Just when you think festival season is over and you’ve started putting pickles in jars, zucchini in fritters and flip flops into summer storage, one last hurrah of a fall festival draws a sold out crowd to the rural community of Clearwater where community celebrates the rural ethic of work hard, play hard, be good and eat well!
These precepts epitomize Harvest Moon Festival where new and old community gather to celebrate, educate and sustain individuals, communities and forward thinking about topics essential to health and well being, economic development and family farming.
In its 15th glorious year, the Festival continues to delight audiences with the talents of mainly Manitoba musicians. In addition, education and information sharing play a significant role in the event.
Festival goers can attend informative, often hands-on workshops, which are free with admission.
According to workshop coordinator Clint Cavers, the workshop series is something that sets Harvest Moon apart from almost all other festivals. He says many attendees frequent the festival because of the high caliber of workshops offered – and as evidenced by the lineups and overflowing classrooms, the learning sessions are a huge hit.
Personally, the workshops at Harvest Moon have clinched my desire to attend every year, and each year I leave with new ideas, enthusiasm and excitement to bring to my profession, personal life and rural endeavors.
Past years have offered a varied and eclectic range of topics – from Laughter Yoga, Permaculture Techniques, Horticulture as Therapy, Wild Food Foraging, Blacksmithing, Food Production and Processing – all well attended and offered by a range of individuals, from world class scientists to back yard hobbyists, visionaries, farmers, trades folks, etc.
Cavers line up for this year was outstanding as usual, including Natural Burial, Why Fungi Matter, Home Brewing, Climate Change and Agriculture, Political Reform, Sketchbook Design, Urban Beekeeping and more.
Cavers and crew recognize the sophisticated participants who attend often return home with life changing information and practical skills in how to go forward. Attendees appreciate that in addition to workshop content, intelligent and informed questions are asked, wonderful discussion and info sharing occurs and another layer of community is built.
Wendy Beulow has frequented several Harvest Moon festivals and workshops over the years. She and partner David Lewis were delighted with this year’s choice of topics and content that informed and inspired them.
Beulow attended the Mycelium Running workshop and was “surprised to discover fungi are not plants – and how important the mycelium family is to the health of people and planet.”
Lewis, a lawyer, attended the Natural Burial workshop facilitated by Jackie Avent, and was intrigued to discover that “ownership of a deceased body remains with the family for 72 hours after death.”
He was also surprised to learn of the negative environmental effects of traditional burials and cremation. Land owners, such as myself, Cavers and his wife Pam, were enlightened and curious about alternative options that allow burial on ones land.
Chatting with the Cavers, I quickly get a sense of the community that has developed in the Clearwater area. Both Pam and Clint coordinate key parts of the festival and their kids have been involved over the years. It is a very family friendly festival, and many workshops accommodate the all ages crowd.
This year James Culleton did a sketchbook workshop – encouraging the artist within all to emerge. Elisheva Diamond, 12, learned basic techniques and lots of encouragement to “just do it” without fear. Culleton’s hope was to encourage mindful observation and enthusiasm for documenting what one sees.
I was not able to attend all workshops this year. Some overlap, others were too full, – but in the spirit of the festival, I was able to meet and chat with all facilitators and to make connections with those whose topics I would like to pursue further.
If there is one down side to the wonderful workshop series at Harvest Moon – it would be that there is not enough time to attend them all!