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Earth Day Sustainability Fair returns to promote sustainable agricultural practices

Erin Gottsacker

Crowds gathered at the Earth Day Sustainability Fair Friday, where volunteers taught community members about everything from composting to homesteading.

After a two-year break for COVID, the fair returned for its tenth year with nearly 30 vendors, 5 speakers, 140 students and roomfuls of visitors who joined together to learn about ways to protect the Northwoods environment.

“Celebrating Earth Day, I think can really happen through the networks that we have in the Northwoods and really getting to know your neighbors,” says Patrick Burns, one of the fair’s organizers. “We’re all connected in different ways and there’s so much to celebrate up here.”

The theme of this year’s event was “Sustainability – a PERMAnent feature of Northwoods CULTURE.”

That’s a clever shoutout to permaculture, which is a focus of the Northwoods Community Garden.

Among the vendors present at the Sustainability Fair, the Vilas County Master Gardeners and Friends were teaching people how to compost.

Nancy Brandner represented the organization.

“This is a worm bin,” she explains. “You put your worms and your vegetables in the corners, then they’re making beautiful poop.”

That poop turns into a nutrient rich soil that simultaneously diverts food waste from the landfill and helps grow healthy gardens.

Composting was one of many exhibits on display at the fair.

Visitors also learned about wild mushrooms, the Hodag Solar Farm, recycling, and how to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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