By Jennifer Victor-Larsen
Are you looking for a free, fun, all-ages event that will help you live more sustainably?
On Saturday morning, Aug. 13, the nonprofit Donate Good Stuff will host the first Eco Fair following its annual 5K fundraiser race in Como Park. All events are rain or shine, starting at the Como picnic pavilions at 1199 Midway Parkway near the ball fields.
With the mission of sustainable and equitable reuse, Donate Good Stuff connects people who have donation items with nonprofits that need them.
Kickoff run starts at 8:30 a.m., Eco Fair at 9:00
The 5K fundraiser is open to all. Runners will gather at 7:30 a.m. and set off at 8:30 a.m. from the Midway Picnic Pavilions to circle Como Lake and return to the starting point. Some people run a competitive race; others set their own pace. Prizes go to the top three finishers, and all profits go to Donate Good Stuff. Profits come from runners who pay an entry fee to participate in the race.
Back at the pavilions, the open-air Eco Fair runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors will find distance friendly booths focusing on all aspects of sustainable living, including creative reuse and donation, recycling and reducing our carbon footprint in practical, innovative ways. Local eco-friendly nonprofits and community groups will host fun activities for all ages.
• With MN SEED, make a seed ball and learn how plants create healthy ecosystems.
• With the Minnesota Tool Library, make fire starters using leftover wood shavings.
• With Ramsey County Fix-It Clinic folks, learn how skill-sharing saves money and reduces waste.
• Meet Minnesota Pocket Pet ambassadors and learn about items to donate that can be reused to help small critters.
• Bring furniture and household donations for Bridging to give them a new home.
• Learn about recycling, composting, water conservation, alternative energy and more.
The Eco Fair partners are committed to a waste free event, offering a template for similar events in the future. There will, of course, be recycling and composting stations, but it won’t stop there.
For the 5K run, most equipment, signs and race items are reusable, and there will be receptacles for recycling the bibs (not accepted in normal city bins).
At Eco Fair booths, you may not see the usual trinkets, handouts and single-use items that can clutter up our homes. Instead, you may see educational boards that you can photograph, interactive demos and sustainability tips and mini-projects using upcycled or repurposed materials.
Partners making it happen
Donate Good Stuff’s event partners include the community councils of District 10 (Como) and District 12 (St. Anthony Park), ReUse Minnesota and Zero Waste Saint Paul. The event is sponsored by the Korby Home Team of Keller Williams Integrity Realty, Green Guardian Financial, Guidance Accounting, Anderson Race Management and Junket Tossed and Found.
The Eco Fair is made possible through a grant from the St. Paul chapter of the Awesome Foundation.
How can you help? Come and bring friends! Support Donate Good Stuff’s work by registering for the 5K fundraiser, then stay for the free Eco Fair. For details and to register, visit ECOFAIR.info.
More ways: Volunteer to help with setup and takedown, staff booths, or direct exhibitors and visitors. Before the event, creative people are needed to help design and build zero-waste info stations. To lend a hand, email JenniferVL@DonateGoodStuff.org or sign up at DonateGoodStuff.org/volunteer-event-calendar. And donate funds so we can do it again next year, bringing community together around sustainable living: visit DonateGoodStuff.org/donate.
With broad support, we can plan to keep the Eco Fair a free, public event for next year and beyond.
Jennifer Victor-Larsen is executive director of Donate Good Stuff and serves on the board of the District 10 Como Community Council. A resident of Como Park, she stewards a small forest in northern Minnesota and is passionate about learning to live equitably and sustainably.