Sustainability embedded at Eugene's TrackTown USA
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The Olympic Trials at Tracktown12 will begin at Eugene's historic Hayward Field Thursday. The event aims to be North America's most sustainable.
• An emphasis on local. The event is working with local caterers and using local food whenever possible and will track and report the impacts of local food purchasing by event caterers. Organizers estimate the event will bring a $30 million economic boost to the Eugene-Springfield area.
• Increasing access and supporting social equity. Eugene's Nelson calls the free festival that takes place outside Hayward field "the great equalizer." Even those who can't afford tickets can still experience the event. In addition, 40 tickets for each day of the event will be distributed to disadvantage youth by Eugene-area nonprofits.
• Leaving a legacy. Throughout the process the organizers are documenting their progress on multiple sustainability fronts with the intention of preparing a report that other event planners can learn from.
Nelson said the commitment to sustainability also extends to the sponsors of the event, giving the example of Safeway, which is emphasizing healthy living with its festival exhibit. Safeway's tent will be powered by a giant human hamster wheel that festival attendees will keep spinning. The wheel will also provide human-powered electricity for cell phone chargers. The store will also provide a supply of healthy foods.
"It provides that linkage, that what is good for the environment is good for our bodies and is good for business," Nelson said.
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