Green fest pairs with Hay Day at Hartwood Acres

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It is easy to incorporate ways to live green, and Allegheny County wants to help you.

For the third year, the county and several partners, including Chatham University, will host the Allegheny Green + Innovation Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Hartwood Acres in Hampton and Indiana townships.

The event, billed as "a new fair for a new economy" will feature more than 80 vendors, up from the 60 from last year, said Katie Harbison, special events coordinator for the county. "They all are here to help educate with interactive displays, exhibits, handouts and folks to answer questions."

The festival will be held in conjunction with the annual Hay Day, a family-oriented fall celebration, Ms. Harbison said. Last year the events were on the same day and more than 9,000 visitors attended.

The county started the festival three years ago to help residents learn how small, simple measures could help them live a more energy-efficient and environmentally safe lifestyle. By hosting only vendors geared for the green focus, visitors can find easy ways to start living more green right away, said Ms. Harbison.

Those steps may include learning weatherization tips for home, understanding wildlife and birding, discovering how to raise chickens in your backyard or learning how to make seed beads.

Northland Public Library will host an exhibit at which children can make crafts from recycled objects such as magazines and newspapers, said Susan Claus, children and young adult services librarian.

The fair helps the library spread the word about its services and is a fun way "to get books into the hands of children," Mrs. Claus said.

"When you think about it, the library is the ultimate in reusing and repurposing," she said, "Over 100 people can read the same book, and with e-books, no trees have been killed to produce a book." The library also will feature a sale of used children's book.

Several local food vendors will be at the festival for Chatham University's Sustainable Food Challenge.

Teresa Yoder, a volunteer and Chatham alumnus, said vendors had to "accept the challenge" of using local food producers and have zero-waste management practices to be selected for the fair. The exception is Building New Hope, a nonprofit organization that works with communities in El Salvador and Nicaragua to sell fair trade, organic coffee.

"... They show [that] while food can't be local, there is still a sustainable and healthy way for it to be created and sold," she said.

Among other food vendors are Conflict Kitchen, a takeout restaurant that features food from countries with which the U.S. is in conflict; Soup Nancy's, which uses locally obtained ingredients; Franktuary Food Truck, which works with companies using locally farmed food; and Sito's Middle Eastern Foods, which will serve hummus in hollowed-out green peppers from Harvest Valley Farm in Valencia.

Chatham University has a 388-acre campus in Richland, where the School of Sustainability and the Environment will be housed in the future. Ms. Yoder said a coffee named after the campus, Eden Hall Blend roasted by local La Prima Espresso, will be sold to help raise funds for scholarships.

"We will also serve our famous apple crisp made from apples from a local farm," she said.

Local craft vendors from the "I Made It! Market" also are featured. Vendors specializing in crafts made from recycled and sustainable products will sell their wares, including gourmet dog food, handmade jewelry, home décor, clothing and skin care products.

Ms. Harbison said local nonprofit organizations will collect items to recycle and reuse.

Among them are Free Ride collecting bicycles, parts and tools; The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project accepting reusable tote bags for the Food Bank; nonperishable food items for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank; Green Grandma collecting hard caps from plastic bottles; and new or gently used medical items that Global Links will distribute.

The Hay Day portion of the festival will feature hay rides, a corn maze, face painting, a pumpkin patch and other family-friendly activities.

Information: www.alleghenycounty.us/greenfestival.

neigh_north

Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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