Green Living Fair holds inaugural event

Jen Hornaday of Healthy Bees Healthy Gardens brought her honeybees to the Green Living Fair on Saturday.

Sustainable living enthusiasts turned out for the inaugural Green Living Fair on Saturday (April 23) in the Cottage Grove Armory.

“Today is about learning how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and to reduce our carbon footprint and just bring the community together to learn a whole bunch of new ways of living so we can be Earth friendly,” said Executive Director of Singing Creek Educational Center Karen Rainsong.

Singing Creek and local nonprofit EcoGeneration Recycling co-produced the event with the help of several other local entities. A grant from the Cottage Grove Community Foundation provided the seed money to help start project, with the City of Cottage Grove, Covered Bridge Brewing Group, Dirt Cheap Copies, The Bookmine, NextStep Recycling Donation Center and Coast Fork Brewing providing further sponsorship.

Thirty-two vendors set up at the fair, providing a wide range of “green living” materials and information about sustainable living. Plants, seeds, food from local farms, block printmaking and even beekeeping were on display.

The Green Living Fair featured workshops, starting with a roundtable on youth mental health. The day also included education on plastic recycling from EcoGeneration, a film screening of “Plastic Paradise”, a recycled art project for kid’s hosted by MECCA (Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts, a home fermentation class from Coast Fork Brewing and a permaculture design workshop.

An awards ceremony was also held for youths in the area who participated in a poster art contest. Six winners from fourth and fifth grade were awarded, with all the children’s posters decorating the walls of the Armory for the event.

The two nonprofits which co-produced the fair do both educational and hands-on work in the community.

EcoGeneration works with Lane County as a community collector and also recycles within several other streams of waste unique to the organization. It hosts weekly plastic collections at various locations in Lane County.

The group’s Cottage Grove take-back events for 2022 are scheduled on the second Sunday of every month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Singing Creek Educational Center develops historically-inspired educational programs. Its interactive history programs (which include dressing in period costumes), field trips and crafts classes are designed to connect kids to history and nature in meaningful ways.

“We’re really working sustainability and nature appreciation more into our historical programming, because it’s so important that the kids learn all of the old-fashioned, hands-on ways of doing things,” said Rainsong. “And we want them to continue doing that into the future to see that this is a way that we can make less trash is by making our own things and reusing things and making stuff from scratch.”

Rainsong hoped attendees to the Saturday’s fair would walk away with a deeper appreciation for sustainable living.

“It’s important to note that we can all do something to help mitigate climate change. Even if you want to just start small with recycling and riding your bike more, or making friendlier choices for the planet, when you shop for your groceries, there’s always something we can do. And it’s really important to take it seriously and to work together as a community on those initiatives that will really help us move forward with our goals of reducing our carbon footprint.”

With Saturday’s successful turnout, Rainsong looks forward to making the fair an annual community fixture.

“Since Earth Day will be on a Saturday next year, I think we’re going to do something again with EcoGeneration Recycling,” she said. “I’m not sure where it’s going to be yet, but it’ll be fun.”

More information about EcoGeneration can be found at its website at www.ecogeneration.org and Singing Creek at www.singingcreekcenter.org.

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