Eco Church Input & Resources
Management of Church Land
Report on No Mow May 2021
We have reached the end of May and our trial initiative for not mowing around the site has seemed to go extremely well. In April Lambeth didn't come to mow until the very end of of the month when they were luckily spotted and turned away by Fr Jonathan as there had been zero grass growth but a good amount of lawn flowers so we ended up with a two month trial instead.
As there was no rain in March and April the grass hardly grew, and we had a lovely display of Lesser Celandine, Common Daisies, and Dandelions largely for the month of April.
As the rain arrived in mid May, there was a noticeable growth spurt from the grass but also from the slightly later flowering lawn weeds and wild flowers: Buttercups, Hawkweeds, Dove's Foot Geraniums and the like, providing us (and the bees) with a second wave of flowering, which continues to the present moment.
I can't tell you how many parishioners and visitors have expressed their joy at the floral display and the initiative. Some have been doing it in their own garden because of seeing the lovely signs in the churchyard (thanks again to Arty Party). Many of my and Stephen Barney's (former Eden gardener and continued supporter) clients have also embraced the initiative and allowed us to go for it and so we feel that the impact was greater and more widely appreciated than we first envisaged.
The final blessing and sign of approval was a recent Friday when I observed Goldfinches on the front lawn of the church eating the seeds from spent Dandelions. I have never seen Goldfinches come lower than the actual bird feeders on the church site so this was truly special and made all the extra work worthwhile.
Report on our first Eco Summer Fair
The Eco Summer Fair Team spent a lot of time considering how to make the fair eco-friendly. Here is a report on some of the changes including several elements that may not have been obvious to fair-goers.
As many people no longer carry cash with them, we needed an option for people to be able to pay for items at the fair by card. The church already had three card readers that have been used at previous events but due to the number of stalls at the fair those weren't enough and it did not make financial sense to purchase more. Therefore it was decided to implement a token system whereby attendees could use their debit or credit card to purchase tokens with different values to be used on any of the stalls like cash.
We researched different kinds of tokens and found a UK company that produce biodegradable tokens made from bioplastic which is a starch based substance previously considered waste. As the tokens are coloured without a specific value written on them, they are easily adaptable to different events. Look out for how we plan on using them at the next Bonfire Party.
Food and Drink
Eating and drinking are a big part of the summer fair and so the challenge was to find ways to offer these things with the least amount of waste whilst keeping an eye on cost. We purchased cups that look like traditional single-use plastic ones but are made from plants, food boxes made out of sugarcane and wooden cutlery. All these containers plus the hot drink cups are compostable.
Of course it's great to offer items that are compostable but you have to also provide ways of disposing these items so that they actually make it to the compost heap. To this end we set up four different types of bins around the churchyard - recycling, compost, food waste and landfill. We were delighted to find that at the end of the day the landfill bins had the smallest amount of waste in them. Considering how much waste events like these usually produce, this felt very good indeed. The compost items will now be collected by the packaging manufacturer to go to commercial composting facilities.
We also increased our vegan and vegetarian food options at this year's fair. Many members of our community contributed salads that were served either alongside a meat or home-made vegan burger or as a meal on its own. We also sourced British crisps that have compostable packaging.
Using fabric that was repurposed from donated used curtains, napkins and pillows, a small group got together to make bunting to use to decorate the churchyard. This created a wonderfully colourful atmosphere and summery flair. The bunting can be reused for future fairs and other events. Juliet also made pillows to sell at the fair made from used cotton tote bags.
Initially due to Covid restrictions we had to give up having a bouncy castle in the kid's area in the Lower Churchyard but in the end excluding it was also more eco-friendly. Some lovely traditional games (including Tin Can Alley, Spin the Wheel and Hook a Duck) were borrowed from various places and proved a huge hit. The kids also had their own second-hand books, toys and preloved clothing stalls.
We invited a bicycle mechanic to come and repair bikes on a first come, first served basis. This was a free service to encourage people to fix what they already have rather than purchase new.