Did you enjoy this year’s Virtual Festival? What about a Festival favorite drink or menu item on a patio or from the comfort of your home? As you know, our project meant to eliminate the use of styrofoam at Festival International de Louisiane and inspire interest in zero waste events, was stunted due to Covid-19 and the shift to a virtual Festival in both 2020 and 2021.
Our “Plan B” to pivot for this year and incorporate plant-based to-go containers into Feastival locations did not end up taking place. We know we’ll be able to make a bigger impact both for Festival International and the community by sticking to the original plan for one big push towards a foam-free Festival accompanied by a switch to compostable containers. So, we still have all of our funds earmarked from 2020 and they are ready to be utilized for the next live event — mark your calendars now for Festival International 2022, April 27 – May 1st!
As previously planned, we will work with Festival International staff and their vendors this coming fall and winter to help educate and subsidize the switch to compostable to-go containers. In the meantime, check out our fiscal sponsors No Waste Lafayette. They hosted Lafayette’s first “Zero Waste Week” in May and have many tips and resources to help people reduce waste every day!
As you all know, Festival International looked a lot different last year, altering the plans for our original project. The same will be true for Festival International 2021. The Festival released their plans for this year’s event in January. The Covid-friendly plans “take the 2020 Virtual Fest structure to the next level by combining live/immersive experiences in Downtown Lafayette, plus community-centered components to create an unforgettable event”. You can read more details about the 2021 plans here: https://festivalinternational.org/festival-international-announces-plans-for-2021/
We’ve been in communication with Festival International throughout the last year and are all committed to incorporating sustainability into this year’s hybrid live/immersive event. Fourteen of the food vendors from last year’s lineup had pledged to participate as “green” festival vendors and use only plant-based service ware. This year, we will work with the Festival and their restaurant partners to incorporate plant-based packaging into the “FEASTival International” activities set to take place throughout the month of April.
While we are not yet able to confirm exactly how this will look, we hope you will be able to pick up some traditional Festival menu-items boxed in plant-based to-go containers. It is worth noting that to-go boxes are the more expensive of the plant-based packaging items, so the funding won’t go as far as it would have at a live event where many of the food items are served in paper boats, plates, and bowls. However, our mission to introduce and encourage the use of plant-based packaging options (particularly the bagasse containers!) will continue and Festival fans can expect to see the *Geaux Green* logo used in some capacity to designate restaurants with more sustainable takeout operations.
WE DID IT!!!! We had the first ever ZERO-WASTE FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL!
Like all of you, we were disappointed when we couldn’t celebrate our favorite festival in person. We would like to give a huge shout-out to Scott Feehan and his team for providing a world-class virtual experience that has now become the model for other festivals. (The Virtual 5k was especially genius!) Their work allows us to keep dreaming and planning ways to make our biggest party a green one.
This means that we can now look to next year for implementing our 24HCP plan, with more time to get vendors on board, educate the community, and support city infrastructure policies that will make it easier for all of Lafayette to Geaux Green.
Here are things you can do to help!
Ask about eco-friendly to-go containers at your favorite restaurants. Frequent restaurants that use them. Many of our vendors were surprised to learn the variety that is now available on sites like Ecoproducts. In many cases, the markup for these containers is just a few cents.
Say no to plastic straws, lids, and other single-use products. We know that isn’t always easy, but each one you refuse is one less that ends up in our waterways and landfills.
Show your love for a greener festival with “Geaux Green” Merchandise! So far, we’ve sold about 100 pins and 25 stickers. Want your own?
The response to our project has been truly overwhelming these last couple months. The outpouring of support and encouragement from you still comes daily as our plans continue to develop and come to fruition. A few weeks ago we posted a poll via the Festival Internationale website asking, “Would you be more or less willing to visit a food vendor who used compostable packaging?” With nearly 1,000 votes between Facebook and Instagram combined, a whopping 89% of you answered with a resounding YES!!! #monumental
Since funding night here’s how we’ve advanced our project:
– We partnered with EcoProducts to develop an online store for the food vendors to directly purchase their to-go containers with the “24HCP discount” already tabulated, effectively streamlining the ordering and delivery process
– We held a meeting with all of the 2020 food vendors explaining the project and process. Many of them had expressed interest in doing something like this prior but seemed like too much of an undertaking.
– We’ve held several calls and meetings with the FIL marketing team to build a full-scale campaign centered around Greening Festival (which will begin in just a few weeks).
– And lastly, and definitely my favorite news to share, we’ll have Green Festival pins available for purchase soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
This undertaking wouldn’t have been possible without the diligent work of our whole team, the staff at Festival Internationale, the investors who provided our funding, the 24HCP leaders and most importantly, you the community. Big things are coming! Glad to have you along for the ride.
Is it a marketing miracle or meant-to-be that the first day of Festival International de Louisiane 2020 is Earth Day? That’s right, mark your calendars for April 22-26, 2020 and a Festival International experience with a slightly green-er hue!
As a reminder, we’ll be incentivizing food vendors away from using styrofoam packaging items at their FIL booths. The incentive comes in the form of a subsidy meant to cover some of the increased costs associated with the environmentally-preferable materials, as well as a full-court marketing press around the initiative. Our team met with FIL staff last week for a post-funding kick off to work through some logistics regarding the vendor subsidy as well as a vendor-communication plan.
We’ve confirmed working with a company called Eco-Products to create a FIL-specific store on zerowasteevents.com. Vendors will be given a special code to login and order what they need for Festival International. We’ll have individual calls with vendors this month to determine what bagasse and other compostable items should be offered in this digital storefront. These calls will also serve to confirm our quantity estimates and gauge buy-in from vendors. We’ll then use this information to calculate the official subsidy parameters that will be possible with our 24HCP funding.
Vendors who use all compostable packaging at their booths will get the special “green vendor” designation on all communications about food and vendors — the FIL app, online, and even their physical booth signage! This way, Festival-goers will be able to search for green vendors and choose to eat from booths that use compostable packaging!
Our first all-vendor meeting will take place in January, so be ready for another big update in our next letter.