An artist displays her paintings at last year’s GETI Festival in Maple Ridge. (THE NEWS/files)

An artist displays her paintings at last year’s GETI Festival in Maple Ridge. (THE NEWS/files)

GETI Fest celebrates the sustainable community in Maple Ridge

The Maple Ridge festival takes place Sept. 16 in Memorial Peace Park.

Sustainable Community is the theme for this years GETI Fest in Maple Ridge with a focus on tiny homes.

Tiny homes are houses between 100 sq. feet to 250 sq. feet and are usually on wheels.

“Tiny homes are big,” joked Christian Cowley executive director with the CEED Centre Society, that stands for Community Education on Environment and Development.

“Maple Ridge is actually looking at specific rules and zoning and they are being sort of progressive regarding any home set of issues. They are looking at the affordability of housing or lack of housing here,” said Cowley.

Residents form a tiny home community in Vancouver will be on site at GETI Fest with a booth and photos and opportunities to ask questions.

“And see some of the creative things people have done with a limited amount of space,” explained Teesha Sharma, youth services director at the CEED Centre Society.

Youth in the Blue Door program at the CEED Centre have created a Hint to Hint Scavenger Hunt for the festival. Participants can look for the CEED Centre booth in Memorial Peace Park and return to the booth once they accomplish the game.

At 11 a.m. there will be the official opening ceremony which will include an address by the Katzie First Nation and local councillors Craig Speirs and Corissa Bell. Pitt Meadows Maple Ridge MP Dan Ruimy will also be addressing the crowd.

There will be more than 80 exhibitor booths in addition to the booths at the Haney Farmer’s Market which usually has more than 30.

The festival will be divided into little villages. Main Street will contain most of the exhibitors. Then there will be the Artisan Village on the bandstand where local vendors will include painters and bath products.

HUB will be offering free bicycle repairs and they will be raffling off bicycles.

There will also be electric vehicles on display.

The Village Square will have the community organizations that will be providing information about the services they provide with different ways to get involved.

Then there is the Mind, Body, Spirit portion of the festival, an interactive area promoting spirit related workshops like yoga and Zumba.

Cowley notes the festival is looking at the community in a holistic way over the long term.

“It’s really sort of the essence of the transition initiative in the first place. It is making our community more resilient to some of the changes we’re experiencing,” said Cowley citing the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and St. Martin in the Caribbean.

GETI stands for Golden Ears Transition Initiative, and is part of a global grassroots movement to support citizen action towards reducing oil dependency and building local community resilience and ecological sustainability.

There are currently 900 transition initiatives in 48 countries, 64 in Canada and 10 in British Columbia.

GETI is the only transition initiative that holds an annual community festival.

“One thing we are going to highlight is that there are little ways for people to be more and live more sustainability and have sustainable living practises without completely erupting and taking over your life,” continued Sharma.

“I think sometimes that there is always that perception that it’s extreme, that you’re cutting yourself off from things in a really extreme way. There are actually some small ways that people can live seasonably,” she said.

Food, Cowley explained, is the easiest example to give.

“Our food presently comes from 2,500 km on average. So, making that more localized is an improvement all the way around,” he said.

“It makes the food chain more secure, it increases the nutritional quality and it gives local jobs,” he continued, adding that feasibility studies are currently underway for an agri-food hub being championed by the CEED Centre.

“It’s important to let the community itself know what is going on inside itself,” he said.

“It’s a really great opportunity to connect with our community,” finished Sharma.

The seventh annual GETI Fest takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 16 in Memorial Peace Park, downtown Maple Ridge.

For more information about the Golden Ears Transition Initiative go to www.gearsti.org.

Live entertainment for GETI Fest 2017:

•Billananee (Julie Cutting and Bryan)

•Patsy Thompson

•Kat & Tony

•Mikaela Tucker & Aaron Connaughton

Exhibitors include:

•Tiny House Festival Foundation (showcasing the Tiny Home movement and the move to smaller, more affordable living)

•VEVA (Vancouver Electric Car Association)

•Translink (Community Outreach Bus and the Transit Museum bus)

•Katzie First Nation Wapato Project (local first nation staple food source)

•CEED Centre Society & Blue Door youth programs