Amy Dierdorff

Cal Poly’s Sustainable Agriculture Club hosted the third annual Earth Day Celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the organic farm on campus.

The free event, co-sponsored by the Environmental Horticulture Sciences Club, Associated Students, Inc. and Sustainable Agriculture Resource Consortium (SARC), featured live music and guest speakers on topics relevant to preserving the planet and choosing environment-friendly alternatives.

Representatives of the organic farm and numerous Cal Poly clubs were on hand at the event to recruit new members, raise money and inform attendees about what they are doing to make the campus and community more sustainable. Booths were set up by Cal Poly clubs and other participating organizations to sell food, art and jewelry. Activities included an “Earth Hunt” scavenger hunt and a “kids corner” for children to learn about the environment in an interactive way.

“We want to bring about awareness that we live on a beautiful planet and we have a responsibility to look after it,” said Kyle Stice, a fruit science senior, president of the Sustainable Agriculture Club and organizer of the event.

Most of the clubs participating in the event, which was held at the organic farm for the first time, are part of a newly-formed campus coalition called Empower Poly.

“It’s a coalition of clubs who have an interest in sustainability,” Stice said. “We wanted to have an event together and see what each other are doing and see how much we can really collaborate.”

He said it’s important for the community to see how many people are contributing to an environmental cause and how successful it can be when supporters in politics, farming and agriculture work together.

“It takes professionals in all of these different areas to make the whole system operate. You can have sustainable agriculture, but without the proper fuel you can’t drive the tractors. It’s all interrelated,” Stice said.

ASI President Tylor Middlestadt said that ASI is also working with the coalition to make campus more sustainable and to get the message out to Cal Poly students.

“We’re just trying to support the sustainability community on campus and create a space where people in the community and students all interested in the same thing can come together, celebrate Earth Day and each other, and hopefully, the process of making change on campus,” Middlestadt said.

Richard Wagner, an employee of Cal Poly’s Facilities Services who works with the organic farm and a guest speaker at the event, said that an organization named Innovative Waste Management is going to donate two Earth Tubs to Cal Poly to be placed outside the organic farm. The containers will be used for the disposal of food waste from campus dining facilities, reducing the amount dumped into landfills.

“Campus dining generates so much tonnage of food that goes to the landfill, so we’re trying to create compost out of that food waste,” Wagner said.

Organizers of the Earth Day Celebration set up trash, recycle and compost bins throughout the organic farm in an effort to produce as little waste as possible. All of the cups and plates used to serve food were either recyclable or biodegradable.

“I would hope that students and community members are more aware of the movements on campus and that they’ll be inspired to join up with one of the clubs and to make a change in the community,” Stice said.

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