With hands-on workshops, credible speakers, and live performances by local musicians, this year’s EcoFair was both educational and entertaining. Workshop topics included: tree planting, emergence of sustainable communities, local foods, cold frames, composting, converting a hybrid vehicle to a plug-in, and the list goes on.
I chose to attend a presentation on community development–given by Lois Schmit, and another on rain garden design–given by Ceyrena Kay. Each speaker delivered her message in an interesting, informative manner, and I definitely feel I benefited from attending.
Schmidt’s presentation was entitled Circles of Support: Strategies for Community Development. The main thing that I took away from this talk was that there are two types of communities: “survival” communities and “caring” communities. Basically, a survival community breeds competition and divisiveness, while a caring community encourages cooperation and togetherness. It could easily be argued that–on a national level–we live in a money hungry, materialistic, survival community. If we wish to change this, we must each do our part to make our local communities more caring and supportive.
Caring communities are intentional, cooperative, and thus sustainable. Focus is placed on fostering healthy, supportive, local relationships. Individuals within the community are seen as equal in that each has needs and wants to be met, and skills or gifts which can potentially fulfill the needs or wants of another. Acknowledging and acting on this creates an alternative economy–which means less importance is placed on the monetary system. I believe that this is occurring in Fairfield, and feel blessed to be part of such a talented, supportive community.
Ceyrena Kay’s presentation on rain garden design was very inspiring . I learned that rain gardens are a creative way to collect and cleanse run-off water, and that square footage, soil percolation, depth and choice of plants are among the most important aspects of the garden’s design.
Square footage of the garden should be 10% of the square footage of the area from which the run-off water is collected. The soil should have a percolation/absorption rate of half an inch to an inch of water per hour. This means that a garden with a six-inch depth (which is the recommended depth of a rain garden) should drain within 6 to 12 hours. This design is best suited for perennial, native plants which can withstand times of drought and flood.
Having attended these presentations, I feel very motivated. –Motivated to be a better team player within my community, and also to get out and play in the dirt. I can hardly wait to start my rain garden.