The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

August 26, 2012

Mother Earth News Fair coming to Seven Springs

Dave Sutor

CHAMPION — Sandor Ellix Katz refers to himself as a fermentation revivalist.

For years, the Cannon County, Tenn., resident has studied the benefits of the process that helps make foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, cheese, beer, bread, miso and more. And, next month, he will come to Seven Springs Mountain Resort to teach others about the techniques he uses during the Mother Earth News Fair.

“It’s a very important mode of transforming food,” said Katz.

Katz will be among the numerous presenters during the event scheduled for Sept. 21-23.

Attendees will get the chance to learn about organic farming, alternative energy, bee keeping, nutrition, off-grid living and other subjects. So far, more than 4,000 pre-sale tickets have been sold. Approximately 8,000 people attended the resort’s inaugural Mother Earth event in 2010, a total that increased to 10,000 last year. In order to accommodate the increased interest, the event was expanded to three days in 2012.

“Every year it gets a little bigger,” said Anna Weltz, Seven Springs’ communications manager.

Katz will give his one-hour presentation on Sept. 21.

He will discuss how he believes live-culture foods can help the body get connected to the natural world and lower susceptibility to disease.

Katz hopes to demystify the process, which our forefathers used for centuries, and make people interested in preparing their own fermented products in an age of pre-packaged, mass-produced, homogenized consumption.

“I think there is a strong desire among people to reclaim their food,” Katz said.

Katz will be one of nine keynote speakers, along with Sherri Brooks Vinton (home preserving), Gianaclis Caldwell (American cheese), Dan Chiras (true wisdom), Lyle Estill (sustainability), Temple Grandin (animal welfare), Barbara Pleasant (organic gardening), Joel Salatin (restoring historical normalcy) and Jenna Woginrich (community support in rural areas).

Many other individuals will make presentations or set up booths, including William Woys Weaver, Ph.D, a Mother Earth News contributing editor and member of the Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism. He will discuss the mainstreaming of heirloom foods.

“It is important to preserve this food heritage for several reasons,” said Weaver. “First and foremost, heirloom seeds are in the public domain; nobody owns them, so we can exchange them freely. Since they are open-pollinated they are effectively the most ‘natural’ of the food choices we have before us today, aside from wild foods.

“The biodiversity that heirlooms offer us is important not only from the standpoint of keeping up the genetic health of our food sources, but giving us more dietary choices; it is important that we consume as many different kinds of foods as we can in order to acquire the wide range of nutrients our bodies need.”

The Seven Springs event is considered an extension of Mother Earth News, a publication that has been dedicated to sustainability and environmentalism for four decades.

“It essentially brings the magazine to life,” said Andrew Perkins, Mother Earth News Fair manager and director of Merchandising & Events for Ogden Publications Inc.

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