Living Local Harvest Fest: A natural celebration
If you attend the third annual Living Local Harvest Festival (LLHF) this weekend, don't be surprised if your appetite changes for many things - and not just for food.
Presented by the Vineyard Energy Project, Vineyard Conversation Society, Island Grown Initiative and the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society, LLHF aims to excite and inform Vineyarders about what it is - and what it will take - to become self-sustaining individually and as a community.
"The Living Local Harvest Fest is a day to celebrate the harvest and bounty of the Island, as well as to raise awareness and education in both kids and adults, about how we can live more sustainably," says Randi Baird, LLHF organizer and founding member of Island Grown Initiative.
According to Ms. Baird, people don't have to be consumed by eco-consciousness, but rather to have the will to learn, to be open to a new way of doing things, and to want to contribute to the reduction of the literal and metaphorical carbon footprint. That's all you need as a starting point.
Beginning tomorrow night, October 2, at 7:30, all Islanders are welcome to attend a free open discussion at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury about the challenges and possibilities the next generation of Vineyarders will face.
This Saturday, Oct. 3, in the festive and lively atmosphere of the Ag Hall in West Tisbury, people will be offered information, relevant activities, and of course, food. In one tent there will be several straightforward panel discussions on Wind Power, Wampanoag Environmental Leadership, Waste, and Food.
Another tent will feature interactive demonstrations on gardening, preserving food, fishing, and beekeeping with Ms. Baird and Fred Thornburgh.
And children have not been forgotten. There will be a tent with old-fashioned hands-on activities like "Fun with Fiber," a demonstration on how worms make compost, "Doll Making," using corn husks, and another about insect life.
"The festival makes it easy to bring vendors and local organizations together to share and pave the way with doable, step-by-step information" says Ms. Baird. "Living Local wants people to understand that being part of the solution isn't out of reach."
In addition to the featured discussions and activities, there will be exhibits from local businesses and Island nonprofit organizations, there will be a hay bale maze, pumpkin carving, cider pressing, a pie eating contest, an antique power show and delicious local food courtesy of Morning Glory Farm and other generous contributors. And this week the West Tisbury Farmer's Market will be held outside the Ag Hall, instead of its usual site at the Grange on State Road.
ECO MV will provide compost, recycle, and waste stations, as well as interactive, educational demonstrations, to create a no-trash event. The spirit behind the Harvest Fest is a result of the people involved, individually and collectively, who share a belief and a dedication to supporting the cause of self-sustainability on the Island.
Suzanne Slarsky Dael of the Vineyard Energy Project, an advocacy group that promotes renewable energy on the Island, draws parallels between the Vineyard and the Danish island of Samsø (pop. 4,300), which has achieved energy independence through wind and solar power. She says, "Energy remains a key element of the Living Local Festival. Our panel discussion will focus on one of our most abundant resources, the wind."
Ms. Dael believes the Vineyard has the capacity to become more energy independent, achieving more local control of, and benefit from, the natural resources on and around the Island, and points to all those who have already expressed support for the development of a new local energy cooperative.
Tad Crawford of West Tisbury, a director of the Vineyard Conservation Society, says, "We work hard to engage the community in conservation initiatives. Our highest priorities are land protection, water quality, energy conservation and waste management - hence our interest in everything that the Living Local Harvest Festival has come to mean."
Third annual Living Local Harvest Festival, 7:30 pm, Friday, Oct. 2, at the Grange Hall, West Tisbury, discussion "The Next Generation of Martha's Vineyard." Saturday, Oct. 3, 9 am to 3 pm, at the Ag Hall, demonstrations, art, music, food, activities, more. Attendees please bring a tote bag and beverage container for local water for the day's event and your own place settings to the community potluck Saturday evening. livinglocalharfestfest.org.
Ray Whitaker of Oak Bluffs is a freelance writer who hosts local trivia nights and WMVY's "Just Four Guys."