For the second consecutive year, Sustainable Melrose, a coalition of civic organizations that are working to make Melrose a more livable, environmentally sustainable, and healthy community, will be participating in the Healthy Melrose Fair, to be held on May 2 on the athletic field next to the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School.
Several of the Sustainable Melrose groups will be organizing their presentations at the fair around a specific theme—the reduction of food waste. Estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency indicate that we may waste as much as 40% of the food we buy, whether it’s by purchasing too much, not using up food in time, or cooking too much and not eating the leftovers. Yet there are several ways to reduce food waste—by composting the food scrap generated in the kitchen, or by shopping smarter, or by planning meals that more effectively use up some food that would otherwise be tossed. Food packaging is also a big part of our kitchen waste, and there are ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle that material as well.
People attending the Healthy Melrose Fair will be able to learn more about composting and other ways to improve their food waste management from a number of the groups that are part of Sustainable Melrose. Members of these organizations will be able to provide a broad range of information that will take you from the grocery store to your kitchen and out into your yard.
Sally Frank’s Farmers’ Market will provide information on the soil cycle and instruction on how to make healthy soil. The group will also be giving away lettuce seedlings. Melrose Native will present a composting demonstration and will look beyond the compost bin to show what’s happening in your yard, identifying steps you can take to make it a healthier environment for your flowers and to provide habitat for native plants and birds.
Community Gardens will have demonstrations on composting and on how to make soup stock from kitchen scrap that might ordinarily be thrown away. The group will also be offering seed packets from its new seed library, presenting a poster showing what types of food scrap can be composted, and raffling a kitchen compost pail. At the Melrose Recycling Committee booth, visitors will be able to participate in a quiz focused on food waste and composting—and enter into a raffle to win a composting bin. The committee will also invite visitors to take a food waste challenge, to see if they can match or better the kitchen waste management practices of one of the committee members. And the Middle School’s Green Team will be displaying its hydroponic garden tower and presenting the results of recent efforts to reduce food waste at the Middle School cafeteria.
Other Sustainable Melrose organizations that will be hosting booths at the fair will be the following: The Unitarian Universalist Church’s Green Sanctuary Committee, which will be showing short films, such as “The Story of Stuff”; Friends of the Fells Middlesex Fells Reservation, which will be sponsoring a “letterbox” activity modeled on the program it offers in the Middlesex Fells Reservation; the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee; the Melrose Conservation Commission; and the Melrose Energy Commission.
Once again this year, the Healthy Melrose Fair will be a zero waste and net zero energy event. Mass Energy Consumers Alliance will green the fair by matching the electricity usage with 100% clean, local wind power. To learn more about Mass Energy’s 100% federally tax-deductible Green Power Programs and how they support the development of more clean energy projects in Massachusetts, please visit the Melrose Energy Commission booth.
Sustainable Melrose was formed in 2013 when several civic organizations saw an opportunity to share their special areas of knowledge, skills, and interests. By working together under the Sustainable Melrose umbrella, these organizations are striving to raise awareness of and support for our shared community responsibilities in environmental stewardship, social wellbeing, and economic prosperity over the long term. All of the Sustainable Melrose groups at the fair will be able to discuss their ongoing initiatives and will welcome any volunteers who would like to contribute. Come to the Healthy Melrose Fair on May 2 and learn how you can help to make Melrose a healthier, more livable, and prosperous place to be.