Call me a crunchy chic, call me an earthy geek, but I had a GREAT time at Earthfest yesterday. If you missed it, too bad, but Oak Ridge is having its Earth Day next Saturday, April 24, 11am-3pm. Many of the same vendors will be there with the addition of lots more based in Oak Ridge. Check it out!
- Kids Tent: They had several eco-friendly crafts which Bobby loved. I'll be repeating some of these for them during the summer. They turned toilet paper rolls into bugs, made art with seeds and glue, and painted their own canvas bag with vegetables. Bobby painted his initials with a carrot, stamped shapes with potatoes, and made interesting effects with broccoli and artichokes.
- Thank you, Earthfare, for that $10 off $30 purchase coupon. I'll probably be using mine on 4/22 to get one of your free reusable bags along with organic apples, potatoes, and strawberries--on sale for $3--zowie! (Kroger had organic strawberries for $6.25 last week).
- All the major solar installers in Knoxville were there. In no particular order: EETN, Green Earth Solar, and Sustainable Future. If you own a business and are interested in solar, this is a particularly good time to pursue that technology. A system could pay for itself within 5-7 years!
- Alcoa was selling their very sturdy recycling bins for $5 each (a great value). Since we've loved the one we got last year, we picked up another one. Tip: If you don't yet recycle, start with aluminum and steel. I'll be posting about the many reasons why in the future.
- The Green Living Tent was filled with expert farmers. I learned there is not a single certified organic farmer in all of Tennessee, largely because of the expense and red tape involved. However, dedicated farmers to sustainable farming practices have created a comparable certification: Certified Naturally Grown. There are 15 CNG farms within 100 miles of Knoxville and 5 or 6 of them--including Organicism Farms and Colvin Family Farm--regularly sell at our farmers' markets. Look for them on your next visit.
- Farmer's Market tip: Off the record, some of the farmers I spoke with preferred the Market Square Farmer's Market to the others. Starting May 1, I'll probably be making that part of my routine: Saturdays 9am - 2pm, Wednesdays 11am - 2pm. We're also partial to the New Harvest Market because the kids can play on the playground and splash pad during the summer.
- I stopped to chat with the police in charge of the medication disposal program. I learned that they dispose of them through incineration. In a special giant oven with enormous heat, an entire batch of unwanted medication is evaporated within 30 seconds. Cool! This program is important to keep powerful medicines out of our water supply. So NEVER throw away extra antibiotics. Take them to the police department downtown instead.
- Finally, I was SO EXCITED to learn there is now a way to recycle styrofoam--what I call "the scourge of the earth." I bought a massive plastic bag from the Knoxville Recycling Coalition for $5. Once I fill that with as much styrofoam as I can fit, I drop it off at their Bearden location, take my bag home and fill it up again as many times as I need--no additional costs. With special machines, they compress an entire bag into a dense block you can hold. They in turn sell this to a company that uses it in their products. I encourage you to buy a bag to do the same. I'm going to offer to accept styrofoam for my entire neighborhood. Think about all the electronics, kids' toys, etc. that are shipped with styrofoam that now will never see landfill! Gives me the warm and fuzzies just thinking about it! ;-)