Greening Goals at the Gravenstein Apple Fair

Greening Goals at the Gravenstein Apple Fair image

The Gravenstein Apple Fair is Sonoma County Farm Trails' annual fundraiser. The event is a very sweet "country fair" experience that has been cherished by the community since its inception in 1973. Think cow milking, apple pies, amazing Bay Area bands, farm bounty, local libations, and smiling faces. Our focus is on creating a celebratory event that honors & strengthens the community's connection to our agricultural heritage, while promoting our local producers, artisans & makers, and of course, Sebastopol's heirloom apple.

Alan Siegle and Shelley Brown of Sonoma Compost/Renewable Sonoma are our esteemed Green Team managers. Below they have shared our successes and goals for the future:

Farm Trails is striving to reduce waste and bring awareness to community-focused waste diversion at the Apple Fair. This year, we successfully diverted approximately 80-85% from the landfill--163 pounds of good, leftover food was delivered to food banks thanks to our food vendors and Sonoma Food Runners, and the following was was collected at our ecostations: 25 cubic yards of recycling, 14 cubic yards of compostable paper goods, and over 6000 pounds of food scraps for a local pig farm. Most of this was accomplished by having “ecostations" with volunteers guiding fair guests on how to sort their discards. The response from the public was very positive, and our Green Team volunteers found it fun and rewarding. 

Due to the great results over the last three years, the City of Sebastopol and other events and venues around the County are looking to do the same. Saving the earth one step at a time! 

Here are some of the ways the Gravenstein Apple Fair is becoming one of the greenest events in the state:

Reducing—Vendors have agreed to use earth-friendly serviceware. No bottled water is sold. Guests are encouraged to drink free filtered water from fountains provided by Tony Pagliaro of Hydrologic Water Service, or to bring or purchase reusable water bottles to fill at the fountains. Commemorative, reusable beverage glasses are sold at cost.

Reusing—Food waste goes to local pigs. Unsold food is collected from vendors by Sonoma Food Runners and donated to food pantries. Under the guidance of Sonoma Compost/Renewable Sonoma, paper and plant materials are composted. Vendors are not allowed to use so-called “compostable” plastics as they contain a chemical not allowed in organic compost and aren’t accepted for composting in our County.

Recycling— Consistent with the latest guidelines from Recology, our local waste hauler, all glass and plastics larger than 4 inches are recycled.

Education—Green Team volunteers answer questions, provide recycling guides, and assist visitors at the ecostations.

Transportation—Bus, bike, walk, shuttle—Guests are encouraged to make their way to the fair in the most energy efficient way possible.

Together, we can make a difference. To join our Green Team, sign-up to volunteer!