They say it takes a village to raise a child. It’s so true. And not just of babies, but also of baby festivals. We couldn’t have raised this year’s fest, our first at Cityfolk Farm, our first go at two days, our first with a campground, and so many more firsts, without the dedicated support of our volunteer coordinators. This year, our group was small, but fierce and passionate!
Marisa Loreno // Enviro Coordinator
We truly struck gold when Marisa signed on to join the fest team as Enviro Coordinator. It was amazing to find someone whose passion for sustainable events matched and exceeded our own! When we told Marisa of our hopes to go paper napkin free, introduce composting toilets and eco-friendly hand-wash stations, try out a cup refill scheme, have comprehensive compost, recycling, and landfill sorting stations, and more, she hardly batted an eye. Here are some of the kick-ass ways Marisa implemented and exceeded our goals for this year (and I am sure we are missing something!):
It was important to us to have clearly marked, simple to use, effective waste management stations, where food waste is really composted, and the remainder is properly sorted for recycling and landfill. Marisa upped our game, by sharing how little is actually compostable in backyard style compost heaps – and worked out a way to separately collect industrial compost to be taken away for proper processing. She helped to hunt down bins for industrial compost, bin liners, and so much more. She and her team sorted every bin to remove items that belonged elsewhere, which is no small or beautiful task. The result was a shockingly small amount of landfill waste. Credit also goes to fest-goers who took time to properly dispose of things, and to those who brought reusable dishes and food packaged in reusable containers. You are awesome. Thanks!
Marisa brought along her top choices for eco-friendly dishwashing soap and hand-soap for the dish-washing station and hand-washing stations. Along with our own family and some relatives, Marisa collected and cut towels, cloths and other previously used fabrics for the hand-wash stations at the compost-toilet outhouses, so we could avoid paper towels or other single-use options. Mike laid about 900′ of pipe out to the campground water tap, hand wash station and shower. His mom, Adeline, and Marisa kept you all stocked with clean towels, regularly laundering them and re-stocking throughout the weekend. We felt like this was a fantastic system and hope that you enjoyed it! Much thanks also to Daniel & Kara for coming out to help plumb in water at the washrooms and hand-wash station – and best of all, the outdoor shower. We’re looking forward to working on getting some heat into that shower for next year!
Cloth Napkin Initiative
One of our goals for this year was to eliminate paper napkins at the fest, and to offer cloth napkins to fest-goers as a replacement. Marisa took on the collection of donations of homemade or gently used cloth napkins, and also sewed a bunch of napkins herself. Her team strung up the napkins on fest weekend, and made sure there were baskets for fest-goers to deposit used napkins for laundering and re-use on the second day of the fest. She and Adeline, Mike’s mom, made sure there was a steady supply of napkins all weekend. Thanks to all who sewed and donated napkins (Winnipeg Sews and Sew Dandee each sewed between 30-60 napkins!), and to Organic Planet Worker Co-op for being a drop-off point! This was such a special addition to the event.
Further Steps to Eliminate Single-use Plastics
Since 2015, we have outlawed single-use water bottle sales at the fest. This year we wanted to take it further, and implement a reusable cup program. We struck up a bring your own cup or mug initiative and Marisa brought in stainless steel cups through her project, Zero Waste Manitoba, so that fest-goers had the option to purchase or rent a cup (with a full refund upon return) to use for the weekend. We set up a dish-washing station for washing cups between uses (see above), and our Food Coordinator, Janaya, ensured that all food vendors were in the know regarding the program. We’re looking forward to implementing a plate program in the near future!
Sage Tozeland // Campground Coordinator
Sage, Campground Coordinator for the 2019 fest, brought so much warmth and light to the weekend! She set up camp herself, and was there to greet campers, and to answer any questions. Sage and other campground crew members kept the fire going at Ember Alley, and checked in on the campground composting toilet, hand wash and shower stations regularly. She offered encouragement and love to us and other fest community members!
Some photos from the campground and fire pit area! Thanks also to all of our dear friends, neighbours and volunteers who helped with trimming trees, chipping wood, painting signs, and creating the fire pits at Ember Alley! Also thanks to Clint from Firewood Manitoba for lending us the fire rings for the weekend and bringing a big wood-fired hot tub!
Janaya Koberstein // Attendee Food Coordinator
The fest wouldn’t be the same without delicious, nourishing food to keep fest-goers fuelled for learning and fun. Thanks to Attendee Food Coordinator, Janaya Koberstein, we had several wonderful options this year! Cafe Postal was back again, after joining us in 2015, they’ve quickly become a fest staple. New this year, was the Hachere Collective, including Loaf & Honey, Atomic, Purple Hibiscus and Roughage Eatery.
Fest Food Lane
Janaya connected with food vendors to ensure they had all the necessary permits, had a good variety of options for various preferences and needs, and liaised with them regarding our ban on single-use plastics, and reusable cup program as well as the cloth napkin initiative (vendors were informed not to bring paper napkins). Janaya greeted vendors to help them find their places, and checked in over the weekend. She also managed the backend of our Fest Bucks system – our volunteers get wooden tokens that are redeemable at the food and drink vendors. At the end of the weekend, she makes sure they are tallied and collected, so that our vendors get reimbursed. Much thanks to Janaya for taking this on for the second time!
Jennivieve McRae King // Volunteer Food Coordinator
Equally important as nourishment for fest-goers, is fuel for our volunteers! Jennivieve has been nourishing our crew since the beginning in 2013, and we can’t imagine it any other way. She spearheads the food, and her whole family pitches in to prepare three meals for Friday fest set up day. This year we enjoyed homemade granola and yogurt, BBQ hot dogs and hollyhock salad, sloppy joe on a bun, baked potatoes, caesar salad, and more! It’s such a blessing to the volunteer community!
Some photos of fest set-up day food. Mmmm.
Mark Walc // Summer Camp Supper Coordinator
We were thrilled to have a small team handle the transition between the day of learning and the post-fest Summer Camp Supper on Saturday. The dinner was held in one of the workshop tents, which meant it required a quick tear-down of the workshop space and set up of the dinner. Mark made sure all of the pieces came together, including tables, chairs, gorgeous flowers by Masagana Flower Farm, compost pails and scrapers, and more.
Summer Camp Supper
Some images from our lovely evening of breaking bread together!