Friday, July 20, 2007

High Sierra Music Festival, Local Farmers Partner to Reduce Waste, Save Money

Note: Here is a short press release about a project that I am proud to have both organized and been a part of. - JLG

Compost Effort Keeps Over 2 Tons of Fruit and Vegetable Waste Out of Landfill, Provides Farmers With Free Feed and Fertilizer

Quincy, CA (July 20, 2007) -- High Sierra Music Festival , which took place July 5-8 at Plumas County Fairgrounds in Quincy, today announced the final results of their pilot composting program. The festival partnered with local area farmers to keep organic scrap by-products created by its food vendors out of the landfill.

In total, approximately 850 gallons of fruit and vegetable waste were kept out of the landfill by the composting team. The team included festival officials, along with conservation biologist, Jon Gelbard of Conservation Value, Bob Hollis of the California Resource Recovery Association, farmers Noel Carlson and Jim Holst of the Quincy Grange, Regional Grange Deputy, Ken Donnell, and Nick Aster of The Triple Pundit.

After setting up clearly marked compost bins behind the festival’s food courts, Gelbard informed food vendors of where to dispose of their surplus organic materials (meats excluded – to avoid attracting bears to the farmer’s compost pile). Gelbard, Hollis and Aster then monitored bin levels to see how quickly they were filling up.

Once the bins were close to being full, the team would contact farmers Carlson and Donnell to let them know the team was “on” for their pre-arranged evening pick-up. Upon arriving at the festival, Carlson’s blue truck was escorted to the pick-up site, where the group and festival officials used a fork lift to retrieve the bins and dump the contents into the back of the truck. From there, Carlson transported the mixture of mostly fruit and vegetable materials back to her Quincy-area farm, where it was mixed into the operation’s compost pile. The bounty of resulting compost – whose production saved the festival money on waste disposal – will help improve pasture for the Carlson’s locally-grown Icelandic lamb and wool, marketed under the Holst Station label.

The festival also introduced the use of biodegradable food utensils this year, and hopes to expand the program to all vendors for 2008.

“It’s a wonderful relationship we’ve seeded this year”, said Debbie Crockett of High Sierra Music Festival. “We are deeply grateful for the support of these Quincy area farmers, and look forward to exploring ways to grow this relationship in 2008.”

“This is yet another example of how business and land management practices that are good for the environment can also benefit local farms and communities. We started with organic waste that the festival would have had to pay to send to the landfill. But instead, we worked together to cut these disposal costs, and turn this waste into both free feed for farm animals and free compost that is being used to help restore a farm’s topsoil from historic mining damage.” said conservation biologist, Jon Gelbard of Conservation Value.

"The Grange is thrilled to be involved with this composting program and the High Sierra Music Festival. This composting program fits perfectly with the California Grange's goal of "Helping Farmers, Protecting Consumers™", and is a perfect example of thinking globally, acting locally,” said Regional Grange Deputy, Ken Donnell.

“All of the folks helping with the festival were great to work with! I’m looking forward to meeting up with them again in 2008. For an event of this size, the organization and logistics were fantastic. Our Icelandic sheep and American Guinea hogs thank High Sierra too—they dug for buried treasures in the compost pile and were totally in love with the oranges and cabbages,” said farmer Noel Carlson.

“This was a great project to demonstrate sustainable community practices, which is part of the mission of the Quincy Grange”, said farmer and Quincy Grange member, Jim Holst.

“It’s great that the High Sierra Music Festival took the initiative to implement a composting program this year. I hope that other groups who use the Plumas County Fairgrounds will follow this example. It was wonderful working with the local members of the Quincy Grange in support of sustainable farming,” said recycling expert, Bob Hollis

The festival looks forward to exploring ways to expand the operation in 2008, including by providing recycling bins for bio-degradable food utensils and possibly by providing compost bins for all festival goers.

About High Sierra Music Festival ( High Sierra Music has been producing world-class music festivals since 1991. An independent production company based in Berkeley, CA, the organization was founded with the first High Sierra Music Festival, its cornerstone event that takes place every July 4th weekend in Northern California, and remains committed to its grassroots origins by drawing support from its loyal community of patrons, staff, volunteers and non-corporate sponsors.

Press Contacts
High Sierra Music Festival ( Debbie Crocket 510-420-1529
Conservation Value ( Jonathan Gelbard, Ph.D. 510-898-4895
California Resource Recovery Association ( Bob Hollis, (916) 717-8108
Holst Station Farm ( Noel Carlson & Jim Holst (530) 283-2414
California State Grange – ( Ken Donnell, Deputy for Region 6 of the California State Grange:

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic program where everyone wins. Thanks so much for helping to organize this effort. Now let's get it going for the rest of the festivalers!