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About The Author


Sharon Kitchens

Sharon Kitchens is a neo-homesteader learning the ins and outs of country living by luck and pluck and a lot of expert advice. She writes about bees for The Huffington Post and stuff she loves on her personal blog, When she is not writing, she enjoys edible gardening, reading books on food and/or thinking about food, hanging out by her beehives and patiently tracking down her chickens in the woods behind her old farmhouse. In her blog, Sharon profiles farm families, reports on farm-based education and internships, conducts Q&A's with master beekeepers, offers tips on picking a CSA, and much more. Sharon can be contacted at or on Twitter @deliciousmusing.

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The Root with Sharon Kitchens
Posted: June 5, 2014

Common Ground, Kneading Conference & Coop Tour: Summer Food Events

I’m pleased to share a lineup of exciting and unique events I am involved with this summer.  Mark your calendars for these gems and please if you see me say hello – I’d love to meet some of The Root’s readers!

Bread from Standard Baking Co. at Sam Hayward's talk at the 2013 Kneading Conference.

Bread from Standard Baking Co. at Sam Hayward’s talk at the 2013 Kneading Conference.

Maine Grain Alliance’s Kneading Conference and Bread Fair
July 24 & 25, Bread Fair July 26
This is the seventh year of my favorite food-related event. As much as I love the Common Ground Fair (and I do! I go every year), this affair is much more intimate. It’s a chance to connect with people like award-winning food writer Maria Speck and farmer and organic food champion Jim Gerritsen.

I wrote about the conference for the Huffington Post last year. And, here is a link to Whit Richardson’s piece for The Bangor Daily News (if you look closely at the last image that’s me sitting in front at Sam Hayward’s talk “Loaves and Fishes: Telling Maine’s Story with Food”).

A home cooked meal prepared by members of the Wagenia tribe in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A home cooked meal prepared by members of the Wagenia tribe in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is the first year I will be participating in the conference. I will be moderating the panel Culinary Diplomacy: Culture Defined Around the Table on Friday, July 25 2:15 – 3:45 p.m. Food can communicate a country’s culture and heritage to the world. From Iraqi date rolls to Eritrean spicy chicken to Congolese Mfumbwa, countries are increasingly using gastrodiplomacy (also known as culinary diplomacy) to make statements about national identity.

Having just returned from a trip to Central Africa I will speak briefly about the culinary connections I made there before introducing the distinguished panel members: Dr. Myron M. Beasley, John Brittell, Bob Garver, and Thomas Pisha-Duffly.

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Common Ground Country Fair
September 19, 20 & 21
Every year I look forward to the fiber marketplace, food, agricultural demonstrations, and apple tasting with John Bunker. It is exciting to see who MOFGA lines up as speakers every year – so many wonderful opportunities to learn and engage. I posted a few images from the 2012 fair in this post on my personal blog.

Plan your trip to the fair with these helpful tips from MOFGA. Join MOFGA and get free admission for all three days.

I will be giving a talk with my friend Lori Gingras of Roots, Coops & More on how to manage a backyard flock. We’ll cover state laws, resources, breeds, purchasing, space, coop, brooder, health, equipment, daily care, and much more. Last year’s talks were well attended and we got a ton of great questions. The date, time, and location of our talks are still TBD.

Recently, I posted stories on The Root about my Egg CSA and a little while back on raising backyard chickens.

2014 MOFGA Common Ground poster.

2014 MOFGA Common Ground poster.

Rowan Jacobsen (award-winning author, journalist, and oyster expert)’s new book Apples of Uncommon Character will be released September 2. The book profiles 123 varieties of apples, showcasing the wild and wonderful things the apple genome can create when you give it some free time. For a sneak peak go to Rowan’s site.

I’m helping organize a signing/event in mid-September for Rowan with Portland Food Map and Rabelais Books at Space Gallery. Date and time forthcoming!

Rowan will talk about his new book, show images from his research process, and David Buchanan (author of Taste, Memory: Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors, and Why They Matter) will be doing an apple tasting.  Rowan’s new and past books will be for sale.

Cover of Rowan Jacobsen's new book.

Cover of Rowan Jacobsen’s new book.

Last, but certainly not least…the 2nd Annual Maine Chicken Coop Tour.
Saturday, October 4 (rain or shine) 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. It is free to participate and attend. Full disclosure, I am the founder/one of the organizers. I make zero money off of this event, but I sure do have a lot of fun meeting people interested in chickens and showing off my feathered gals.

What tour goers will see: Different styles of coops including an old farmhouse coop that has been customized, several coops made from unassembled and assembled kits created by the Maine company Roots, Coops & More, and coops created from plans found on the Internet or in a book. Some coops are stand alones, some are built into a barn or other farm structure.

We just have a Facebook page for now,  but you can find all the practical details in this post I did on my personal blog Delicious Musings.

Chicken Coop at Great Cluck Egg Farm. Photo by Winky Lewis.

Chicken Coop at Great Cluck Egg Farm. Photo by Winky Lewis.

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