A Review of CleanTX’s Signature Event on Climate Change

We had a lot of fun on November 18th helping CleanTX put implement their final Signature Event of 2015: Climate Change–The Ultimate Market Driver. Over 100 members of the CleanTX community gathered at the Google Fiber space in downtown Austin for networking and presentations by representatives from The Environmental Defense Fund, Dell and the XPRIZE Foundation.

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To bring attention to the upcoming COP21 Conference in Paris, the event followed a French theme with music by gypsy jazz trio Selmer’s Arch, French martinis by the makers of Dripping Springs Vodka and beer from local brewery Hops & Grain, with French-themed appetizers provided by local catering company, Spoon & Co.

The agenda for the evening aimed to tackle potential market-driven solutions to climate change from a variety of perspectives.

  • Derek Walker, Associate Vice President–Global Climate at the Environmental Defense Fund, shared an exciting vision of using markets to drive climate change. His personal experience of managing EDF’s engagement in the implementation of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) bears witness to just how powerful this drive can be!
  • John Pfluger, Principal Environmental Strategist at Dell, shared about Dell’s participation in the Business Act on Climate Change. From Dell’s view, collaboration is critically important, and public policy and ICT are natural partners.
  • John Hall, Texas State Director of the Environmental Defense Fund, shared exciting evidence that Texas is closer than we think to compliance with the Clean Power Plan. He recommends market-based, regional approach, and believes strongly that with a strong state plan and a mid-course review, Texas’ economy will benefit greatly from expanding these markets.
  • Marcius Extavour, Director of Technical Operations, XPRIZE, announced the newest XPrize contest on climate change! The game is to convert as much co2 as possible into valuable products. The $20 million prize may not seem like an enormous sum, but the innovation it generates goes well beyond the value of the prize itself.
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CleanTX demonstrated its brand integrity once again by putting on a first-class zero waste event. Their impeccable choicesmade for an exceptional corporate and environmentally responsible event. Here are our top tips for hosting your own green event:

  • Consider serving elegant finger food. The CleanTX Signature event featured Parisian-style hors d’eureves. The tasty morsels were easy to eat without silverware, and, because the portions were small, no food ended up in the trash. Extra food was donated to the Google Fiber staff, and what little waste was left was composted.
  • Host your event in a walk-able location. Google Fiber Space is located in downtown Austin right near where most attendees were already coming from. Also, there were ample car2go parking spots.
  • Use compostable and recyclable serving ware. The elegant wooden plates used at the event were also compostable!
  • Signage makes an enormous difference. CleanTX requested clear signage making it easy to see what to recycle and what to compost. This simple action results in less cross-contamination.
  • Start with zero in mind. From start to finish, there was nothing disposable at the event that could not be composted or recycled. The one small trashcan in the room was not prominent and was barely used. This represents solid prior planning and good green choices.

Well done, CleanTX on another extraordinary event! Thanks for being such a great example of zero waste in action, and for hiring Green Fern Events to help make it happen.

Photo Credit: Stacy Berg, FotoHogg Photography 

Written by: Janis Bookout

“Connections With a Purpose” Hearts Wide Open Yoga & Service Retreat July 4-12, 2015 ~ Nicaragua

IMG_9671On July Fourth, my seven-year old son Alex and I boarded a plane for Nicaragua. This was to be Alex’s first trip abroad as well as my first trip out of the country since having children. Yet this was not your typical “first” family vacation abroad. Not only were we traveling to the second poorest country in Latin America, we were going there to spend time in service with 100 children at the SOS Orphanage as well as an elderly community outside of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. When I asked Alex earlier in the year if he wanted to go on this special journey with me in July, he didn’t hesitate to say “yes”. He did, however, inquire multiple times about the types of poisonous snakes in the rainforest.

For the third year in a row, Hearts Wide Open Yoga & Seva Retreat was led by Claudia Castro-Leverett and her husband, Thomas Leverett. Thomas and Claudia are co-owners of Del Sol Martial Arts & Fitness and Flaming Lotus Yoga in Dripping Springs, TX. Both are amazing teachers, community builders, and spiritual leaders. They have become dear friends of mine over these past few years and I consider them family.

So we did not go into this trip completely blind. We had our guides, our friends, and a great group of yogis traveling with us from the Austin community. Two other families brought their children along as well so all together we had six children in our group (ages 7 to 13).

IMG_9652Our journey started in the cloud rainforest at a renowned Ecolodge and Organic Coffee Farm, Selva Negra. Selva Negra is owned and run by Claudia’s relatives and sits on a pristine nature reserve consisting of over 300 acres of primary and secondary cloud forest. Pictures don’t really do it justice because the moment we arrived I felt how insignificantly small we (as humans) are to Mother Nature. There were plant leaves as big as my son and lush gardens growing on all the roofs. Water flowed around us everywhere. The sea of trees could’ve easily swallowed us whole but instead provided us with the purest oxygen I’ve ever breathed. Practicing yoga up there in the mountains was exceptional. We were situated smack dab in the center of the “Lungs” of the Earth – the rainforest. It was mystical, magical and enlightening.IMG_9669

 

On Day 2 we packed up all of the school supplies and gifts we brought from the US and headed to the SOS Orphanage in Matagalpa to spend the entire day with the children. From the moment we arrived, I knew it was going to be a great day. The communication started off a little slow (as to be expected – not all of us spoke Spanish nor did many of the children speak English) but the kids quickly warmed up to us. We sang a beautiful song written by the Dalai Lama in community together. Claudia led everyone through a short yoga class and then “Carnival Day” at the orphanage officially began. We painted faces, made jewelry, played soccer and other games together and concluded the festivities with an epic water balloon fight.

IMG_9692For many of us, the most memorable and impactful experience of the entire trip was sharing a meal and spending quality time with the children in their homes. At the SOS Orphanage in Matagalpa there are 10 children per house. Each house has a “mom”,  a female teacher that has dedicated her life to raising these children as her own. This was the apex moment for me, the moment my heart burst open and I realized why we are all here…….

 

TO LOVE. TO CONNECT. TO HEAL. TO GROW. TO TRANSFORM.

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IMG_9740You see – without love there is no life. Love is the oxygen of life. When we love we feel completely alive and we are happy. The need to be loved is characteristic of all beings. Connection is also a basic human need required for survival and growth. When we give we receive and that is how we connect. We give our time, our love, and even material things to contribute to the greater good. As a result, humanity grows stronger. There is a great prophecy a Mayan Elder shares and that is “humanity will one day realize its oneness and together bring an end to war, pollution and to the exploitation of Mother Earth.” This is a project called “The Shift of the Ages.” However, until we realize our oneness with nature, with each other, and with the Universe, this transformation will not take place.IMG_9845
That afternoon, we left the orphanage empty-handed yet our hearts were full. I’ve never cried so much from experiencing so much joy. I was bursting with love and gratitude for the opportunity to connect and to give back. I asked Alex on the bus if he had a good time. He replied in his sweet gentle voice, “Today I made a new friend. He didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Spanish but we connected. We learned from each other and took care of each other.”

 

 

 

IMG_9901On Day 3, after a beautiful morning and yoga practice up in the Chapel at Selva Negra – we headed down the mountain again, this time to spend the afternoon in service at an elderly community run by Catholic nuns. This was quite the opposite end of the spectrum after spending the previous day with the vivacious children at the SOS Orphanage. Do you remember the 1990’s movie “Awakenings” with Robin Williams? Well this is how it felt when we first arrived to visit with the elders – many of the men and women seemed unresponsive and immobile. But this all changed the moment we turned up the music and started to dance! That’s all it took, was some music, movement and smiles to cause an awakening. This brought pure joy into my heart and many others. I later learned that many family members do not even come to visit these elders any more. I’m happy we had the opportunity to give them our love and energy even for the short period of time that we did.

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IMG_0306After three emotionally charged days, we packed our bags (filled with WET everything from the rainforest) and headed to the Pacific Coast. For the next five days and remainder of the trip, we nestled into our luxury tree houses at the Aqua Wellness Resort & Spa. Aqua Wellness is a luxury eco-resort situated in a lush tropical forest and private beach cove just north of Costa Rica. We had the most amazing views of the ocean from our suspended yoga platform as well as from our tree house. When I close my eyes, I can still hear the waves and feel the ocean breeze. The food was delicious at Aqua Wellness. We especially loved “pizza night” after eating so healthy for the majority of the trip. Alex and I spent our days swimming in the ocean and exploring all of the nature surrounding us. The rainforest and beach was literally crawling with nature! In one afternoon/evening we saw hundreds of crabs, a baby turtle, a snake, monkeys, a scorpion, a praying mantis and a baby octopus. Alex was in heaven!

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On the second to last day of our trip, I took Alex on a private zip-line canopy tour in San Juan Del Sur. It was IMG_0188an epic adventure and according to Alex – THE most fun part of the entire trip. “The orphanage was the most special part of the trip”, Alex said “but the zip-line tour was the most FUN!” We conquered our fear of heights that day and managed not to get peed on by the howler monkeys. According to our tour guide, the monkeys make a game out of trying to pee on us humans who come up into their territory. I was just happy I survived the zip-line.

Did I mention I made it to every yoga practice the entire 8 days?  An extra big thanks to Claudia for hiring sitters (family members) to watch the kids at Selva Negra and to her father, step-mother and sister who also helped keep the kids while we were practicing at the beach. This enabled me a little personal time to process all that we had experienced and shared along the way as well as to dive deeper into my yoga practice.

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Hearts Wide Open – Yoga & Service Retreat was one of the most incredible experiences in my life. I highly recommend this retreat to anyone who loves yoga, and wants to spend time in community with amazing people in a beautiful and natural setting. I felt the entire trip I was right where I was supposed to be.

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Hearts Wide Open was also a truly sustainable event. Why? We traveled lightly, stayed in eco-resorts, ate vegan meals (local, organic and sustainably sourced) gave back to the local communities, and spent time in connection and service with those in need. It doesn’t get much more “sustainable” than this if you ask me. One of the many definitions of an event is, “bringing people together for a purpose.” I can think of no greater purpose than the opportunity TO LOVE, TO CONNECT, TO HEAL, TO GROW, and TO TRANSFORM. 

~ Namasté

Emily Kahn

MobilityATX Town Hall Event – June 23 at Google Fiber

IMG_9556Last month, Green Fern Events helped produce another stellar and environmentally sustainable event for our progressive Austin Community. MobilityATX (produced by Glasshouse Policy, RideScout as well as other local partners) held its final town hall meeting at Google Fiber, Tuesday June 23 to discuss Austin’s transportation challenges. With close to 200 in attendance, the event was streamed live by ATXN – the City of Austin’s government channel. The town hall panel was moderated by KUT’s Terrence Henry and included distinguished speakers: Mayor Adler – CoA, Tyson Tuttle – CEO Silicon Labs, Linda Watson – CEO Capital Metro, Joseph Kopser – CEO RideScout, and Larry Graham – Downtown Austin Alliance.

IMG_9552Among the many highlights of the evening, Tesla provided three lucky winners the opportunity to take home one of its luxury electric vehicles for 24 hours! Thanks, Tesla! You made us and three other people very happy indeed. In addition, RideScout brought some of their very cool electric cabs and offered free rides for participants around downtown.
IMG_9553During the event, RideScout CEO Joseph Kopser announced the launch of their new downtown shuttle pilot which is designed to help ease some of Austin’s traffic pain. This new service provides air-conditioned rides from 7am to 1pm on weekdays on a rectangular route along Trinity, Sixth, Guadalupe and Second streets. Great stuff RideScout!
The event was also a great success thanks to the delicious food and catering services provided by The Peached Tortilla. And of course, last but not least, thank you Deep Eddy Vodka for providing delicious cocktails to for the opening reception. Google Fiber continues to set the bar for hosting high-quality high-profile events for Austin at its new state of the art facility downtown Austin.
~ by Ana Gilligan
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Green Fern Events Produces Zero Waste Event for CleanTX

PanelCleanCloud5.13.15On May 13, 2015 Green Fern Events provided seamless event management support and zero waste services for CleanTX‘s first signature event of 2015, “CleanCloud: The Business Case for Green Data Centers”. Over 100 guests braved the rain to gather in the state-of-the-art Google Fiber venue in downtown Austin. The night kicked off with a networking reception “fueled” by beverages provided by Dripping Springs Vodka and Austin Beerworks, appetizers from The Peached Tortilla, and the Darin Layne Brazilian Jazz trio.

Band@googlefiberevent5.13.15Following the reception, Steve Hammond, Director of the Computational Science Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, gave a keynote presentation. Steve provided valuable context for the event, highlighting the fact that data centers consume approximately 3% of all energy generated in the U.S.

NRELkeynoteCleanCloudEvent5.13.15After the keynote, Shalini Ramanathan, VP of Origination for RES Americas, moderated an all-star panel including: David Rocha (CLEAResult); Ty Schmitt (Dell); Ed Smeloff (SunPower); Todd Kiehn (Active Power); and Christiaan Best (Green Revolution Cooling).

 

CleanCloudPanel5.13.15 (1)It was a wonderful evening filled with great music, delicious food, quality networking and a high-profile panel discussion. But the icing on the cake for us is that Green Fern Events succeeded in producing a ZERO WASTE event for our client. Zero Waste  in the industry is considered 90% diversion or more from a landfill and we exceeded this by 7%. We did not have a whole lot of waste at the conclusion of the event, but that is because careful attention went into source reduction in the pre-planning stage as well.
Green Fern Events – Sustainable Event Strategy for CleanCloud

  • Venue Selection: Central downtown location
  • Transport: Safe walking or cycling distance to venue, mass transit availability
  • Source Reduction: Say no to SWAG! We purchased only what we needed for this event. Many items will be re-purposed for next CleanTX event and for example the banner will be used at ALL CleanTX events + partner events.
  • Water: Say NO to bottled water. We had no bottled water at this event.
  • Lighting: Google fiber uses LED lights
  • Food + Beverage: Used caterer that supports local farms. Also – menu selection had more vegetarian than meat option which is also better for the environment. I also chose all finger foods to eliminate waste from disposable forks/knives, etc.
  • BPI Certified Compostable Products: We used certified compostable plates, napkins and serverware for the event.
  • These products breakdown within two m
    onths at commercial composting facility.
  • Waste Management Plan (Organics Recycling + Single-Stream Recycling). GFE provided all the bins, signage and staffing for the event. Post-event your eco-warrior (aka Emily Kahn!)- hauled all the recycling (mainly glass + aluminum and some plastic) to Ecology Action and the food waste/compostables was taken to Organics by Gosh.

 

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Green Fern Events turns FIVE today!

Happy Earth Day + Happy 5th Anniversary to Green Fern Events!

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Five years ago today was the official launch of my company, Green Fern Events (GFE). What an incredible journey it’s been so far. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to create a company that achieves two things that I love most – planning events and saving the planet! Not only does GFE plan amazing events that support the growth of global environmental sustainability  (i.e., clean tech, organics recycling, renewable energy, etc.), we produce them in a way that has the least environmental impact. To date, GFE has diverted almost 10 tons of waste from landfills as a result of smart strategic planning and waste management. We have provided these services for organizations such as US Composting Council, Bazaarvoice, Cielo Wind Power, Herbalismo – A Medicinal Plant Conference, Austin Chamber of Commerce, US Green Building Council – Central, TX,  and Technology Transition Corporation to name a few. To put this into perspective, 10 tons is approximately the size of TEN ADULT ELEPHANTS!

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What if every event planning company did this? Think how much waste we would reduce from landfills here in Austin, in Texas, around the globe. This has been my dream since Green Fern’s inception in 2009. To influence the growth of the “green events” industry so that it will eventually become standard practice.

Green Fern Events (GFE) is Texas’ premier sustainable event management and production company. Based in Austin, TX – GFE helps clients across the nation reduce the negative environmental impacts of their events while at the same time delivering high-quality, flawless, professionally-executed events at a cost effective price. From conferences and tradeshows for 1000+ attendees, to corporate seminars and social events for hundreds of guests, we realize first and foremost that events needs to be delivered successfully. No matter the size and scope of your event, GFE works with each of our clients to make every event exceptional.

This weekend Green Fern Events will manage a Special Earth Day Event for Cielo Wind Power in Amarillo, Texas. Life is good! Thanks to everyone who has supported the growth of Green Fern Events and the dream I have of making this world a better place for our children, our grandchildren and generations to come.

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Herbalismo 2013

herbalismo_logoHerbalismo, the first medicinal plant conference ever held in the state of Texas was one of Green Fern Events (GFE) signature events in 2013. The conference took place October 24-28, 2013 at the beautiful Flat Creek Crossings Ranch (FCCR) next to Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City.  The producers of Herbalismo (N3P Productions) hired GFE to help plan and implement this unique event. Thanks to an incredible team effort as well as support from the local community it was a grand success!

Herbalismo is labeled as a medicinal plant festival, but it was so much more than that. Herbalismo consisted of many vendors, sponsors, classes, as well as teachers from across the globe. In addition the venue went through a transformation from a beautiful campground with limited resources, to a more conference/festival friendly retreat center. Also included were tribal ceremonies of cleansing and celebration. But nothing brought this beloved group together stronger then the generosity and comradery of the over 200 attendees.

This Day of the Dead skull was painted by Emily's son. Day of the Dead is a day to honor our loved ones who are no longer with us.

This Day of the Dead skull was painted by Emily’s son. Day of the Dead is a day to honor our loved ones who are no longer with us.

When you bring together a group of people that share the same passion for healing and wellness, no matter what the originating belief system, you will find unity. The beautiful thing about this kind of unity is the incredible amount of acceptance of traditionally polarized belief systems. Herbalismo brought these people not only a better understanding of these belief systems, but an education in diverse lifestyles and backgrounds. Herbalismo had teachers and attendees alike flying in, hitch hiking (not recommended), busing, and shuttling in for the three-day event. These passionate souls completely depended on Herbalismo to not only teach them about medicinal plants, but also to provide adequate shelter, water, food and other life sustaining resources. Another key characteristic all shared was a divine respect for mother earth.

Native American Musicians honored the event by sharing their cultural heritage.

Native American Musicians honored the event by sharing their cultural heritage.

Herbalismo, the first medicinal plant festival and conference ever held in the state of Texas was a ZERO WASTE event! Green Fern Events successfully divert 92% of the almost 2 tons of waste from going into the landfill. This was all done through the hard work of tireless volunteers, contributions of Green Goddess Recycling resources, Texas Disposal System’s seam-less services, Flat Creek Crossing’s Ranch maintenance faculty, but ultimately was due to the due diligence of the attendees in using the proper receptacles for waste.

This is just one of the breathtaking views showing off Texas Hill Country

This is just one of the breathtaking views showing off Texas Hill Country

Flat Creek Crossing Ranch is spread across almost 500 acres of property adjacent to Pedernales State Park. It includes a spring-fed swimming hole, enough cabins to sleep 132 people comfortably, RV hook-ups, a giant grassy camping area all accompanied by pavilions and overlooks that simply take your breath away.FCCR’s facilitators, Patricia Garrett and Rick Gambino, went over and above to facilitate the needs of Herbalismo in every way. Rick, the facilities manager, actually took time out of his own schedule to build heated showers where there was no water source before, run electricity to the campgrounds for lighting. Brush was cleared, stages were built, fire wood chopped, and essentially every need was met. Patricia met our audio visual needs and both were quick to respond to every request.

The stunning ladies of N3P Productions, the producers of Herbalismo, had all the ingredients for an amazing festival that has now taken on a life all its own. Despite numerous requests for another Herbalismo in 2014, N3P is considering hosting the event biennally . One can only guess what they will have in store for us next time.

Green Fern Events is honored to be a huge part in the creation and success of Herbalismo. Emily Kahn successfully tied N3P’s ingredients together in just short-six weeks, creating not just another great event, but a zero waste event.

I recommend the use of FCCR for almost any medium sized gathering, family reunions, retreats, environmental conferences or just a simple get-away-from-it-all destination. Check out their website at HYPERLINK “http://www.txsranch.com”www.txsranch.com.  You can check out what’s going on with the next Herbalismo at HYPERLINK “http://www.herbalismo.org”www.herbalismo.org. And please don’t forget Green Fern Events for all sustainable event management solutions. Check us out at HYPERLINK “http://www.greenfernevents.com”www.greenfernevents.com.

Herbalismo 2013 – a testament to a life of health, happiness, healing, growth, education, diversity and unity.

The Pavilion at Flat Creek Crossing Ranch

The Pavilion at Flat Creek Crossing Ranch

Zero-Waste Hard at Work

Zero-Waste Hard at Work

El Locavore Catering created amazing meals that met all dietary needs. This is a fresh Autumn Salad, served on compostable cutlary and table-ware.

El Locavore Catering created amazing meals that met all dietary needs. This is a fresh Autumn Salad, served on compostable cutlary and table-ware.

Emily Kahn, Tiffany Harlik (upside-down) and Katrina Godinez know how to have fun while they work!

Emily Kahn, Tiffany Harlik (upside-down) and Katrina Godinez know how to have fun while they work!

This is 640 pounds of compost that was diverted from the landfill. We sent another 1200 pounds of waste off to be recycled. This was a zero waste event with 92% of total waste diverted from the landfill.

This is 640 pounds of compost that was diverted from the landfill. We sent another 1200 pounds of waste off to be recycled. This was a zero waste event with 92% of total waste diverted from the landfill.

Summer 2013: The Compostable Picnic

When planning a summer picnic or any event that requires disposable food service items, consider using biodegradable plates, cups, and cutlery. Today, there is a wide variety of biodegradable picnic wear. However, ensuring you are purchasing certified Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) compostable products is essential.

BPI logoDue to the widespread claims of “natural” or “biodegradable” products, BPI has developed scientifically based standards to label products fit for large industrial composting facilities.  Disposing of non-certified products into compost leads to contamination and high costs for processing and disposal. To identify certified BPI products, simply look for their logo to know you are making the correct purchase.

Biodegradable products today come from a wide variety of feedstocks, including: BPI certified resin, compressed palm leaves, sugarcane bagasse, palm fiber, bamboo pulp, reed fiber, corn starch, biopolymer plant sugar, and paperboard.

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Before purchasing, be sure to note the capacity of your local composting facility. All BPI products will break down in municipal or commercial composing facilities. However, some BPI certified compostable products require high temperatures to decompose. Therefore, those are not suitable for a typical home composting bin.

It is important to remember when purchasing biodegradable or compostable products; they must be disposed of properly. They will not break down in landfills; even food waste does not decompose in a landfill. This summer make your picnic zero-waste by using BPI certified plates, cups, and cutlery!

 

For a full list of BPI certified products, visit their site here.

Below are links to check if there are composting facilities in your area:

http://www.wm.com/residential/curbside-waste-pickup.jsp

http://www.findacomposter.com/listing/alllocations.php

US Composting Council 21st Annual Conference & Trade Show

Green Fern Events (GFE) traveled to Orlando, Florida late January through early February to assist with the implementation of the US Composting Council’s 21st Annual Conference & Trade show. With over 100 exhibitors and 900 attendees, it was a grand success!  The USCC hosts the world’s largest conference and exhibition for the organics management industry. The program consists of 3 days of workshops & technical sessions (with more than 80 speakers) followed by a “LIVE” demonstration of the latest equipment offerings. See pictures below.

A highlight for me at this year’s conference was hearing Will Allen speak. Mr. Allen, is co-author of the The Good Food Revolution, and CEO of Growing Power, Inc. His presentation was incredibly inspiring. Since 1993, Growing Power has transformed communities across the nation by supporting the development of Community Food Systems. Mr. Allen believes, “If people can grow safe, healthy, affordable food, if they have access to land and clean water, this is the transformative on every level in a community, I believe we cannot have healthy communities without a healthy food system”. Checkout his short video clip here: http://www.growingpower.org

GFE has been working with the USCC now for 12 months and we are already in the early planning stages of next year’s event to be held January 26-29, 2014 at the Marriott City Center, Oakland CA. In 2015, the conference will return back to our hometown – Austin, TX and will be held January 19-22 at the Renaissance Austin – Arboretum Blvd.

In Orlando, Waste Management (WM) sponsored the organics recycling and recycling for the entire 3-day conference. As a result of our zero waste initiative, the USCC Conference had a successful 92% diversion rate from landfill. Anything over 90% is considered ZERO WASTE.

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WM’s Robot!

 

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Compost smells great! Emily Kahn @ Live equipment DemoIMG_3929

 

2nd Year in a Row: Green Fern Events Helps Bazaarvoice Host Zero Waste Holiday Event for 700

We’ve done it again! I must admit, at first I was a bit skeptical that we could beat our very high diversion rate of 97% from last year’s event at the Austin Music Hall. As I mentioned once before, anything over 90% is considered ZERO WASTE and last year we exceeded that percentage with flying colors.

On Friday, November 30 at Brazos Hall (a new hip venue in downtown Austin) we broke all records diverting close to 99% of all the waste from the party from a landfill! This is the best we’ve ever done.

Pink Avacado Catering & Brazos Hall staff were amazing! To give you a few examples…the servers were pouring out ice from cups, putting lemons in the compost bins and then recycling the plastic. The bar managers helped the bar staff get all of their recyclables to the proper bins in the back. The kitchen staff made sure every single bit of food waste was composted (even to the last little black bean).

High Beam Events did a great job of coordinating the overall event as well as for taking the time to setup a pre-planning walkthrough with all the vendors to communicate our green initiative.

About Green Fern Events: Green Fern Events (GFE) is a sustainable event management company. Based in Austin, TX – GFE helps clients across the nation improve the positive environmental impacts of their events while at the same time delivering high-quality, flawless, professionally-executed events at a cost effective price.

Formula 1: Circuit of the America’s Key Sustainability Initiatives

by Tiffany Harelik

Austin is buzzing in preparation for its first Formula 1 US Grand Prix race taking place on Nov. 16-18, 2012. The new circuit in Austin is a 3.4 mile loop.  Drivers will make 56 counter-clockwise laps around the course.  Mario Andretti recently drove his championship-winning Lotus 79 through the track claiming “The track is phenomenal.  It has all the features that you are looking for, giving you the opportunity to overtake, while negotiating some tighter corners.  You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into it.”

Before plans were finalized to bring F1 to Austin, an environmental commitment agreement was drafted between the City of Austin and the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).  COTA as agreed to comply with the sustainability initiatives set forth in the agreement and will report on these measures annually. But that is not all. COTA has committed to long-term sustainability goals. Edgar Ferrara, COTA Director of Sustainability, recently stated,  “we’re going to raise the bar and we’re going to set an example, ‘ And that’s the approach we all have taken”.

COTA has committed to setting a standard for sustainability in North American motorsports. They have joined the Green Sports Alliance and are working closely with many leaders in the industry. “We are excited to be collaborating with the best minds in sustainable facility management”, said Ferrara.

See some of COTA’s Sustainability Initiatives highlighted below:

  • They have removed invasive plant species as well as introduced more tall grasses in efforts to restore dry creek and blackland prairie areas.
  • They have planted over 1,000 new (mostly native) trees.
  • Low flow toilets are being used to conserve water at the facilities.
  • Recycling and composting programs are in effect. Also food and beverage vendors will be using recyclable or compostable/biodegradable cups and dishes.
  • Carbon Reduction project in effect with non-profit group TreeFolks
  • Transportation: Mass Transit Options and Access for Cyclists
  • Eco-Opt Ticketing Program. Ticket buyers have the options to add a charge to their purchase to support one of three local eco projects.

For more information on the Austin Grand Prix, visit: http://circuitoftheamericas.com/

Related Articles:

Formula 1 RACES TO BE GREEN 

Circuit of The Americas Joins Green Sports Alliance 

Formula Farrera: Formula One Cranks Up Sustainability Engine