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community building | sustainability

Oregon State Fair and Peak Oil

I go to the Oregon State fair most years because I love the workshops on farming, gardening, canning, vinegar making etc. i look at the chickens and the flowers and I talk to all sort of people I would not usually talk to. Good way to find out what the average American really thinks...
I spent the whole day at the Oregon State fair yesterday. I like to go to the workshops on organic farming techniques, vinegar making and other subject that keep up my survival skills.

Here's the good news. I go to the fair every year and this is the first time I have seen booths on peak oil, biofuel, creating strong independent self sufficient communities. Really! I talked to these people. Here is few of the booths that I visited:

- a biofuel cooperative located in Woodburn. They even had a couple of stills set up. They said they collected almost 400 names of people who want to join them. They plan to sell stock in about a year. The people in the booth said that people were joining the group even though they had not found a diesel car to buy yet. (reported that diesel cars that are fuel efficient are getting harder and harder to find).
-visited a booth for the Mcleay Grange. Located just outside Salem they are organizing the local community to get ready for Peak Oil. They are teaching people to become self-sufficent. They are teaching local entreprenurism and community building.

I used to belong to a grange and I can tell you that in the past they were a pretty conservative group. All gung-ho for "Love it or leave it" patriotism. Seeing a grange organization say that we are in danger with the current administration and we are in danger with corporatism..WOW! what an amazing thing to hear. I plan to start attending thier meetings.

Other things I saw was information on building and maintaining your own bike and bike carts. finding community in a time of corporate greed and competition. It was so fine to see this. It feels like there may be ground swell of change happening from the people up.


Oh, BTW I also talked to a guy in the Oregon Agriculture Association. The booth was plastered with ads for pesticides and corporate propaganda. I tried to talk to him about biofuel and the Eastern Oregon Ranchers who are starting to raise Rapeseed plants and other oil producing plants for biofuel. He was all --"no,no, it will never work. Those ranchers would never fall for that scam. Petroleum is here to stay. People who talk about peak oil are whackos". I asked him what he would do when he can no longer get petro chemicals for his pesticides and herbicides. He told me there was more than enough supply for the next 100 years.

Well I did my part. I had lots of good conversations with people who are amazing. I really enjoyed myself yesterday. I feel hopeful and I am going to check out that grange program.
this is great news 03.Sep.2006 12:06

Ecotopian Yeti

Now we need to start getting people to identify as Cascadian and with bioregionalism.

State Fair...a great opportunity missed 03.Sep.2006 12:37

sal

There's an article in todays Sunday edition of the oregonian about the state fair having a new director. Hard to tell how many good ideas this guy may have, but the state fair sure needs some...representation from interest areas such as biofuel is one example, though I wouldn't know that the new guy is neccessarily responsible.

The state fair has always had great involvement by the rural parts of the state in agriculture, ranching, livestock, 4H, and horse breeding. The fair could actually expand on this by putting a little more light on the efforts of intrepid urban farmers. In the last week, the O had a story about people in town here keeping chickens for pets, but also for the fresh eggs they produce.

The forest service has a good display/information center, which I guess is ok, but where's the conservation people, like BARK. Seems like Sierra Club must have been there, but I can't remember.

The Oregon Country Fair was present last year. Wonder if they were this year, and what they've done.

For the most part, the fair is missing the opportunity to do what it's best suited to do: unite residents of the state through more emphasis on interests and concerns that both rural and urban areas share. Rural and urban both have an interest for the future in evolving electronic technology and how it relates to their lives, but did Microsoft, Apple or Linux have a booth there?

People in rural and urban areas are probably both interested in recreation such as bicycling, hiking, canoing and kayaking, but were there any reps from those sports, or people from organizations in different parts of the state that are working to promote and improve opportunities for that sort of thing in Oregon?

By now, state fair officials ought to have figured out that a lot of people, not just in the city are interested in skateboarding. You'd have thought they might have considered building a skating facility somewhere on the fairgrounds.

Seems like people in both rural and urban areas would be interested in booths, presentations and workshops related to growth, sound planning and effective citizen involvement too. I don't think I've ever seen much of that kind of thing there though. Maybe I'm just not looking. hard enough.

Heard this new director has set up some kind of electronic suggestion boxes. Did you see/use any of them?

The State Fair management really needs to get a little more in step with what all residents of the state share in common. A little more hip to the here and now.

Fair for Cascadia 03.Sep.2006 18:18

Marleen

Food for thought:

A CASCADIAN FAIR, each and every year.

another idea 03.Sep.2006 23:31

shedevil

Let's just take over the existing fairs-they're all foundering so it should be easy!

average americans ??? please 04.Sep.2006 22:58

average joe

the term average american somehow puts people on a higher pedistool: "we are better then the average american"
thats a bunch of BS.
As the author of this article found out the "average american" is already looking at issues such as peak oil. Lets put the elitism away. This author did the right thing by having discussions with people they might not usually talk to, can't judge a book by its cover, there is no such thing as an average person. And ecotpian yeti may be right, many of these "average americans"
may identify with such labels as "Cascadian"

Death to Whitey 06.Sep.2006 20:40

Ecotopian Yeti

The raping of this planet must stop. I urge everyone to call your state rep.