The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival strives to keep our footprint soft, while modeling environmentally sound practices (and having fun while doing it!). Festival environmental values and practices include:
10,000 people and only 3 bags of trash! At our recycling stations you will separate compostables, recyclables, and the only trash you’ll find is near the porta-potties. Food vendors all use compostable plates and utensils and we hope you’ll skip the need to bring in that foam coffee cup as they can’t go in the compost or be recycled.
We are fortunate to have a great local business, Clearview Compost, who helps transform the festival compostables into fertile soil for local gardens. Each festival year, depending on attendance numbers, somewhere around 100 really big bags of compostables are kept out of the waste stream. Over a year’s time at Clearview Compost and with ample help from microbes and worms, this is transformed into fertile finished compost, an average of 10 cubic yards. To give you a sense of what this is, if you mix it 50/50 with loam, you can make 20 beautiful 4 x 8 raised bed gardens for those in need of fresh food. Which is exactly what Seeds of Solidarity, the festival umbrella organization, does!
Based on the experience of 24 years of festival events, we also have suggestions for how you can bring Green and Trash Free concepts to life at your next festival (large or small) or other gathering. For example, here is how to transition to trash-free. And here are ideas for small gatherings. Materials that are compostable are important, sorting is essential, and don’t forget water. It can be fun and a great learning experience to make events trash free. Try it!
We offer a free shuttle, and require carpools of 3 or more (or those needing accessible parking of course) for on-site parking. Hikers can enjoy a moderately strenuous 40 minute hike from the shuttle lot directly to the festival too, and it is a great biking destination.
Renewable Energy and Education
We have an amazing line-up of energy conservation, renewable energy, agricultural skills, and “local livelihood” presentations and demonstrations throughout the weekend for you to enjoy and learn from. Come to the Portal and check out the Electric Vehicles on display. Since 2001 we have used solar energy to generate green electricity for two music and entertainment stages. You can learn more about renewable energy, land conservation, and organic farming during the Festival from the many community organizations hosting booths at the festival.
Local Forest Products
We have built tables and performance stages using locally harvested wood, reducing fuel used to transport lumber to the area and supporting our local foresters, loggers, and sawmills. Make sure to visit the timber framing and other woodworking booths at the festival to learn more about our local forest resources.
Our “water for the people” policy, provide free potable water rather than selling bottled water. Bottled water costs thousands of times more than tap water, and producing and shipping plastic water bottles (90% of which end up in the garbage) requires millions of barrels of oil. Bottled water also depletes aquifers that farms and communities around the world rely on. Bring your bottle to refill, or buy a re-usable water bottle adorned with the festival logo.
Food and Agriculture
- Food and Water Watch provides great information about the issues with bottled water.
- Clean Energy Solutions – Learn how to Save on Energy Bills by Installing Renewable Heating, Hot Water, & Cooling Solutions.
- North Quabbin Energy is an informal group of people in north-central Massachusetts who are concerned about issues relating to energy use. Chat with them at the festival!
- There are many on-line sources for small quantities of compostable products and many area food coops carry these too. Mansfield Paper in Springfield MA supplies compostable products in bulk quantities.
- Nesea.org connects sustainable building and energy professionals with ideas and each other. Find out how you can visit solar and energy efficient buildings near you.
- Learn about Driving Green with the Mass Green Energy Consumers Alliance