It shows just how important social media has become in promoting events, that over 60% of those polled on Eco Sevilla’s website about how they had heard about the show, had seen it mentioned on FB, Twitter or similar – including me.
There were posters around Seville advertising the new eco-fair, on from Friday until today, but I hadn’t seen them, being a suburban mum confined to the house (car in garage being fixed). If you missed it, fear not: the organisers told me it’s likely they’ll put on another fair in the spring; with 15,000 visitors over three days, it could be deemed a success, although this fell pretty short of the 30,000 expected (probably not helped by the stormy weather).
Fibes, Seville’s Conference Centre, where the eco-event was held, clearly wasn’t taking it seriously, as the venue’s owners had relegated the fair to the side entrance, and closed the main car park to erect a roof – to keep the sun off visitors and their cars, although today it was the rain which was causing more bother.
Nearly 100 exhibitors showed their goods and services, from organic cheese, bread, olive and wine, to thermal-dynamic solar water heating systems and electric bicycles. But what was really impressive, especially as a parent, was the quantity and variety of activities – talleres (workshops) – for kids.
The young ones taking part in these workshops were clearly enjoying themselves – the talleres were well attended and all the kids were participating actively – they were fun and educational. Children could build toys out of sticky potato starch; make soap; learn how to grow vegetables; and construct walls with adobe bricks.
My kids loved the potato starch, made by Germany company Fischer. These are little coloured nuggets, which look like polystyrene foam – the packing stuff – but are actually made of potato starch. You wet them, and they stick together – it’s that simple; soft and pliable, you can squeeze or squash them. This wonderful product is called FischerTIP and it’s chemical-free: made of vegetable starch and food colouring.
We didn’t take part in the eco huerta (organic veg garden) workshop, but I popped over while the kids were engrossed in their sticky starch. These would-be gardeners were transfixed by the man and woman who were enthusiastically showing them how it should be done – he, mixing the two types of soil; she, explaining about which types of veg can cohabit happily in the huerta – “los puerros y las coliflores si son amigos, pero las patatas y los tomates, no“. What a great way to put it – leeks and cauliflowers skipping along hand in hand, while the spuds and toms fling insults at each other.
A few aspects of this fair seemed less than green – such as the brightly coloured, brand new, shiny, tiny plastic chairs laid out for the children. Isn’t plastic one of green movement’s biggest bete noires? All that oil used in its production? Fossil fuel folly? And some stalls were putting their goods into plastic bags for customers, although many had bought their own reusables – normal now in the UK, but relatively recent here in Spain.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the other stands – the grown-up stuff (food, crafts and more goodies). In the meantime, here’s something to whet your curiosity, your appetite, and your imagination…