With fall fair comes fair food, but when you dig into your fries this year at the Salmon Arm Fall Fair, you won’t be holding a Styrofoam container or using a plastic fork.
And, if you have any leftovers, don’t head for the garbage bin, look for a composting barrel.
Long-time fall fair volunteer Lori Graham has been working long days to coordinate “going green” for the Salmon Arm Fall Fair. Graham, who has volunteered for 22 years, has introduced composting and recycling this year.
“There’s no Styrofoam allowed this year,” said Graham, a fair director and coordinator for the commercial booths and food vendors. “We’re doing this ‘going green’ in a big way.”
Graham was inspired to go green when she saw how much waste accumulated each year, especially from leftover food.
“I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t it work?’ I saw how much food goes in the garbage and thought ‘This could all go into compost. I’m going to do something.’”
Graham contacted about 80 food vendors to tell them about the eco-friendly changes.
“Not one person complained. The reaction was all positive. Many were already using recyclable materials. And, by emailing out all the vendor applications this year, I saved a ton of paper.”
Vendors were also supportive of the new composting initiative.
“There’s so much food being wasted and we really see that in the food court.”
All food vendors will be using wooden, biodegradable cutlery, dishes made from plant products and all ink is vegetable-based. Even the clear cups used by a popular lemonade stand are actually made from a corn-based product.
“We had to do something,” said Graham, who used to be in the food business herself and hated using Styrofoam. “We had so much Styrofoam in the garbage. It never breaks down.”
Graham admits going green has been a lot of work. She recently spent several days and her own funds creating eight-foot tall painted wooden scarecrows to help point out composting and recycling bins.
She even used salvaged barn wood to build an old-fashioned wagon with a canopy cover and painted wheels. The wagon will hold recycling and compost barrels, complete with lids Graham cut out herself to keep out wasps.
“The wood is from the Wagner farmhouse that was built in 1907 up on North Broadview.” Graham is excited to see the fair-going public use the blue recycling and green composting bins in the “recycling” wagon and around the fairgrounds. She has even bought composting bags that will biodegrade.
Graham is working on signs that point out what can and cannot be composted, as well as where to find the compost and recycling bins.
“It’s a lot of work and expense for the signs, but then we have them for next year,” said Graham, who is excited to see the new eco-friendly measures used by fair-goers.
“I think it’s going to be a hit.”
By going green at the fair, Graham hopes to encourage others to recycle and compost, as she does at her own home.
While many fairs recycle, said Graham, Salmon Arm may be among the first to offer composting. This year, said Graham, even the children’s area will be using recycled paper products for crafts.
The compost material gathered from the fair will be taken by a local farm. Graham says she plans to implement even more green ideas at next year’s fair.