I’m happy to report this event was a great success! I haven’t heard the latest reports on attendance records but I can say that within the first hour of opening the doors at 9AM, five hundred visitors had passed through. I know this because Garland was passing out free bags for visitors to put their freebies in. They had five hundred of these quality insulated bags with zippers to give away. They were all gone before 10 AM. [These bags were for visitors only. Exhibitors did not take any.]
Mother and Daughter look at the Loving Garland Green Pollinator Rescue Basket. The girl is holding one of our freebies: Pollinators on a stick.
As exhibitors and visitors to the many booths, the event was a wonderful experience for Loving Garland Green members. We encourage all people who have just about any type of business that is related to healthy living to sign up as an exhibitor next year. You will get a lot of exposure in a short amount of time. Loving Garland Green had 21 people sign our register who are interested in membership in our organization.
FEATURES AT THE LOVING GARLAND GREEN TABLE
First of all we had a great location. Our table was just to the left of the entrance door. We did not keep track of the number of visitors who stopped at our booth. However, I would estimate that we had at least 400 visitors.
It is a toss-up as to which of our two primary features to support our theme of “Learn and Grow with Loving Garland Green” was the most popular: Our pollinator exhibit that occupied about two-thirds of our table—or the “grow your own” portion, which represented about one-third of our table and part of the floor.
FEATURE ONE: PROTECT OUR POLLINATORS!
Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes and there are critically linked to the survival of our own species since pollinators are responsible for one of every three bites of food that we eat.
Our pollinator feature was supported by several Elements:
1) A Butterfly Rescue Container made from a mesh laundry basket. One of our members, Nancy Seaberg brought a sample for demonstration. She had several types of butterflies in various stages of their life cycle in this container. Rescuing and releasing butterflies is critical to building back their dangerously low numbers. For example, it is estimated that 95% of Monarchs captured as eggs or caterpillars will survive to be released whereas in the wild it has been estimated that as few as 6% will complete their lifecycle. In addition to Nancy, Loving Garland Green has several citizen scientists who rescue and release butterflies. Last year, as an organization we released over 30 butterflies—from Gulf Fritillaries to Monarchs. We also delivered seven rescue baskets to local school for our local school children to learn and grow in their knowledge of their relationship to nature.
2) Various handouts on the topics of why pollinators are important and how our Mayor, Douglas Athas, supports pollinators by having taken the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge.
3) Native Bee House. Native bees play a huge role in making sure that flowers turn into food for people. In fact, our native bees play a much larger role than our imported European Honey Bee. In Texas we have hundreds of native bees—many of which have never been scientifically studied. Because of urban sprawl, the habit of our nesting native bees is being destroyed at an alarming rate. Unlike the highly socialized European honeybee, our native bees (except for the bumblebee) are solitary creatures. The female builds nests in the ground and plants eggs in hollow tubes such as reeds. Yet our native bees are overwhelmingly responsible for pollinating an estimated $3 billion of our agricultural crops. Unlike the honeybee, our native bees will do their work in all kinds of weather—rain, heat, wind, etc. whereas the honeybee tends to stay in the hive in inclement weather.
4) Pollinators on a Stick. We gave out to the children a cardboard pollinator glued to a wooden tongue depressor. They were designed for coloring: a plain butterfly for designing their own; a butterfly with markings of a Monarch outlined for coloring realistically; a blue tailed Swallowtail; and a Bumblebee.
FEATURE TWO: GROW YOUR OWN FOOD!
As you may know, the mission of Loving Garland Green is to increase the number of people in our local community who grow some of the food they eat. We had several elements on this portion of our table to support this feature:
1) Stretch your grocery budget by re-growing the produce you purchase at the Grocery Store.
This element was supported with video showing visitors the steps of how to regrow lettuce and other vegetables such as celery, carrots and Bok Choy. One of our board members, Gene Rodgers, set up this video for us and founding member, Margie Rodgers prepared lettuce as a live demonstration for the display. One slice of a head of Romaine lettuce cut yesterday and in another dish a slice from Romaine lettuce that was cut five days ago and was already about four inches tall with new growth. Visitors were amazed and many reported they were going home and try this experiment themselves.
2) Support 2016: International Year of Pulses
Pulses are dried beans. This food source makes up the protein for the diet of ¾ of all the people on the planet. To help raise awareness for the importance of this food source, Loving Garland Green is participating with students at Watson Tech in helping them to plant some beans this fall. The beans will begin in pots in the schoolyard garden. Then, when the danger of the first frost is imminent the beans will be moved inside to their greenhouse. If all goes well the students should be able to harvest their beans just before the holidays in December.
3) Magic Beans
We gave away about 200 packets of bean seeds. They were all gone about two hours before the show ended. The packets contained organic green bean seeds and also striped butter bean seeds.
It was as much fun to be an exhibitor as it was to be a visitor. I took a few minutes off to tour a few of the exhibitions on the floors below and above us.
There is so much available to us to keep us healthy and to increase our health that it is amazing. On the lower level I saw many of my friends as well at the Keep Garland Beautiful table; Ken Risser with his beautiful rain barrels; Naaman Forest High School with some great demonstrations from their horticultural department; Texas A&M Extension Department; Roaches Feed and Seed; and Dependable Health Care, a Garland locally owned home health care service. On our floor at ground level we had some of Garland’s finest from our police department featured with some of our established civic organization such as the Rotary Club and the Lions Club. One of the most interesting tables on this floor was the “Donate Life” table. At this table visitors could chat with a man who had received a heart transplant. At this table you could learn all about how to sign up to donate life to others through the donation of your organs, eyes and tissue. Then on the upper level you could find all types of screening services such as blood sugar levels; blood pressure; and more. In addition there were various types of vaccinations available.