Kanawha Valley Sustainability Fair

Against all odds last Saturday, I made it to the Kanawha Valley Sustainability Fair.
I could be wrong, but I think it was the second annual. I remember seeing advertising for it last year, but I didn’t make it. However, two of my coworkers did, and shared some ideas afterward. That’s where I got the idea to make my rain barrel rather than buy one for upwards of $100. I have like $30 in mine. And it’s bigger.
Anway, the reason I really wanted to make it to the fair this year is because the Monroe Farm Market was going to be there. A cooking demonstration was scheduled with kids from the PROSTART program (that’s the high school vocation food program). Free samples. ‘Nuf said.

At any rate, I didn’t make it in time for the cooking demo, but I walked around the fair for about an hour. As I was driving there (highly discouraged, by the way… there was bicycle parking and free shuttles from downtown) I couldn’t believe how crowded it was. You couldn’t get near the place. I got lucky and found a parking spot, though.

I didn’t get any groundbreaking ideas like the rain barrel from last year, but it was nice to browse the booths. I gladly participated in a survey by the organizers to help make it better for next year. I also tried some AWESOME ramp-infused olive oil. The lady had some Italian bread to dip it in. She said she also used it to make fried potatoes and scrambled eggs. If I would have had $10 or my checkbook, I would have bought some. But at any rate, I think I’ll try to make some next spring. I don’t have any ramps now, or I would.

It was nice to see that so many people are taking an interest in sustainability, especially in a place like Charleston. We’re not as cosmopolitan in that respect as some larger urban markets such as San Francisco. 
I might have missed the cooking demo, but I did get to stop by the Monroe Farm Market booth and talk to a couple of my favorite farmers. I even got my picture taken with John Spangler from Spangler’s Greenhouse. He’s a hoot.
photo credit: John Spangler
I wish Jeremy could have gone with me. I think he would have kinda dug it. Actually, there was even a Division of Forestry booth. I’ve gotten him on the bandwagon with eating locally because of the quality and taste of the food. That the most important for him. The health and environmental benefits are secondary. He helps out with the recycling, but I think only because he knows it makes me happy.
At first, he was a hard sell on the whole “green revolution,” but one of the easiest ways (and actually what got me started) to get someone to start thinking about it, is to pose it in terms of money. Often, it’s cheaper to be green. Reducing your electric, water, gas consumption not only helps the planet, but more importantly, it puts more money in your pocket. Same goes with buying harsh household cleaners or things like Drano. There is tons of information out there on the internet about mixing your own cleaners with things you probably have around your house like vinegar. And free, if not cheap, fixes for lots of things you would buy chemicals for. Everybody knows CFLs last way longer than incandescent light bulbs (although disposing of them is still a concern). We’ve even gotten a nice little kitty here and then from taking our aluminum cans to the recycling place. Especially when the price of gas was so high–aluminum was going for something crazy like 89 cents a pound. We made a killin’.
At any rate, I was so glad to see how many people turned out for the Sustainability Fair. I’m sure next year’s will be even bigger. Maybe I’ll try to schedule a little better and get in on the free samples next year.
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