Every non-profit needs a fundraising event to coalesce it's forces, spread it's name and raise funding for it's programs. As is the case of the LSLA, we have the AppleFest! (The exclamation mark is part of the brand.)
Many of you understand the connection between GeoStudios and AppleFest! I served as director of the latter since it's inception in 2013. Creating an event like the AppleFest! was part of a dream I've always had - that all local food harvested be used locally in order to offset our environmental footprint. That first year we were fortunate enough to find a cooperative Interfaith Food Bank who let us use their parking lot to host a small 7-vendor market. We brought in a few musicians willing to provide some entertainment, borrowed an apple press from a friend and juiced a 25 kg bin of apples, or about 10 litres. The event was novel, fun and attracted about 75 people. A seed planted.
Fast forward to November 2016 and after four AppleFests and pending burnout, I stepped back and threw the LSLA, along with the AppleFest!, into the hands of fate. I figured 'if this is really worth saving then put it to the litmus test'. I knew the value but if no one else did what was the point?
The gamble paid off. People did see the value and stepped forward to take up the challenge. This created a surge of new energy, ideas on how to improve it and resulted with the best AppleFest! ever. I'd have to say there were over a thousand throughout the day sampling apple juice, buying local and learning eco-friendly life skills.
Many sustainable businesses were part of the action, the biggest sponsors being Purple Carrot, Urban Grocer and from the more technical side of things, SolarOptix, Energy Smart and the local Toyota dealership introducing a couple of hybrid vehicles. As well, lots of educational fun opportunities for kids and some chill time for adults in the beer gardens listening to live music.
For all of the ups and downs organizing an event has it greatest reward when you can look back and see how many people came out and had a good time. Kudos to all who helped put this on, too many to list here!
Gilles Leclair is the founder of GeoStudios. Somewhat eccentric, fairly environmentalist, politically aware, he believes the world should have more off-grid communities... many more.