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From last year's SoS event in Stade Hall (photo: Community Energy in Hastings & Rother).

From last year’s SoS event in Stade Hall (photo: Community Energy in Hastings & Rother).

Big Green Fair on Sunday brings fitting end to sustainability festival

After a hectic nine days of activities and events, including Hastings’ first car-free day, the Sustainability on Sea festival culminates this Sunday with the Big Green Fair on the Stade. Nick Terdre reports.

The Big Green Fair offers a jam-packed day of inspiration, fun and free activities for adults and children, all under this year’s Sustainability on Sea theme of What We Can Do.

“We wanted to look at the practical things we can do – things to get involved with, things to bring people together, to give them a chance to try stuff, and find out what’s available in Hastings,” said Kate Meakin of Energise Sussex Coast, which worked closely with the lead organiser Transition Town Hastings to arrange the festival.

As it happens, there seems to be a lot available in Hastings, as the organisers, buoyed by generous funding of £9,600 from the National Lottery Community fund and £2,787 from ethical beauty brand Lush, found when they invited local participation.

So on Sunday there will be no less than 36 stallholders offering ideas and activities for sustainable living in the What We Can Do marquee on the Stade Open Space, many of whom have also held events during the festival’s nine days. “We had to increase the size of the marquee three times to meet the demand – it’s now huge,” said Kate.

Hive of activity

In addition to the marquee, Stade Hall will also be a hive of activity, housing two events. In the main hall there will be a Big Green Marketplace – stalls offering a wide range of sustainably made goods, such as eco-gifts and beauty products, plastic-free garden products, and recycled and upcycled products, as well as refreshments.

And in the Classroom on the Coast you can learn skills such as how to make your own SoS tote bag, fillet fish and make sauerkraut, and how to make natural alternatives to conventional hormone replacement therapy.

Meanwhile, over in the Shipwreck Museum in Rock-a-Nore Road, speakers will address topics including our horticultural heritage, the home forage garden, veganism, sustainable meat consumption, the class basis of climate change, rewilding (ourselves!), running a sustainable business and animal conservation.

The Big Green Fair, an entirely free event, runs from 11am to 4pm. And given the recent rainy weather, Kate is keen to stress that it will take place entirely under cover.

With no traffic, the seafront road became the scene for a wheelie competition during Hastings' first Car Free Day (photo: Tony Polain).

With no traffic, the sea-front road became the scene for diverse activities, including a wheelie competition, during Hastings’ first Car Free Day (photo: Tony Polain).

Car Free Day comes to Hastings

Last Sunday saw Hastings, with the backing of the council, join in Car Free Day, an annual event celebrated around the world. For much of the day the sea-front road was closed down between the pier and Warrior Square to create the space for community events.

Despite some rain it attracted a good crowd of some 400 people who in the absence of traffic were able to enjoy various activities, including guerrilla gardening, racing modified bikes, a wheelie competition, music from local performers, craft workshops, discussion groups, dance troupes and dance instruction in everything from Brazilian parades to zumba, according to Kate.

But while some residents of the road welcomed the event, others were annoyed at having to move their cars and thought it totally pointless. At least that meant it had the positive effect of starting a big conversation, she said!

Now in its second year, SoS was organised by Transition Town Hastings, supported by Energise Sussex Coast, Hastings and Rother Furniture Service and UNA Bexhill and Hastings.


The Big Green Fair Stade Open Space, Stade Hall and Shipwreck Museum, Sunday 29 September, 11am-4pm. Free to all.

See HOT articles on two events taking place on Saturday 28 September: Join Project Wild in the Great Outdoors and Soil, society, sustenance and solutions.


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Posted 11:59 Friday, Sep 27, 2019 In: Festivals

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