Portal to the Future

The 2017 festival will once again feature a “Portal to the Future” area at the north end of the site that will highlight some of the ways that art, food, small-scale farming, renewable energy, care for the land, and hand skills all contribute to community-building and local resilience.

The newest addition to the Portal comes in the form of urine-collecting toilets provided in conjunction with The Rich Earth Institute, based in Brattleboro, Vermont. Rich Earth will be providing ecological sanitation with Best Septic.  They plan to collect approximately 1,200 gallons of urine at the festival, sanitize it with a mobile pasteurizing unit, and apply the urine to the grassy, festival fields afterwards.

In conjunction with Bruce Scherer and the Garlic and Arts Festival organizers, Rich Earth has acquired legal permission for this event from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Orange Board of Health.  The Rich Earth Institute conducts original research examining the safety and efficacy of using urine-derived fertilizers in agriculture.  Since the urine is pasteurized, there is no harmful impact to soil or water from this process.  Its another first for sustainability and resilience.

Kim Nace and AbeNoe-Hays from Rich Earth will be giving a talk on Urine Diversion and Use as Fertilizer at 3:00 PM on Sunday as part of the two-day series of Renewable Energy and Local Living Talks.  In addition to this demonstration project which shows how Rich Earth can close the nutrient cycle (nitrogen and phosphorus from human urine returning to soils), they will be conducting social research at the festival. They plan to ask festival participants about their feelings and perceptions about urine derived fertilizers. Using electronic tablets, the survey will take 3-5 minutes. Please stop by their booth so they can collect your thoughts and reactions.

E-Bikes, Trikes, and full size Electric cars, such as this Chevy Volt, will again be on display.  Battery technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, and Massachusetts still has great incentives for owning or leasing a variety of makes and models of brand new EVs.



Make sure to step through the portal for:

  • presentations on renewable energy, green buildings, growing food, and much more in the Energy tent
  • exhibitors showcasing renewable technology and skills
  • urine-collecting porta potties and
  • good food including garlic ice cream!