Keeping Food & Wine green
ASPEN The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen bills itself as a green event, but this year, two “green fairies” will hold organizers to their word.You’ll recognize Sarah Laverty and Calla Ostrander by their wands and green wings and the fact that they’re weighing compost and garbage outside the venues.”We’re going to be going around ‘greening’ Food & Wine,” Ostrander said.
When the two got involved in the event, they said they’d be like green fairies at different venues. The name stuck, and Ostrander fashioned the wings out of coat hangers and nylon.Ostrander is the interim project manager with the city’s Canary Initiative, and Laverty is the environmental project coordinator with Aspen’s environmental health department.For an event that is about consumption and shipping luxury goods from far-flung places, officials are doing a good job, Laverty said.The green fairies are out to learn how good a job and just where they can improve.
Planners have taken a lot of steps over the years to make the event greener, anything from using recycled paper and soy-based ink for event programs and passes to supporting organic growers and food producers in programs like the “Grow for Good” campaign.”We’re going to track all the energy use at all the sites,” Laverty said. “A lot of this year is just looking around and seeing what’s going on.”The fairies will help planners establish baselines for energy use, recycling, composting and waste to see where the event can do better in the future, and they stressed that they’ll be assessing what event planners are doing right, as much as finding fault.The fairies won’t consider the energy expenditures of travel for the chefs and vintners this week, but Laverty said that in the future there could be ways to offset the carbon production of the many incoming flights with buy-downs and carbon credits.
The pair will be monitoring a number of events, including the grand tastings, but three off-site locations (two tents in Paepcke Park and the Little Nell tent) are pilot “zero-waste” venues, where participants will compost or recycle everything they can – including plates and forks.Ostrander likened the fairies’ work to how people get healthy: first, jump on the scale, then see a doctor to find out where they are before setting any goals.”We’re doing an overall health survey,” Ostrander said. “And we’ll be moving forward with it.”Charles Agar’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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