Nature photographs by Amarnath Mukta will be on display at the Green Fair.
SATURDAY, APRIL 2, marks the 5th Annual Green Fair, celebrating conservation and stewardship, healthy living, craftspeople, fresh food, musicians, and local businesses. This year’s event includes the 2nd Annual Seed Swap and Plant Exchange, music by the Fairtown Ramblers, gorgeous vendor booths, educational displays, nature photography by local artist Amarnath Mukta, and the first-ever Cardboard Challenge, which invites participants of all ages to use recycled materials and their imaginations to build an “upcycled” sculpture.
Aideen Vega-Van Auken is a member of the Jefferson County Master Gardeners group organizing the Seed Swap this year. Master Gardeners are dedicated individuals trained through Iowa State University Extension. At this year’s Green Fair, the Jefferson County Master Gardeners will be available for one-on-one questions and conversations throughout the day while hosting the 2nd Annual Seed Swap and Plant Exchange.
What is a seed swap, and how can everyone participate? “A seed swap is just what the words mean,” Aideen explains. “Seeds are exchanged for other seeds or plants—and also information about seeds and planting guidelines. Anyone may participate,” she continues. “To be fair to all participants, it is suggested that you bring some seeds or a plant.”
All seeds brought the day of the event should be bagged and labeled with the name of the plant. The collection date and whether the plant was open pollinated or closed pollinated are also helpful. Plants for the exchange should also be labeled and packaged in individual containers or in a clean tub with baggies provided. Last year, thanks to donations, seeds were offered to everyone who attended, encouraging beginning gardeners to use locally grown seeds and to participate in conservation by growing native milkweed for monarchs.
“Iowa native that I am, the word ‘green’ always brings to mind growing plants of all kinds,” says Aideen. “My evolving view has broadened to include taking care of nature in every way possible, which of course includes things such as compost, organic and heirloom seeds, wind and solar power, electric cars, etc.” That breadth of “green” is exactly what the Green Fair is about.
Thanks to its sponsors, EcoFairfield keeps Green Fair booth prices low ($25) to encourage small businesses and service groups to participate. The event is free and open to the public. Five-year sponsors include Everybody’s Whole Foods, Centerpoint Investment Strategies, and the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.
“The role of the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center,” explains Tara Gent, “is to enhance the quality of life and contribute to the economic vitality of Jefferson County and Southeast Iowa through education, entertainment, events, and the performing arts. The community has been very supportive of the Center, so we feel strongly about providing opportunities to groups like EcoFairfield. We are happy to be exposed to new people with each event. We want people to feel welcome.”
The Green Fair sponsors will all be represented at this year’s event alongside vendors and artists, showcasing their unique, delicious, and fascinating roles in the Fairfield community.
According to Aideen, “The two best parts of last year’s Green Fair were the people and the diversity of information available at the booths. I also hope there are even more booths than before,” she concludes, “fueling a passion within others to do all they can to help each other and our natural world.”
All of this takes place at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center Expo Hall, Saturday, April 2, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
For more information about the Green Fair and other EcoFairfield events, please visit facebook.com/ecofairfield or ecofairfield.org. Organizers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.