The third annual Amherst Sustainability Festival will take place on Saturday April 21st from 10 AM-4 PM at the town common. This celebratory effort began in 2010 and features exhibits stressing the benefits of saving money through home energy conservation, sustainable energy sources, and some hands-on learning about alternative vehicles. Its main goals are to educate the public of environmental issues and teach them how to make better sustainability choices in their own lives.
A textile drive that will donate unwanted clothes and belongings to the Amherst Survival Center and Fisher Home Hospice will also be going on throughout the day. The event is free and will also have vendors and music promotingEarth Day awareness, which is the following day, April 22nd.
Earth Day, which began as an annual awareness day in 1970 was initially created for this date in hopes of attracting a large college audience during a time before final exams and after spring recess holidays. Planting a tree or reducing shower time are two of the easiest ways to contribute to the movement.
Its timing also coincides with the beginning of Amherst’s Farmers Market season, which features music, shopping, and food grown by local farmers throughout the spring and summer months. In past years, the festival has been sponsored by organizations such as The Town of Amherst Energy Task Force, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, Western Massachusetts Electric, and the Berkshire Gas Energy Efficiency Program. Local businesses not only benefit from this advertising, but also local residents selling items such as energy-efficient windows and crafts made from recycled materials.
The Amherst government website also has a list of ten ways that residents can help slow climate change on their own, one of which being to compost unused food, a step UMass has recently undertaken. One of UMass’ new strides to contribute to the sustainability movement was the addition of new waste bins to the Blue Wall Eatery in the Campus Center that feature separate receptacles for trash, paper, compost, and bottles. The campus Sustainability Manager, Physical Plant, and Auxiliary Services collaborated on this project to reduce the amount of compostable items being disposed of in the trash.
This event kicks off what should be an exciting weekend for sustainability in the Pioneer Valley.
If interested in renting a booth for the festival, please contact Energy Task Force Coordinator Stephanie Ciccarello at email@example.com at (413) 259-3149. The event is rain or shine, proven by those who stuck it out during last year’s unfortunate weather. Both booth spaces and parking are provided free of charge.