission to the fair.” However, there are no other discounts available.

There will be stops along the way to Unity that include a Portland/Falmouth location (TBD at the time of this publication), the Freeport High School and the Gardner Turnpike Plaza. The bus will make the return trip, arriving back in Windham at approximately 7 p.m. on the same day.

Register for the ride online at , by phone at 207-892-1819 or in person at the Windham/Raymond Adult Education office, 406 Gray Road in Windham. Children are welcomed to ride with permission from the director, but as Nash points out, “It’s a long bus ride and a long day.” 

For those who may be new to Maine, the Common Ground Fair is a result of MOFGA which was established in 1971 with the mission, “to help farmers and gardeners: Grow organic food, fiber and other crops, protect the environment, recycle natural resources, increase local food production, support rural communities, and illuminate for consumers the connection between healthful food and environmentally sound farming practices.” The fair incorporates great food, inspiring talks, local exhibitors and products. For additional information, visit

To reserve your spot on the bus today, contact the Windham-Raymond Adult Education and they will make sure your journey to the Common Ground Fair will be fun, relaxing, enjoyable and…environmentally friendly.

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