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Archived Outdoors

Get your green on

EcoFest will showcase more than four dozen demonstrators, vendors, information booths and organizations sharing tips and practical advice on how to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Below is just a small sample. 


Backyard chickens with Jonathan Landry of JL Builders 

Landry will discuss the basics of raising backyard chickens for egg production, without the strong smell. The demonstration will touch on everything from chick rearing to chicken retirement. Jonathan and his wife, Abby, decided to start raising chickens to become more aware of where their food was coming from and for the waste that can be converted into a highly useful garden fertilizer and compost. The couple built a custom coup from recycled lumber and use a hydration system to provide clean water for healthy chickens. Backyard chicken keeping has never been as rewarding or fun. 

Biomass energy with renewable energy expert James Nowack 

Nowack is a specialist in converting biomass, such as dry wood, into a high quality fuel to power vehicles and generate electricity. The sustainable method is more than 150 years old, but little known.

Nowack will have on display his custom downdraft gasifier —  a solid fuel to gaseous fuel refinery that thermo-chemically converts solid biomass into a simple, smoke-free, fuel gas that burns cleanly in engines, ovens or other burners. Wood gas burns about one-third more efficiently than gasoline derived from fossil fuels. Learn more about how woody biomass gasification can supplement your energy and off-grid needs.

Worm composting and honey bees with Sheryl Cuppy

Cuppy been raising red wigglers worms for composting since 1993, and at one time, raised worms commercially. Worms are an efficient way to compost organic matter into fertilizer for garden and household plants. There are more than 3,000 types of worms identified in the world, and the red wiggler is one of the best for home vermicomposting systems.

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Cuppy began working with honey bees about 6 years ago to help with pollination on her farm, Rainbow Ridge Farm. She noticed quite an increase in production and currently has 19 hives, which she uses for honey and making beeswax candles. At the Waynesville Historic Farmers Market Cuppy, sells both her honey as well as worm tea and worm bins.

Water conservation with Haywood Waterways Association

The mission of the local nonprofit is to protect and conserve Haywood County water resources. The organization will be giving demonstrations on how to build and install a rain barrel, conserve water at home through the use of low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, toilet tank displacement bags, and toilet tank leak detection.

The organization will also give a presentation on stream bank plantings, their benefits, and recommended plant species to place along county streams and creeks to stop soil erosion and improve stream quality. The organization describes itself as a group of “local folks solving local problems that affect the economy, agriculture, drinking water, recreation and wildlife.” 

Up-cycling with Amiiba Designs

The Winston Salem company is creating a name for itself through its wallets made out of 100 percent recycled cardboard. The wallets are made out of anything from 6-pack cartons to cereal boxes to candy boxes with the goal of reducing the amount of harmful cardboard waste in the environment.

Amiiba Designs also assembles laptop bags, backpacks, and recycles whatever cardboard it doesn’t use in production. Through this process, cardboard is saved from the landfills and being blown into rivers and streams, which can harm wildlife and plant species. Even the organization’s EcoFest booth is made out of “up-cycled” material that was either found or donated to the cause.

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