Fair offers tips on sustainable living
South Shore Celebration! Marshfield Fairgrounds,
South River Street, Marshfield
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. rain or shine
$3, $6 for families; parking free
Believers in a close-to-home, do-it-yourself, energy-efficient lifestyle have combined to organize the region’s first “sustainable living’’ fair. Called the “South Shore Celebration!,’’ the event showcases 70 area vendors offering information and encouragement on everything from how to feed your lawn on table scraps and make your own soap and candles, to finding a caterer who serves local organic food.
“We’ve been wanting to have an event like this in our backyard,’’ said Paula Keif, owner of the Go Green Directory, which lists local green businesses and services. The online directory is one of the event’s three prime movers, along with the advocacy group Sustainable South Shore and the local food magazine Edible South Shore.
“The organization needed to step out to reach a broader audience,’’ said Ben Cowie-Haskell, president of Sustainable South Shore, whose members spread the gospel of conserving energy and protecting the environment through 15 local chapters.
The three groups joined forces to build on a smaller “green living’’ event held annually in Hull and attract an audience big enough to move the sustainable living agenda “into the mainstream,’’ Cowie-Haskell said.
The volunteer-run event draws on a wide array of local resources.
“It’s family-oriented, focuses on all aspects of sustainable living choices, and will also feature local and organic food with sustainable practices,’’ said volunteer Lorrie Gampp Dahlen, a local farmer and the chairwoman of the Marshfield Agricultural Commission.
The fair’s centerpiece will be two large tents housing vendors and nonprofit organizations that will be selling food and other products, offering services, or providing free information, said festival volunteer Katherine Rossmoore.
“Our festival is attracting a lot of buzz, now that we have over 70 vendors including Whole Foods Market , who will be giving away some free swag [promotional merchandise], tons of interesting workshops, an electronics recycling station, and a full menu of hand-crafted local foods,’’ said Rossmoore.
Attractions include renewable energy hardware such as a demonstration wind turbine, solar panel installations, a solar-powered “personal transport vehicle’’ created by engineer Bill James, and an all-electric Chevrolet Volt.
Among the festival’s workshops and demonstrations, local chef and restaurateur Martha Stone of Plymouth will show how to turn locally grown fall vegetables into delicious meals. Sustainable Marshfield will demonstrate how to create safe, homemade household cleaning and hygiene products out of ingredients such as baking soda. “You know what you’re putting into it,’’ said Dahlen.
For Keif, the first regional sustainable living fair is a kind of real time enactment of the virtual universe created by her Go Green Directory. Her three-year-old online directory lists local services and businesses that help people become more energy efficient.
Keif said her business began when she sought a local inventory of green businesses and services. For her, the “South Shore Celebration!’’ is about connecting local people to local resources.
“It’s really not difficult to be green,’’ Keif said. “It’s all about baby steps. I built the website with that in mind. My life is a journey; I take baby steps.’’
Those steps include matters such as changing your cleaning products to get rid of possibly dangerous chemicals, walking to the post office instead of getting into the car, riding a bike to work, or taking an organic approach to lawn care.
Other event sponsors include South Shore Organics of Duxbury, which delivers fresh local and organic products; Metech Recycling, which invites fairgoers to bring their old electronics such as cellphones and TVs to be recycled or safely disposed; Door Knock Dinners, a Norwell caterer who delivers home-cooked meals with local ingredients; and the Green Connection of Scituate, which turns yard waste into mulch, compost, topsoil, and loam.
“There really is something for everyone,’’ Keif said.
And that something could be food. On the festival’s menu are farmhouse sandwiches, rustic pizza, homemade Greek yogurt, sweet or savory galettes, pulled pork, black bean and zucchini pancakes with a yogurt-cucumber dill sauce, roasted veggie quesadillas, and egg rolls with cranberry wasabi, among many other choices. It’s good to fuel up when you’re thinking about saving energy.
Robert Knox can be reached at email@example.com.