Categorized | Art, City, Entertainment, Event

Pensacola celebrates Earth Day

The soft vocals of local performers blanketed over the sounds of children playing, dogs barking and vendors attempting to save the environment.

The Earth Day Pensacola festival took place on Saturday in Bayview Park. The festival featured more than 40 vendors and organizations.

Each booth had an environmental aspect to it. Some were selling their products to lower energy costs or provide a more environmentally safe alternative, others were selling organic foods and goods.

Off the Vine, which sells organic produce, was located in the heart of the festival.

Festivalgoers were encouraged to write down their email addresses on a sign-up list to get a weekly newsletter from the vendor. The newsletter contains a list of all the produce being sold that week.

“Our main focus is to keep the food all certified organic,” Off the Vine Representative Kayla Rodenhiser said. “It’s all grown within the week of its delivery.

“The soil itself has to be organic. It could take up to three years for a farmer to finally get organic soil to cultivate their produce.”

Program participants can order produce online to be picked up at a location in Pensacola, Fort Walton, Niceville, Navarre or Crestview.

In addition to the produce, the organization offers organic recipes in each newsletter.

“I would much rather spend more money on healthy food now rather than on expensive medical procedures in the future,” Rodenhiser said.

More information about the program can be found at offthevine.org.

Another vendor that was helping families save money was Habitat for Humanity.

Through a selection process, families are chosen to live in refurbished homes. All homes are built to Energy Star 3 standards.

The Habitat for Humanity Pensacola Restore, located on Palafox Street, is a place where used building materials, appliances, furniture and more can be donated.

AmeriCorps members and community volunteers take the donated goods to one of their refurbished homes, or sell them in the store.

“I would like to teach others how to reuse items that are still usable,” AmeriCorps member Blaise Moehl said. “I think it’s terrible when I see stuff on the side of the road to be thrown away, but nothing is wrong with it.

“The store has actually saved over 1,600 tons of quality home goods from being thrown away.”

According to the Pensacola Habitat for Humanity 2012 Annual Report, the Pensacola Habitat has expanded into Milton. The Milton Restore was built with a new concept in mind: vintage and antique home goods.

Money raised at the restores go directly to the Pensacola Habitat. More than $500,000 in revenue was made from both restores last year.

For more information about getting involved with Pensacola Habitat for Humanity visit pensacolahabitat.org.

Even if you do not have a family to provide for yet, there are little things that you can do to help the environment now such as recycling bottles and cans and carpooling to school.

The essence of the Earth Day Pensacola festival was to show community members that every little bit helps. Why not start today?

Amanda Shaffer
Staff Writer

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