Greenfest Newbury 5th September 2020
GreenFest is coming back for a second consecutive year following the runaway success of the inaugural event in 2019, that saw around 2500 visitors descend on the picturesque, woodland, West Berkshire, village of Hampstead Norreys.
What started out as an idea to bring eco-suppliers together in one central venue, quickly grew to become an event that would take over an entire village. One venue soon became five…….and all the outside space in between. We booked sustainable product stalls, charities, suppliers, we organised talks from experts in their field and ran workshops and activities all day long.
But the true foundation of GreenFest is inextricably tethered to an ever-growing and connecting grassroots movement. Villages, towns and cities across the country have seen a boom in local businesses producing and selling eco-alternatives that are packaging free, plastic free, made from repurposed fabrics or natural materials. Groups of individuals are devoting time and energy to all manner of schemes and initiatives, that guide us to new behaviours and give us options to embrace a more sustainable existence.
In Newbury alone, we can now take our empty jars along to Lydia at Lonely Lentil to be refilled with all manner of organic, dry, produce. We have a growing number of businesses refilling bottles with eco-friendly washing up liquids, surface cleaners and laundry detergents, cutting out unnecessary packaging. The lovely Jana and other volunteers collect the plastic waste of local residents and send it off to Terracycle programmes, single-handedly reducing the amount of plastic waste diverted to landfill on behalf of their communities. Repair cafes have become a common concept, reviving lesser taught skills and readjusting our mindsets to repair rather than replace. Community fridges, food shares, orchards and tree plants……I could easily go on.
What all these examples share is not just a drive toward sustainable living, but a revival in old school community values. Relationships flourishing between customers and those they buy from, people helping each other out and giving their time to improve their local circumstances.
And what GreenFest does is bring all this positive energy together in one location, for one day.
GreenFest itself is the product of a strong community spirit. More than one hundred volunteers helped at the 2019 event, directing parking, welcoming visitors, pointing them in various directions, serving tea and cake and running a brilliant programme of games and activities. Twelve schools participated in our artwork competition with truly impressive results. Many local parishes, businesses and groups generously donated funds, materials and equipment to the cause, while our esteemed speakers lent their expertise to the event without charge. The overwhelming support we received also meant that we were able to make GreenFest a free event, open to all members of our burgeoning community.
Preparations for GreenFest 2020 have now begun and though it's still early days, we already have more than 40 stalls booked and some exciting demos, workshops and talks lined up. We'll be regularly updating our Facebook page and website, so do follow us to watch our exciting plans for GreenFest 2020 unfold.