The Edmonton Folk Music Festival works at being green
Neighbourhood and Gallagher Park Impact
It is not easy to walk softly and leave no footprints when you host 20,000 people per day for four days in a city park without any paved pathways and roads! But since the early 1990s, The Edmonton Folk Music Festival has worked hard to minimize our impact on Gallagher Park in downtown Edmonton and the Cloverdale community. Preservation of the park, in concert with the City of Edmonton and Cloverdale community has always been a Festival commitment.
Our early efforts focused on minimizing impact in the following ways:
- Providing a bike lock-up service: this enables patrons to bicycle to the site rather than drive.
- Collecting garbage: During the Festival, our morning clean-up crew, called EnviroPower (staffed by youth volunteers) scours the park picking up garbage. The Site Environment crew monitors the park during the day and evenings.
- Recycling & Composting: the Festival Site Environment collects recyclable items to minimize garbage sent to the landfill. Since 2000, the Festival continues to compost all organic materials. Collection is now managed by our Green Team volunteers.
- Restoring Gallagher Park to the way we found it after the festival: this includes removing facilities and equipment in a timely manner and restoring the grass.
Other Environmental Policies
- In 1995, the Festival started a plate program to reduce waste generated by concessions and the Festival volunteer kitchen. With support of the Edmonton Community Foundation, the Festival purchased 5000 washable plates. Providing these plates to concessionaires facilitated implementing a “No Styrofoam” policy on site. As of 2011, the Festival and all our concessions now exclusively use bio-degradable cutlery, napkins and other products which are then composted. This reduces our waste in general and allows our organic wastes to be re-used as compost.
- The Festival has a Green Team volunteer crew who monitor the disposal of waste, and educate patrons about the correct method to sort compost and recyclables from general waste. This ensures that materials sent for composting are not contaminated, and are able to be diverted from landfills.
- In 2007, in cooperation with Big Rock Brewery, the Festival started using only Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) beer cups. PLA, a resin derived entirely from natural corn materials, is 100% renewable through annual corn harvests and fully compostable in municipal and industrial facilities. After a featured story on the National on CBC, many organizations including the Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival and Parks Canada have inquired about these special cups.