EcoLiving Fair returning

EcoLiving Fair + Workshops and Seedy Saturday returns to Red Deer on March 1, with Green Drinks added for good measure.

EcoLiving Fair + Workshops and Seedy Saturday returns to Red Deer on March 1, with Green Drinks added for good measure.

First held last April, EcoLiving Fair + Workshops and Seedy Saturday are intended to raise the public’s awareness about ways they can reduce their impact on the earth.

“The whole idea of the event is to showcase sustainable living, green technology and be environmentally friendly,” said Rene Michalak, project lead with ReThink Red Deer, which is organizing the event.

Exhibitors will demonstrate green products and services, and workshops will provide information about topics like urban homesteading, eco-friendly building, alternative energy and zero-waste practices.

“We’re crowdsourcing the desired workshop topics and then we’ll either use the workshops that the exhibitors put forward, or we’ll go out and find additional presenters to ask them if they’d be willing to do it for a free booth.”

In fact, any exhibitor that delivers a 45-minute “green-living” workshop will be excused from paying an exhibit fee. Otherwise, the cost is $100 in the case of for-profit organizations and a “pay-what-you-can” contribution from non-profit entities.

Seed distributors taking part in the event will pay $30, and the cost for attendees to participate in the workshops is $5 for one or $20 for all.

Michalak said it’s important to bring green-minded businesses, organizations and individuals together.

“The more info we share, the more ideas we present and the more aware people become of the fact that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business ranked us fourth in the country for entrepreneurial activity — it’s a hotspot for innovation and an opportunity to start new businesses in this theme.”

Green businesses are more common in Calgary and Edmonton, simply because of the larger populations in those cities, said Michalak.

“I do think it is building momentum in Central Alberta and it’s just a matter of how many people are awake and aware of why these types of businesses are important.”

New this year will be Green Drinks Red Deer, where exhibitors and show-goers will be able to get together in a social setting after the fair.

“It’s been successful in Edmonton and Calgary for encouraging that type of economic development to bring those professionals together and network,” said Michalak.

The fair will also mark the launch of a community seed bank for Central Alberta.

EcoLiving Fair + Workshops and Seedy Saturday will run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Cenovus Learning Common area of Red Deer College.

Michalak said a presenting sponsor for the event has been tentatively confirmed, but a marketplace sponsorship is still available at a cost of $500. The deadline for exhibitors to register is Feb. 14.

For more information, go to www.rethinkreddeer.ca/events/2014/03/01.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com