Vineland Green Fair

For the first time in their history, the City of Vineland’s Green Team is partnering with the city’s chamber of commerce to host a Green Fair on June 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Vineland High School South Campus.  In case of inclement weather, the city has reserved June 5 as a rain date.

Open to the public, this first annual Green Fair is a free event for anyone that wants to learn more about how to make their lives and community environmentally sustainable.  The fair will feature exhibits, businesses and demonstrations that promote sustainable living.  Local vendors, live music and fun for the whole family make exciting additions to this educational outdoor event.  

The fair is hosted by Vineland’s Green Team, a group of individuals dedicated to promoting sustainable living in Vineland.  This Green Team was established in 2017 as a result of Vineland becoming one of only three cities in Cumberland County to receive a Sustainable Jersey Certification. 

According to the City of Vineland website, “Sustainable Jersey is a State-wide initiative focused on helping municipalities identify and implement strategies to improve energy efficiency, reduce environmental impacts, and improve the quality of life for Vineland residents.”  

One of the founders of the Green Team, Ariana McTamney, who is also an accountant for the City of Vineland and the Fair Coordinator, shares about the long planning process that contributed to this event.  “We originally planned to have the fair in 2020,” she said, “but due to the pandemic we had to postpone it until this year.” 

“We are very fortunate that we still have the opportunity to throw this event,” fellow green team and planning committee member Ryan Headley says.  “We received a grant in 2019 from PSEG Sustainable Jersey for the fair and the funds normally expire within a year, but they were gracious enough to extend it.”   

The Green Team has scheduled exciting festivities that they anticipate, and hope, will draw an attendance between 500 and 1,000 people.  “We have over 25 vendors signed up to attend the fair,” Headley says, “including Outlaw’s Burger Barn & Creamery, House of Cupcakes, Kona Ice and more.”  

A local band, Trainwreck, is providing live entertainment, Vineland High School is giving tours of their butterfly garden and the Vineland Fire Department will have a fun obstacle training course for kids.

In addition to an array of enjoyable family-friendly activities, the fair will also have many educational exhibits and demonstrations about sustainable living.  There will be a Farmer’s Market selling fresh produce from Vineland Farms.  The Health Department will present on healthy meals to assist families in weekly meal prepping.   And a personal trainer will be running a demonstrative class for people to learn how to stay active.  

“Our goal is to show attendees that there are many ways, both big and small, to go green and to live a more sustainable lifestyle,” Diane Amico, the environmental health specialist for the City of Vineland says.

One of the small contributions to the environment that the Green Fair is teaching about is the function of reusable bags.  “We are going to have a recycling coordinator teaching about the recent bag ban and handing out reusable ones to the community,” Headley says, “hopefully this will help everyone understand the ban better and realize it’s an easy step to take.”

The Rutgers Master Gardeners will also be in attendance, teaching individuals about lawn and garden care.  “Rutgers Master Gardeners of Cumberland County are trained volunteers who assist the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension in its mission to deliver horticulture education to the public,” Lauren Fordyce, Master Gardener Coordinator, says.  “We hope we can encourage folks to reach out to us for free help with their lawn and garden needs.”

With Vineland’s rich agricultural history, residents and farmers may wonder about the health of their soil.  Thankfully, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service will also be in attendance offering free on-site soil testing at the fair.  Anyone is welcomed to bring a sample for testing.  

In addition to learning about these small ways to help the environment, the Green Fair will show larger options as well.  The most exciting of these demonstrations can be summed up in two words, electric cars.  The South Jersey Chapter of the Delaware Valley Tesla Owners Club will be in attendance along with a fleet of Tesla vehicles.  “We are hoping to bring one of every model,” Tesla chapter leader Authur Schalick says.  

Fair attendees will have the opportunity to look, touch and sit in the Tesla vehicles.  “We help Tesla’s mission in transitioning the world to sustainable energy by educating future car owners,” Schalick adds.  “We love showing off our cars and would love to help dispel any myths surrounding them.”

While the fair may be a one-day only event, the Green Team hopes that it will be a catalyst for long-term change in the community.  “Not only do we hope this event provides resources and ideas for people to live more sustainably,” McTamney says, “but we also hope it brings the community closer together.”  

“This is a wonderful city,” McTamney adds, “and everyone in it cares so much about making it a better place to live.”

“We were both raised in Vineland,” Headley says about himself and McTamney. “This is our home and we want to see the community thrive.”

The Green Team is accepting new members and promotes more than just environmental sustainability. “The Sustainable Jersey program has a lot of different aspects of sustainability from arts and culture to the environment,” Headley says.  “We’d love to see this team grow.”    

A sign-up sheet will be available to any Vineland resident at the fair to join the Green Team.  “There’s so much going on in the world now,” Headley says, “and a lot of it is out of our control, but sometimes there are small things we can do that will one day make a big difference.”

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