The annual event highlights local organizations, advocacy groups and sustainability initiatives. Hilda Abadia, chair of Town Square, the local nonprofit that runs the festivities, described it as an “Earth Day-type festival” that encourages people to “go as green as possible.”
“We need to learn how to minimize what we have and recycle within so we can become a more sustainable society in Greenpoint and Williamsburg,” Abadia said.
Groups at the festival included city and state agencies, Greenpoint Eco-Schools and even The Economist, which gave out free vegan burgers on site.
Another part of the festival is the Greencycle Swap, where residents drop off clothes and other items and take home some clothes. Whatever is left is taken to the family shelter on Clay Street in north Brooklyn, Abadia said.
Susan Anderson, executive director of Town Square, founded the Brooklyn festival a decade ago. When it first started, there were just 20 to 30 schools, companies and community organizations, all of which fit on a small lawn at McCarren Park.
Now, nearly 90 exhibitors and organizations are spread throughout the park.
“It was something that truly resonates with so many different parts of the community,” Anderson said. “It pulls people together. It creates a sense of intimacy and personal connection.
“In our normal day-to-day lives, everybody’s so busy, whether it’s with their families, kids, jobs, that we don’t have a chance to come out and connect with each other in this manner,” she added. “What better way to do it than with the whole hope of living a more sustainable life?”
Anderson said green and sustainability issues are so important because it’s about investing in the future. But she said she also doesn’t want to make people feel guilty about not knowing about local sustainable groups and activities.
“That’s why we felt the festival was the best way of promoting it,” she said. “Come out, have fun, enjoy each other’s company and walk away having learned something new.”
Last year, Town Square was given a grant by the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF), which helped the group start a digital hub, complete with a new website and social media platforms.
Anderson said she learned many community organizations create good programming, but often fail to communicate it with the general public. Many people also want to get involved, but don’t know where to look.
“Our hope was to offer a one-stop shopping,” Anderson said. “What is going on in green space in Greenpoint?
“Just like this is a once-a-year opportunity to come out and meet the different green organizations, learn about what’s going on,” she added. “The hub was hoped to be an ongoing process and resource for organizations.”