Produced by Diana Huberty
Hundreds of Ithaca community members came out on April 23 to celebrate the beginning of the spring season at the Compost Fair, located at the CCE-Tompkins Education Center on Willow Ave. The event was free and open to the public, hosted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County.
The Compost Fair aimed to bring attention to the importance of composting and to provide information on how to compost effectively. The event featured a variety of activities, both related and unrelated to composting. Demonstrations took place across the fair on beginner and advanced compost techniques. There were also tours of the demonstration site held throughout the day, animals available for petting, arts and crafts and live music, keeping fair-goers of all ages entertained.
Rebecca Kaebnick, one Ithaca resident who came out to the fair, commented on the environment created by the event.
“I like how bustling it is,” Kaebnick said. “You know, there’s live music and everybody is just having really relaxed encounters with each other, it’s just a really nice space to be in.”
At the Basic Composting Booth, community members learned the benefits of composting and how to go about becoming a composter. The booth taught community members tips about composting, like keeping a 3:1 ration on brown to green waste and how to balance water, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon effectively.
The event was also extremely kid-friendly, with a number of activities available to younger crowds across the fair. By getting youth into composting at a young age, they are more likely to continue the sustainable process both now and in the future. Visual entertainment was provided in a mix of styles, including dance, music and comedy. The fair featured a variety of opportunities to win compost prizes, from hourly raffles to duck racing.
Kaela Klapan, a nutrition intern, said the event was a great way to bring people together and stressed the benefit of holding such an interactive event.
“I think it’s a great way to have community members get together and all participate in fun, educational workshops,” Klapan said.
Olivia Pastella was one of many volunteers and organization members at the fair from different local groups partnering with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County to hold the event.
“I’m a very active member of the community, and I was really interested in this event,” Pastella said. “I heard about the Compost Fair and then got invited by a friend to volunteer at the event to represent Eat Smart New York.”
This year, the event was held in conjunction with the 4-H Duck Race, where 3400 bright yellow rubber ducks sailed down the falls at Cascadilla Gorge Trail, raced down Cascadilla Creek and finished at the Education Center on Willow Ave. The first 50 ducks to cross the finish line, which were assigned and purchased in advance by onlookers, won a prize.
The organizations that partnered with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins county to host the Compost Fair included Master Gardeners, Ithaca Community Gardens, Rural Youth Services, Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management, Ithaca Children’s Garden, Cayuga Compost, CCE Local Foods Program and Parenting Education.