Making Hay on Earth
A chance conversation at the Hay Festival five years ago with Andy Fryers, Director of Sustainability at the Hay Festival has led to impact beyond anything that we dared imagine then. Two years of funding through TYF and howies created the space for a series of conversations between business, government and community leaders about what radical, transformative change might look like for sustainability.
Early results gave the Welsh Government confidence to support the development of a wider programme including a Green Dragon’s Den that has awarded £120,000 of grants to a dozen projects in the last three years. Over four themed days at Hay 25 a thousand or so people met to share ideas, make connections and imagine what might be possible if we knew that ambition and imagination would triumph.
Each day at the Green Dragon’s Den event, four specialist dragons and the public voted for the projects that that demonstrated leadership, ambition and ability to make an impact. Day one saw Eco Centre Wales win support for a Low Carbon Cook Off, taking skills for a sustainable future into events and festivals, with new tastes and ways of looking at the world. The innovation focused second day saw enthusiastic voting for Dung Beetles Direct, a project developed by entomologist Sarah Beynon, with funding awarded to grow and distribute dung beetles to UK farmers to restore soil and prevent pollution. At the end of the third day, Pembrokeshire environmentalist Vicky Moller topped the list with Share Biz, a project to rebuild community through an innovative stock issue scheme, and on Friday Ken Moon from Interlink RCT persuaded the judges to support their project with costs for the research and set up for a large-scale community energy scheme in the poorest valley in Wales. Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing John Griffiths attended the last Green Dragon’s Den to congratulate the winners and reinforce the need for approaches that bring sustainability to inner city and urban communities
The conversations that happened at Hay on Earth during the week were of a quality that I’ve experienced in few, if any, other places. There’s a lightness of spirit and buzz that, when mixed with the challenges, ideas and suggestions from groups of people who’ve just had their minds zapped by the finest speakers and authors that the Hay Festival can find, creates just the sort of energy and enthusiasm that we need to accelerate a more radical change for community and sustainability.
By Andy Middleton, Hay on Earth, 10 June 2012
A big thank you to all who took part in the 4 days, here is a list of all those who entered the Green Dragon’s Den:
Day 1 Nourishing Communities:
Low Carbon Cook Off from Eco Centre Wales (winner)
St Davids Sustainable Food City
Community Food Stories – Ashfield Community Enterprise, Howey.
Day 2 Innovation:
Dung Beetles Direct (Winner)
Warrior Tidal turbine, Cleddau
Cardiff Transition Mapping project
Curate app, Llandridnod Wells
Day 3 Work and Travel:
Share Biz, 4CG Ceredigion (Winner)
Newtown park and ride
The Big Skill – Rural craft
Day 4 Community:
Energise RCT – Interlink RCT (winner)
Abergynolwyn community hydro scheme
Refash – Zolibeau, Cardiff