Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Frenchtown Green Fair - SO GREAT! Plus a Political Blurb!

image by gattuso media design
Wow what an incredible turn-out for the first annual Frenchtown Green Fair -- yes, folks, everyone involved wants to put it on again next year!  YAY!!!   I was talking about EV's practically nonstop, plus a little bit about my Montessori preschool since the Miata was parked right next to that tent.  We had beautiful weather & an awesome array of 60 vendors and hundreds and hundreds of visitors who spent a long time taking in the educational lectures, arts & crafts for the kids, drumming & mandala-making for all ages, plus food & free water from the local artesian well across the street.

The alternative fuel vehicle display featured TWO electric cars, our Miata & thanks to Charlie & Catherine Reichner of the Heat Shed, a Nissan Leaf!  This allowed me to point out to everybody I spoke to that you can build your own EV today, or buy one at your local automotive dealer.  What a change from 2006 when I first started spieling electric cars in public at the Energy Fest in Kempton PA! 

The alt-fuel display also incorporated a veggie Mercedes converted by Bryan Davison, formerly of Frenchtown Borough Council & the founding chair of the Green Team; he towed his biodiesel-brewing set-up behind to show it off as well, & had a lot of enthusiastic questioners to engage with during the course of the day.  A Chevy Volt rounded out the show, & I took my usual pleasure in explaining to anyone who would listen that properly it is not an EV but a series plug-in hybrid.  (Nomenclature is  important folks!)

Even more importantly, a range of solutions from the home-brewed to the high-tech now exist to our transportation & foreign oil dependency dilemma.  It was awesome from the EV advocate perspective to have a variety of vehicles to point to at our little homegrown Green Fair.  I'm hoping to help mount an even bigger & better display next year. 

We got a nice letter from the mayor of Frenchtown, who was incredibly supportive of the Green Fair, as a thank you.

On Sept. 29 Frenchtown held its first Green Fair, dedicated to promoting environmentally responsible, sustainable living.

By most accounts the fair was the best-attended event ever held at Old Frenchtown Field. Residents and friends from neighboring communities came away inspired to change the way we live and educated with the tools to make those changes.

That was no accident. The Green Fair steering committee of Frenchtown’s Green Team spent 10 months creating and organizing the event. Kudos are due Adrienne Crombie, who led the group, Cathy Leach, Dominikija Prostak, Bonnie Pariser, Gerry St. Onge, Don Dalen, Richard Reilly, Jenny Isaacs and MaryBeth Healy.

Thanks, too, to Frenchtown Borough Council and the Frenchtown Business and Professional Association for their support and commitment; to Gold Sponsors Stem Brothers and Century Link; to sponsors ShopRite, Basil Bandwagon and Brad’s Raw Chips; to John Gattuso Media Design for the fair’s graphics and to Civilian for silk-screening the graphic onto T-shirts; to WDVR radio, especially Jim Jordan and Melba Toast, for handling on-site acoustics and a live broadcast; for Adam Blackburn for the musical soundtrack when no presentations were under way; to Mike Reino and Mike Roden of the borough Department of Public Works for getting the field in shape before and after the fair; to the Frenchtown Police and the Frenchtown Volunteer Fire Company, and to Anthony DeSapio, Clark Johnson and Tim Fisher for allowing visitors to park on their properties, and to the American Legion for managing the parking.

Anthony DeSapio also generously provided free water to the fair and contributed Saturday’s proceeds from the Frenchtown Well to the Green Team.

Thanks to the Lion’s Club for serving vegetarian fare alongside the more traditional hamburgers and hot dogs; to the Frenchtown Community Garden; to Man-E-Faces’ Eric Fiorito for seven hours of non-stop children’s face-painting and Rosalie Justine Skakum, Tricia Hurley, and Robin Reichert who entertained those children with art projects & story-telling throughout the day; to the 19 bakers who entered the pie baking contest (which helped raise $450 for the Fire Company) and pastry chefs from Lovin’ Oven, The National Hotel, The Bridge CafĂ©, Eat Cake and Milford Oyster House for judging it; to Dan Mundy and the Hunterdon County 4-H for providing the petting farm; to all the Frenchtown shops, restaurants and businesses who contributed raffle prizes; to Sara Dalen, Morgan Fisher, Clover Stieve and Grace Guggenheim for providing live entertainment; to speakers on sustainable living: Mona Laru of Naked Nutrition, Bonnie Pariser of Yoga Loka, Jonah Dabb of Hunterdon 4-H; Master Gardener Connie Hughes; Carol Ragucci of Holistic Living; Laurie Fischer of Organic Plant Care LLC and Keith Strunk of River Union Stage; to Dr. Jodi Dinnerman who provided gentle chiropractic adjustments for a donation to the Green Team, and to the vendors who provided visitors with environmental education along with the products they hoped to sell.

The fair itself certainly would have run less smoothly without the help of the more than two dozen members of the Frenchtown Elementary School student council and the Delaware Valley Regional High School Key Club. Throughout the day, these young people demonstrated a commitment to the goal of “green” living that bodes well for the future.

Thanks, finally, to all who visited. You provided the energy and enthusiasm that made the day so rewarding. We hope you had fun. We did. See you next year.

Warren Cooper, Mayor


Brief Political Blurb: EV's & Batteries in the Spotlight

It's awesome to be on the forefront of personal, one-on-one EV advocacy at events like the Green Fair -- even though it's kind of a bummer that this kind of work is still necessary with gas hovering around $4 a gallon.  Last time I checked Democrats & Republicans were equally affected by the price of gas!  So it's funny that EV's or battery manufacturers like A123 can become political footballs ...  In the immortal words of Doug Stansfield, central NJ EAA chapter founder & national board member: electric vehicles are good for both Democrats & Republicans!  

Here at Bucks County Renewables we believe that insatiability is not sustainable, and that as a country we need to plan for the long term rather than suck up all our existing resources in an energy frenzy.  Both electorally-validated parties seem willing to match each other in commitments to drill, extract & deplete our continental supply of fossil fuel, while all alternative propositions are marginalized ... sigh ... lucky thing we're used to being out on the fringes and to pulling the lever on Election Day for candidates who actually represent our beliefs, instead of for business as usual.  Hope you will be doing the same!