Still Buzzing from Earth Week 2019!

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Earth Week 2019

With a different event every day of the week, there was something for everyone this Earth Week.

On Monday, April 22, we started with a bang at the second annual Earth Day Parade (put on by EcoSociety and the Interfaith Climate Action Collaborative). Visitors to our booth spun the Wheel of Food Fortune and answered some tricky tricky trivia questions with the prize of a super soft organic cotton/bamboo t-shirt designed by Co-op employee, Tanya Coad. There were lots of surprised faces when learning the carbon footprint of certain items or the fact that organic food is also non-GMO food.

We then headed back to the store to hang out with City Councillor, Keith Page and the Nelson Backyard Hens group who collected more than 70 letters to City Council asking for a change to the bi-laws to allow for hens within city limits. If you missed your chance but still want to write a letter, you can get some inspiration and instruction here.

Rik, Jesse and Mike supporting Active Transportation in Nelson

On Tuesday, we hosted two more City Councillors, Jesse Woodward and Rik Logtenberg, who encouraged people to have their say about active transportation in Nelson. We also played more food trivia for more chances to win cool prizes. PLUS Mike from Pedego was here with the “truck” of electric bikes for people to take a look and ask questions of.

Wednesday was Community Education Day, where we had a live beehive from Community Grant recipients, Bee Awareness Society. They taught visitors to their table about bees’ life cycle, why pollinators are vital to food security and a thriving environment, and how we can help protect them, all with the visual aid of a live hive! Eco-Society and Friends of Kootenay Lake Stewardship Society also tabled and educated folks about the good work being done in our community.

Thursday April 25th, “Retraining our Recycling Brain,” was an amazing success, with Travis Barrington from RDCK Recycling Education and our own Front End Manager, Kristina Hus. We shared information about the changing recycling system in our region and played a game where participants had to sort a pile of refuse into the appropriate receptacles! Learn more here and check out BC’s Recyclopedia if you are unsure how to recycle an item.

Friday, headed by the Co-op’s Sadie Yancey, was “super-fun” and passersby learned a lot! Like the fact that you can get essential oils and meat in your own container (!). Here’s Sadie’s recap: “We shared tips on drying and storing plastic bags, and how to remember to bring them back. ‘What is the co-op doing about this?’ was a common question and I was so happy to have answers! Charging for paper at the tills, transitioning to compostable repacks, encouraging re-using containers in every department, supporting companies that are moving towards reducing waste.”

And of course, we played a fun game too. “We invited shoppers to play a zero-waste guessing game where we tell them a fact about our sales and ask them to guess how many single-use items are used. When they got close, we gave them a prize.”

Here are a couple examples:

  • Q. “We sell 10,000 meals a month at the hot bar and bowl bar, how many of those meals are in take-out containers?”
    • A. 4500 clamshells and soup bowls, 4100 pieces of cutlery
  • “Q. We have almost 2000 transactions a day – which counts all the shops whether just a cup of coffee or full shopping cart. How many deli tubs do we sell every day?”
    • A. 70
  • Q. “… how many plastic bags do shoppers use every day, when we count up all the bags that members choose to use in produce, bulk, and at the till?”
    • A. 1100
  • Q. “We sell 8000 drinks per month out of our cafe. How many are in to-go cups?”
    • A. 1800

Interestingly, according to Sadie, people consistently guessed higher numbers than the answer. Many of us sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the things that are asked of us to be good environmentally conscious community members. Sadie’s answer? “Less guilt, more action!”

Saturday was another amazing day, with a buspool out to Spring Turnout at Kootenay Meadows Farm in Creston. Members paid a subsidized rate ($20 for adults and $10 for kids) for an engaging and informative True Local farm tour. True Local Coordinator, Nadine BenRabha, pointed out True Local farms and told stories along the way while Outreach Coordinator, Alyssa Nebel, facilitated the trip and gave out awesome prizes. Once there, we rushed to the white picket fence to watch the cows as they ran and bucked and frolicked and grazed for the first time since autumn. After watching the cows for a while, Nadine (whose family’s farm is Kootenay Meadows) led a farm tour for interested parties (with her 2-year old on her hip most of the time!) and we all learned a lot about cow-centric dairy farming in the Kootenays! We were glad to be in the barn for the rainstorm/hailstorm that ensued and enjoyed a relaxing bus ride back through the crazy weather.