Ten years ago the California Strawberry Festival kicked off a new recycling program in partnership with the City of Oxnard and Oxnard City Corps. For this year’s 31st annual celebration May 17, 18 in Oxnard, organizers are taking steps leading toward zero waste — a plus for the environment and fundraising.
Since 2004, a total of nearly 70 tons of materials have been recycled from the annual celebration including: plastic water and soda bottles, cardboard, glass wine bottles, plastic buckets, empty food containers, and more. In fact, the Festival received the “Waste Watch Award” for its sustainable “green” event practices. Patrons are encouraged to use the easily recognizable recycle bins conveniently placed throughout the park and youths from City Corps patrol the grounds and collect the materials. Vendors also contribute by following required guidelines to separate out recyclables such as cardboard, glass and plastic containers from other materials. While the local food bank, Food Share, gathers up any leftover edible food, the Festival is now taking yet another step to reduce waste while conserving energy and protecting natural resources.
Helping to take a bite out of the amount of food waste going to the landfill, for 2014 a pilot program for food and organics recycling will be introduced where vendors will be actively engaged in separating out materials that can be composted into valuable soil amendments. This all takes place behind the scenes, ensuring the Festival maintains its place as an industry leader of live events with a social consciousness.
2013 “Green” Results
* 35,000 people took advantage of the free park ‘n’ ride shuttles.
* 200 pounds of food was donated to Food Share.
* 10 tons of materials were recycled and diverted from landfills.
Tickets for the 31st annual California Strawberry Festival at Strawberry Meadows of College Park in Oxnard range from $5 to $12 and can be purchased at www.strawberry-fest.org. The toll free information number is 888-488-9242.
— Lisa Carey