The Sage Fair is happening June 2-3 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. According to the site, the Sage Fair is the first body, mind and spirit expo to focus on local and environmentally friendly products and services. Sage Fair is dedicated to promoting and showcasing Canadian, local businesses that are working to provide happier, healthier and greener lifestyles.
Toronto is not the first time Sage Fair has been in operation, the first Sage Fair was held in London, Ontario and was a great success.
|June 2, 2012||General Admission: $10|
|11am – 6pm||Students & Seniors (55+): $7|
|June 3, 2012||Kids 12 & Under: Free|
|11am – 5pm||(Cash Only, ATMs on Site)|
I had the pleasure of speaking with Val Nicholson, one of the founders, please see our conversation below.
1. What inspired the name Sage Fair? What does it mean to you?
Sage has so many meanings to many people. It means wise beyond one’s years but it also refers to a herb that is often sacred to spiritual practises. In our own spiritual practice, it is a herb that cleanses and can be used to help one attain needed wisdom. We loved it for a Fair that is intended to open people’s eyes and minds to the amazing and wise things thriving in their own communities! It also helps that my daughter’s name is Sage.
2. How would you describe yourselves? Are you both vegan/vegetarian/activists?
Krysia Kwiatkowski and I are enthusiasts of humanity. We believe that there are so many amazing businesses, people, and activists in our communites that are promoting a healthier, happier and greener lifestyle for Canadians. We are absolutely obsessed with getting their names out there and making sure that their communities know that there are alternatives to big, corporate and environmentally-unfriendly products and services. We also enthusiastically support and promote consumption of locally-grown foods and locally-made wares as an important step in protecting the environment. I am not sure I would classify us as activists, but definitely connoisseurs of the amazing things that Canada has to offer. I have been a vegetarian since I was twelve years old. It was a long journey to figure out exactly how to provide my body the support it needed, but it is a journey I cherish. While my partner is not a vegan, her brother is Vegan and she grew up in a very Vegan-friendly household. We are both really excited that the Toronto Vegetarian Association will be at our Fair. This is definitely a cause that is near and dear to both of our hearts!
3. Thank you for bringing your fair to Toronto, I know it was a great hit in London. What inspired the Sage Fair? What made you feel the need to create such an event?
London had such an amazing community to work with, and we having just as much fun working with our awesome vendors in Toronto! It is hard to pinpoint exactly what inspired us to collaborate and create Sage Fair. Together, we had attended many Fairs and found that they fell into one of two categories – psychic fairs or corporate fairs. We see an underlying similarity in the people that are concerned with health and natural living, spirituality and protecting the environment. We fashion our Fair to cater to these people who are concerned with promoting and experiencing a happier, healtheir and greener lifestyle.
4. Do you both have day jobs? How much work does it take to create the Fair? How long would you say is the whole process?
Krysia has a full time day job and I am a full-time University student (Double major in Psychology and Gender Studies) and a mom of a 4 year old girl (Sage). So we are very busy, but we love everything that we do! We each probably put in about 40 – 60 hours per week on Sage Fair. So in short, it is A LOT of work! The whole process is at least a year long. We spend a lot of time researching what companies/organizations we would like to invite to the event. Then I personally invite each of them and work with the ones who are interested to provide the best experience for their companies. We like it best when exhibitors get creative and we love their input on what would make the Fair better! Once that process has begun there are countless hours devoted to social media, advertising/marketing, contests, the website and the details of the event. It is a very involved process and tends to take over our lives for he last two months leading up to the Fair.
5. Do you have a team of people?
We do not have a team of people at all. It is just us. Our friends and families lend a hand when they can; and my husband is our biggest fan and supporter! We are really lucky! We couldn’t do any of this without their support.
6. Thanks to ChangeMatt, there is a play area and a private nursing and change station, how important is it to you that this is a part of the Fair?
ChangeMatt, Toronto Mompreneurs, Etobicoke Mompreneurs and EcoParent have collaborated to provide an amazing area geared directly to moms and families. They are sponsoring a diaper change area, a private breastfeeding area and a play area that will feature some eco toys. We are very proud of this and think that it will be a great place for families to explore how they can make their lives and their children’s lives happier, healthier and greener! As a mother, I am always happy to see things for my daughter when I go to events! It jsut makes the day smoother for parents!
7. How did you select your vendors? What is the screening process like? Did you turn away vendors due to “green washing”?
At the beginning fo the planning process, we research local businesses like crazy. We try our hardest to avoid “greenwashing” and only invite those vendors that we think really encompass a good direction for our communities and culture to go in. We screen as best as we can. There are no perfect systems, but I think hat we manage pretty well. It helps to talk to the vendors and really learn about them and their vision for their business. Like I said earlier, we are humanists and believe the best in people – and we employ that philosophy when selecting and dealing with our vendors.
8. What steps are you taking to ensure your event is green friendly and vendors will have recyclable materials etc?
We are working to make Sage Fair as environmentally friendly as possible! We encourage our vendors to recycle and create as little waste as possible. Bullfrog Power will be powering the event with their 100% green electricty. Most of our vendors are already very environmentally conscious. We are very lucky to be able to deal with a group of people that feel as strongly about the Earth as we do!
9. Will this event be annual?
This is the second year of Sage Fair and we hope to continue to grow!