Go a shade greener

EarthFest 2013 at Garden Station

By Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

Photo: Eighth grader Elizabeth Nieck will conduct a discussion on raising backyard chickens during Garden Station’s EarthFest 2013 celebration on Saturday, April 20

For nearly five years, Garden Station has been adding to the beauty and sustainability of urban Dayton from their friendly nook along the Wayne Avenue corridor. Dedicated volunteers have turned the former railway car storage lot into a community garden and art park where neighbors can come together and make strides toward revitalizing their city. This Saturday, two days before the world celebrates the 43rd Annual Earth Day, Garden Station will be hosting EarthFest 2013, a day of learning sustainable techniques to help respect and care for our world.

“It’s about self-sufficiency,” said volunteer Garden Station Manager, Lisa Helm, of the event’s goals. “People need to see what they can do for themselves instead of buying everything at stores. It can be in small ways. How can you go a shade greener today?”

Workshops throughout the day will seek to answer that very question. They will include gardening, composting, seed starting, home brewing, beekeeping, recycling, juicing, building with cob, tree planting and yoga. EarthFest participants will also be invited to learn how to make their own paper, brew their own kombucha and keep their own backyard chickens, a workshop that will be run by eighth-grader Elizabeth Neick.

In addition to workshops, EarthFest will have a variety of activities going on throughout the day. Everyone is invited to participate in the Really Really Free Market, the self-organizing event that is held monthly in the park where people can give and share goods, services and skills. The Great Cloth Diaper Change, a worldwide record-breaking event aimed to increase awareness of reusable cloth diapers, will take place at 11 a.m. for all pre-registered participants. Visitors will also have the opportunity to start or add to their own gardens with items from the Plant and Seed Sale that will feature all non-GMO, non-Monsanto-owned varieties.

Live music will be ongoing throughout the day with performances from The Odyssey, The Good Time Accordion Band, SEEFARI, Stivers Jazz Combo and The Corndrinkers, an old-time string band playing sounds from the 1920s and 1930s.

Sustenance will be available from local food trucks including Fressa – featuring modern gourmet comfort food – and Harvest Mobile, which uses primarily locally grown products. ReU Smoothie and Juice Bar will also be on hand to provide delicious liquid energy and to educate about the differences between blending and juicing.

Garden Station is run as a labor of love that its volunteers have for their community and environment. “We have no budget, no staff,” said Helm. “It has to be the volunteers or none of this happens.” And they use every resource they can get their hands on. Local craftsman have laid walkways, businesses have donated materials for building, scores of helpers have given hours of their time to clean and beautify the venue. The eclectic space has also facilitated concerts, festivals, movies and weddings, utilizing their stage and tiki bar with outdoor kitchen. Garden Station was built by its community, and now is the time for the community to use Garden Station as a staging point for revitalizing the neighborhood.

And there is so much more that the volunteers behind Garden Station want to accomplish. “Dayton has very little urban farming,” said Helm. “We’re working on that.” Dayton can look to cities like Seattle and New York for ways to incorporate urban agriculture into our own urban developments. Implementing food forests and rooftop gardens could be a huge step for Dayton in the direction of sustainability, but it will take community-wide education and participation to make these kind of changes.

EarthFest will be a day to learn and to share, a day to garner and foster friendships and a day to recommit yourself to caring for your world. “People have to say to themselves, ‘The environment is more important than my convenience,’” said Helm. And how inconvenient would it be if we no longer had an Earth that could sustain us? Displayed boldly on a panel of wall art in Garden Station is the notion, “The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty.” So come get dirty. The future is yours to grow.

EarthFest 2013 will take place on Saturday, April 20 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Garden Station, 509 E. Fourth St. at the corner of Wayne Avenue. In the event of inclement weather, all activities will take place inside of the Yellow Cab building across the street at 700 E. Fourth St. For more information or to make a contribution, visit GoAShadeGreener.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin at jenniferhanauerlumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com

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About Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

View all posts by Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin
Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin is a writer and amateur cartographer living in Dayton, Ohio. She has been a member of PUSH (Professionals United for Sexual Health) since 2012 and is currently serving as Chair. She can be reached at JenniferHanauerLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com or through her website at jennerlumpkin.com.

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