Mosaic / April 24, 2019

Earth Day Festival creates environmental awareness

Senior Aziza Bentsi-Enchill plants a tree during the Knox Food Farm event. Once the trees are mature enough, their fruit will be served in the cafeteria. (Pravaek Pradhan/TKS)

At this year’s Earth Day festival, junior Alec Hegg helped prepare smoothies by riding a bike. Bike Club attached a blender to a bike in order to use manual energy to blend the drinks.

“We’re not saying that [biking] is feasible to run everything, obviously,” Hegg said. “That’s just not practical, but it’s kind of the sentiment that it doesn’t have to be so oil, coal, natural gas-focused.”

On April 20, Students for Sustainability (SFS) brought together dozens of organizations, performers and community members excited to celebrate the earth. The Earth Day festival is an annual event meant to celebrate the earth while helping create greater awareness for the problems the planet faces as well as ways that everyone can work to take care of it. Junior and president of SFS, Fiona Munro, along with the rest of their executive board were responsible for organizing the event and creating an open space for anyone interested to contribute.

Junior Lauren Gray and two other students dig holes during the Food Farm tree plant. Students who participated helped pick up trash and debris around the farm, mulch the plant sites and carefully plant the apple, peach and pear trees. (Pravaek Pradhan/TKS)

“I wanted to make this as easy as possible for organizations to be a part of, because I really want as many people as possible [to come],” Monro said.

The event featured performances by Soulfege, Cordially Yours and a wide variety of performers from the campus and greater Galesburg community. Along with the bike-powered smoothies, students were able to make seed bombs and tea, bags made out of t-shirts and moss graffiti art. Other booths provided students with information on different issues pertaining to sustainability, like coral bleaching and the adverse effect of environmental issues on underprivileged communities.

“There’s a lot of just like fun things that we’re going to be doing. But, there’s also some cool information that’s going to be presented. I think anybody, whether they’re in college or not, can benefit from it,” Munro said.

This isn’t the first-time Munro has participated in the Earth Day festival. Last year she was able to help run the popcorn and snow cone booths, two popular staples of the annual festival. Sophomore and president of Alliance for Peaceful Action (APA) Sam Williamson also enjoyed the frozen treats while handing out seed bombs, a ball of seeds and clay that can be thrown anywhere to grow a patch of flowers.

“[Seed bombs] is kind of a funny name for alliance for peaceful action, but they’re not actual bombs,” Williamson said.

The bombs were not the only seeds planted on Saturday. Earlier that morning, several classes and clubs got together to plant trees in the new campus orchard, also known as the Food Forest, near the tunnels. fifteen apple trees and a few peach and pear trees were planted on Saturday, but some holes were left empty for future trees.

SFS had wanted to start an orchard a few years ago, and when they contacted former Knox Farm Coordinator Christina Zolper, she gave them the idea for a Food Forest. After being granted a sustainability fund, they bought the trees. Sophomore Isaac Hughes explained the difference between a Food Forest and an orchard.

Junior Alec Hegg pours a smoothie after blending it using manual power by riding a bike. Bike Shop’s annual smoothie table at the Earth Day festival exemplifies harnessing more sustainable energy options. (Rafael Cho/TKS)

“It’s a bit more permaculture based,” Hughes said. “It involves what is called guilding … Plants have symbiotic relationships with each other. It allows you to have a garden that produces a lot of food with very low input … Input being fertilizers, no pesticides so it can be organic. It’s a lot easier on yourself and you can produce a lot.”

The Food Forest will be managed by the Knox farm. Once the trees reach maturity in about five years the apples, berries and herbs from the forest will be used in the cafeteria. It was exciting for SFS and Knox farm volunteers to be able to plant the first trees during the Earth Day celebration.

More than anything, Monroe wants the Earth Day festivities to be a spaces where people can come together and work towards the same goal.

“I just think it’s great to get like, everyone coming together as a whole campus community,” Hegg said. “It’s just very broad. You know, this is something that we, as a Knox campus care about and can come together to …

make an event, make a statement.”



Alpha Phi Omega hosted a table where students could cut up old t-shirts to make reusable bags. (Rafael Cho/TKS)

Jessica Beckman

Tags:  Earth Day earth day festival knox farm Knox Food Farm organic students for sustainability sustainability tea club

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