Horticulture News: Waste a new topic at Field Day this year

BY Kim Cowherd Published:

The 54th Annual Farm-City Field Day is this coming Thursday, July 12th. The event runs from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Sherman and Gail Peyton’s Farm, 739 Colston Lane. Tickets are free and available at the Extension Office and Farm Bureau offices. It is a fun day on the farm for farmers and city folks alike to ride the wagons, see the sights, visit with your neighbors, and have a delicious lunch.

If you have been reading Keenan Bishop’s articles the last several weeks, he has outlined some of the interesting and educational wagon tour stops that will happen at the farm.

These include: Heifer Development with Les Anderson, UK Beef Specialist; Roundup Ready Alfalfa, Ray Smith, UK Forage Specialist; Wildlife Food Plots, Chris Grasch, KDF&W Biologist; Pond Weed Management, Bill Wurts, KSU Aquaculture Specialist; Wood Lot Management and Emerald Ash Borer update, Billy Thomas, UK Forestry Specialist and Ben Lyle, KDF Forester. There will also be many information booths on a wide range of topics as well.

One topic that we have not covered at Field Day in the past and will be covered this year is waste – specifically waste that is generated by a large community event such as this.

When there is a community special event that is attended by 600 or more people, includes food, paper programs, giveaway items, and other trash generating activity, it makes an impact on the environment. This impact can have negative repercussions by contributing to the landfill unnecessarily, causing sanitation issues thus contributing to general pollution of the planet.

A WASTE-FREE EVENT

We can do something about this negative impact with just a little bit of thought on how to redirect the waste from such public events as Farm-City Field Day. The first step is done: Franklin County Extension has made the commitment to thoughtfully carry out our event in such a way to generate as little waste as possible.

To help with our commitment we contacted Bluegrass PRIDE (http://www.bgpride.org/), an environmental education non-profit whose mission is to provide resources and information to schools, community groups, local governments and citizens in Central Kentucky. PRIDE educator, Joanna Issacs, instructed us on how to handle all the details of having a waste-free event.

Setting up appropriate, visible and accessible bins and descriptive signage for our various types of waste (compostable/food, recyclable, and landfill) is key. Joanna helped us understand about these and locate sources for purchasing commercially compostable utensils, plates, cups and even bio-degradable/compostable garbage bags.

And she helped us locate a site to take our commercially compostable (including food waste) items to. These types of waste have to be handled in certain ways and not all such items can be placed in our locally available recycling bins. PRIDE will be available to answer questions at Field Day.

Our County Solid Waste Administrator, Greg Butler, has been a good resource in determining how to handle wastes from our event also. Enlisting his assistance in gathering and removing recyclable materials, such as paper generated from programs, aluminum, water bottles, and other general compostables has been beneficial. Educational information on county and city recycling efforts for citizens will be available for those attending Field Day.

SEEK PROPER CONTAINERS

Another step that must be taken is to have people designated to ensure that attendees know about being waste-free and help direct them to the appropriate waste containers. At Field Day, look for members of the Frankfort High School Environmental Club, 4-H Teens, or FFA to help you. Also look for signs and information in the program on what to compost or what to put in the garbage.

After the event is over, hauling the waste away to the sites that handle the different types is critical. Farm-City Day planning committee, County Waste Management, and Master Gardeners have committed to taking the bags of waste from the farm to the various facilities, whether it be landfill, commercial composting or recycling.

We will be able to report back to the attendees and the community about the success of our waste-free event efforts too.

Everything that is a potential source for waste will be weighed at the beginning of the event: hamburger buns, beef, chips, plates, garbage bags, food service supplies, paper programs and more.

At clean up, the various types of bagged waste will be weighed and then compared with the starting weight. We know that 100 percent of our waste from Field Day went to the landfill in the past- let’s see how close we can be to 0 percent this year!

I hope to see YOU at Farm-City Field Day this Thursday. Come on out to the farm and help us go waste-free.

Contact the Franklin County Extension Office for more information and tickets for Farm/City Field Day. Phone 695-9035 or email DL_CES_Franklin@Email.UKy.edu.

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