News Staff Writer
Greenfest takes place Sep. 9 to 16 with a multitude of events focusing on education and service sponsored by the Student Environmental Center and partners on UNC Asheville’s campus.
“Greenfest’s purpose is to raise environmental issues,” said Lisette Gallaher, SEC project coordinator. “Awareness about environmental issues to the campus as a whole by offering a variety of events and workshops and speakers, all these different things to kinda cater to every taste so that a diverse amount of students can come participate and learn things they didn’t know.”
Gallaher, a sophomore interdisciplinary studies student from Winston-Salem also said the events were largely oriented toward service and education.
Shannon Bodeau, garden manager at the Roots Garden, said without service or awareness of how environmentalism intersects with other social issues such as poverty, environmentalism becomes prejudiced and unwelcoming to those who cannot afford the sustainable practices many take for granted.
For some, paying five dollars for organic kale is not feasible and it can be easy for those who can afford it to forget monetary limitations can act as barriers.
As far as education goes, Gallaher said Greenfest includes educational events as well because people cannot attempt to solve or understand the problems environmentalism addresses without learning about the issues and why they are happening.
According to the Greenfest calendar on the UNCA Sustainability website, there will be a presentation on Rachel Carson and her mission on Sep. 12, an herbalism workshop on Sep. 13 and a career panel discussing green jobs on Sep. 15. There will be two service days, one on campus and one off.
“Especially for people who don’t have the chances to interact with environmental issues and information about environmental issues, it’s really accessible,” said Emilia Panish-Hoffmann, a junior environmental studies student and garden manager of Canastea. “It’s right here and there’s so many different things going on.”
Bodeau, a junior interdisciplinary studies student from San Francisco, said service is definitely a priority of hers. While Roots Garden, along with other campus gardens and local business, will provide some of the food for the Farm-to-Table Dinner on Sep. 14, Bodeau’s first concern is community partners and making sure they have enough to feed the populations they serve around Asheville.
“Service also comes in with environmental justice which strongly correlates with social justice,” said Gallaher “In order to have a platform where we can build environmental justice we first have to have a platform for social justice, so we donate to all these food places like Food Not Bombs.”
Despite the SEC employees personal actions and opinions, the Greenfest calendar mentions a few events that do not promote education or service at all, including a plant sale at the Botanical Gardens.
Campus Recreation’s Outdoor Programs is leading a Mountain Mindfulness trip, with the description highlighting yoga but not mentioning any aspect of activism. The Jungle Book, sponsored by Underdog Productions, is about a boy with talking animals as friends, not environmentalism.
Regardless of Greenfest’s focus, Gallagher said the Second Annual Farm-to-Table Dinner on Sep. 14 is the biggest Greenfest event.
Bodeau said the dinner was a celebration of sustainable practices and local food.
If anyone wants to put environmental service into practice, Panish-Hoffmann said the campus gardens have regular workdays. Currently, she will be in the Castanea Garden Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“Environmental justice is believing there is going to be a future and believing we have to take care of that future and make sure it’s going to be a happy one,” said Gallagher. “One that people can actually live in.”