A warm feeling of small-town spirit swept over the Newton Centre Green as kiddie rides, carnival food stands, live music, and an array of tables decorated the sprawling lawn.
The City of Newton looked to promote local businesses and sustainability efforts during day two of the 40th annual Harvest Fair on Oct. 16.
Waneta Trabert, who works for Newton Department of Public Works in the Division of Sustainable Materials Management, said that without events like the Harvest Fair it’s hard to reach people to teach them about environmental and sustainable issues.
“Recycling is a very confusing thing for everybody to deal with, and it also induces a lot of guilt that folks feel for their consumption habits,” Trabert said. “It’s kind of like fighting contamination and helping folks know what the right thing to do is.”
Trabert’s booth had mini recycling bins set out as well as a game that informs people about how they can recycle their plastic bags.
“At today’s event, we’re really highlighting the fact that Newton has a recycling app,”
Trabert said. “We have these little mini bins, and they’re a big draw for kids and families. We ask folks to either download our app or play our sorting game to be able to take one.”
Trabert said that her main goal is to provide awareness and education about waste contamination. She wants to encourage people not to “wish-cycle,”a phenomenon where people recycle things simply because they want to recycle as much as possible.
“We want folks to instead take ownership and say, well, actually, the right thing to do is to put it in the trash, and then of course reflect on their own behaviors and habits,” Trabert said.
In addition to raising awareness on sustainability issues, the Newton Harvest Fair also set the stage for small local businesses to share their products. Joan Cameron, an artist and owner of JDC Art Studio, creates art through many different mediums including pottery, painting, and jewelry.
Cameron spoke about the creative freedom that comes along with owning a small business. She continues to experiment with different mediums and is currently learning how to create art that serves both utility and aesthetic purposes.
“It’s a never-ending process,” Cameron said, “I just enjoy doing it so much because, you know, it takes a lifetime to actually learn the whole process.”
But owning a small business is an immense commitment of time and effort.
“There’s not enough time to do all of it,” Cameron said. “So that’s the problem.”
Trabert said that events like the Harvest Fair help local initiatives expand their customer base. The focus on community interaction coincides with sustainability efforts, as it allows people to focus on intentional buying rather than overconsumption.
“It does require time, effort, and planning for a one-day, one-off event,” Trabert said. “But of course, it’s helpful to be here in the community in order to reach these people and spread our message.”