Festival promotes greener living

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 15/10/2012

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If the crowd at the weekend's Harvest Festival was anything to go by, sustainability is no longer a word associated solely with long-haired, hemp-wearing hippies.

The more than 3000 people who attended the festival at Te Manawa on Saturday came from all walks of life and all age groups.

It was something actor Michael Self, who recorded material for a documentary at the event, was pleased to see.

"I'm the hairiest hippy here," the bearded star of a recent Lotto ad campaign said.

The Harvest Festival celebrated sustainability with more than 50 stalls promoting greener ways of living.

There was also live music from more than 25 acts and speakers on topics such as waste minimisation, home heating and gardening.

Interest in sustainable practices was growing, Mr Self said, and becoming more mainstream.

"People do care (about the environment) and they need to be able to be exposed to new ways of doing things."

Mr Self said he had been impressed with the range of stallholders at the festival, and the diversity of what was on offer.

Event co-ordinator Harald Bettin was pleased with the turnout at the event, saying door counters estimated 3300 people attended the festival.

"People are really starting to care about sustainability and the environment," he said.

Among the exhibitors was Palmerston North city councillor Chris Teo-Sherrell, who had an exhibit detailing his plan for revamping the city's bus services.

Cr Teo-Sherrell said he had also noticed a growing interest in adopting sustainable practices by both individuals and institutions.

"I was talking to a council officer of a nearby (district) council and he said a few years ago his councillors took the cheapest option. Now sustainability is an issue there and even if it costs a bit more, they're willing to consider it."

Cr Teo-Sherrell said the advantage of an event such as the Harvest Festival was the ability for people to learn about new ways of doing things, without feeling like they were being preached at.

"Hopefully an event like this helps people who aren't doing anything, take the first step."

For those who recycled, used energy-efficient light bulbs and had compost heaps, it was a chance to learn what else they could do, he said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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