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Being part of the pack-down crew at Peats Ridge music festival has a lot more work involved then one would imagine. A lot more than I had imagined.

The idea behind this New Years festival is to be sustainable while providing art, music, and workshops. As they’re website states, “a major part of the Peats Ridge experience is finding out how to live more sustainably, and therefore reduce our impact on the beautiful Glenworth Valley, and the planet as a whole.”

One way in which this is achieved is by composting all the food waste – minus meat – in massive built up compost bins created by yours truly. During the day we separated the paper material like cups, plates, and cutlery from the food waste that were all deposited into the compost bins. The paper material is then shredded (including waste boxes laying around the festival) and is used as a brown layer between the compost. It’s a great way to ensure that a mix of green and browns is evenly distributed to the compost. It’s also an amazing way to divert such a large quantity of food waste that is left around after 5000 people eat at a festival. Go team compost!

Calgary Folk Festival takes the approach of providing plastic plates that require a $5 deposit for use. Each vendor is required to use the plates which are obtained at a kiosk. Ironically, each year youth end up making a killing by walking around the beer gardens offering to “remove” plates from the drunken patrons. Combining both options seems like a more optimal and sustainable approach as you are not creating more demand for paper products. Thus further reducing teh festivals ecological imprint.

“Can you guys come over to the festival vendors bin to help out?” – why not I thought. When we arrived at this massive garbage bin provided for the food vendors it was filled with food. Around the base of the bin there was mounds and mounds of corn. Apparently, a vendor was not as successful as they had figured they would be to hungry festival goers. Instead they determined it was more economical to throw away the corn, 5 KG of pinto beans, a box of ginger, boxes of uncooked Turkish bread, and 4 x 20 KG bags of potatoes.

Did they expect that vendors at the festival would act in such disconnected fashion to the festival? I sat there stunned. Then Chris, my old friend from a permaculture school, and I proceeded to place the corn into milk crates and give it out to the workers around the festival. Liberate the corn one cob at a time!

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The Otesha Project (Australia) are setting up another two bicycle tours this year to ride around regional areas of Australia. Each group consists of about 15 – 20 participants and gather together performing a comical theatrical performance and workshops that help youth feel empowered to make small changes that will have massive impacts in the world! We target youth from year 7+ and engage them around environmental and social justice issues – moving them towards considering more sustainable consumption patterns.

Now I need your help! We are trying to fundraise money so that we can pay for the entire program and I’ll be riding along too (since I’ve been volunteering most of my time and getting paid very little I thought it was appropriate to ask people for some help). If you have a few bucks lying around and think you could donate it only takes a second. Every gold coin or bill helps us reach our goal that much more.

Plus it would mean that we would have enough funding to provide liability insurance while on the road, follow-up with youth after the trip, and support members while riding on the tour.

If you would like to help us check out our donation page here.

Thanks for your support it means SOOO much!

Peace and bike grease,

Shane