Land & Environmental

Green Fair touts Earth care

Conceived as a festival of fun with informational and educational value, this Saturday’s Earth Day Green Fair will feature environmental sustainability activities on the front lawn of the Bryan Community Center. The events will take place Saturday, April 18, from noon to 4 p.m.

“We’re trying to change our lives,” event organizer Rob Content said in a recent interview. He looked at Jorie Sieck, a youth organizer, and added, “as grownups, this is a challenge.” Content thinks that events like the Earth Day Fair bring people together, and that working together is what makes personal change possible.

Living Green co-owner C.J. Williams defines “green” as anything with a focus on sustainability that is good for the Earth and good for individuals. More than 20 tables representing green individuals, green businesses and green non-profits are confirmed for the day, she said.

Live music by the Wild Hares and other area musicians will set a festive backdrop throughout the day, and refreshments and snacks from Sunrise Café and the Emporium will be the only items available for purchase. Local green non-profits and green businesses with an educational mission will host information booths and activities across the lawn, and those interested in hosting a table in the fair can still get involved.

The event calls for collaboration between individual groups, organizer Cindy Sieck, of Green Environmental Coalition, said recently at an organizers’ meeting.

“We’re all doing things, but when we come together, we can see the level of impact” that area organizations are having on awareness about environmental issues, she said.

This year’s fair is the second Earth Day event supported by grants from YSI. Other sponsors include the Green Environmental Coalition, Community Solutions and Living Green. Focused on promoting the three R’s — reduce, reuse and recycle — organizers also felt it important to add two more: repair and repurpose.

One kid’s trash will become another kid’s treasure at the kids free toy exchange, an event — managed by Miri Nasoff of Pass It On Kids — that can help youth learn to rethink their relationship with “stuff.”

Further challenging the idea that there is an “out” to “throw things,” kids’ old t-shirts can get a chance at a second decorated life, repurposed with the help of artist Libby Rudolf.

“Everybody probably has old t-shirts they don’t wear anymore,” Rudolf said, and with the help of a few choice cuts, ties, and textile paint, “kids can learn how to make a new thing out of an old thing.”

The Really Really Free Store will be an exercise in rethinking stuff for adults. Have stuff you no longer need? Simply lay it out for others to have, knowing that the goods are going to be utilized by members of your community.

Vanessa Query, a local advocate for the Really Really Free Market concept, says this is an exercise in resource sharing and rethinking the capitalist notions we have in modern society. The free market is not an exchange; rather, it is based on a gift economy, and is meant to challenge the idea that “you can’t get something for nothing.”

Earth Day has a history that parallels our present time, said Content. Initiated by Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, Earth Day marked a larger movement to get environmental issues into the minds of policy makers nationwide. This movement is back, Content said, as society asks itself how it will deal with the issues it faces, such as petroleum use.

The value of a one-day gathering lies in the ideas it can inspire about what is possible for us, Nancy Grigsby, co-owner of Living Green and organizer for the event said. Coming from a background in social work, Grigsby thinks witnessing others making changes, both large and small, in their own lives, can inspire those like herself — who might not see themselves as environmentalists — to make similar changes.

While area youth get their hands in the dirt with Smaller Footprint Farms — planting seeds in paper planting pots they craft from reused newsprint — adults in tow might discover the impact of industrialized agriculture while talking with local growers about the systemic advantages of buying and growing local food.

Sidewalk chalk will be provided for sidewalk murals, and youth activities will also include the announcement of the results of the second annual poster contest held in conjunction with Yellow Springs schools, sponsored by Unfinished Creations, Mr. Fubs and Living Green.

Organizations including Tecumseh Land Trust, Orion Farms, Heartbeat Community Farms, the Yellow Springs Community Library, Rain Brothers, netØhome, and BW Greenway will transform the lawn into an information-sharing arena.

In case of rain, the event will be moved inside the First Presbyterian Church at 314 Xenia Avenue. Organized this year by committee members C.J. Williams, Nancy Grigsby, Amanda Banaszak, Bob Moore, Rob Content, Cindy Sieck, and Vicki Hennessey, others are encouraged to contact C.J. at livinggreenstore {at} yahoo(.)com or 767-2028 to get a place on the lawn or to help organize further events.

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