Earth Day Festival brings community together for free open house this Saturday

On Saturday, April 22, folks from all over northeast Iowa will gather to celebrate Earth Day in the Community Building at the Winneshiek County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to noon. 

The 2023 Earth Day Festival, “Invest in our Planet,” is hosted by Winneshiek County Conservation in partnership with several community organizations including Iowa State University Extension, Luther College Center for Sustainable Communities, Winneshiek Energy District, Oneota Community Co-op, ArtHaus and more. These organizations are eager to share how to make a difference with earth-friendly activities and educational exhibits for people of all ages.

With a filled exhibit hall of vendors, the Earth Day Festival will help attendees learn to become more involved at home. Featuring kids’ crafts, seed planting, event giveaways, electric vehicles and solar presentations, people of all ages and experiences can find ways to be involved. 

Winneshiek County Conservation is partnering with Luther College and the City of Decorah to distribute home composters to Winneshiek County residents. The first home composter distribution project began a year ago in an effort to reduce the amount of food waste going to the Winneshiek County Sanitary Landfill. The bins were a huge hit, with over 260 making their way to Winneshiek County residents’ homes.

Landfill Manager TJ Schissel noted,  “Composting keeps food waste out of the landfill that would otherwise take up space and create methane. Cutting down on trash that comes into the landfill, especially waste that can be reused elsewhere, helps to increase the life of the current landfill and defer the need for a new one.”

This year, the City of Decorah received a $106,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help fund a community composting pilot program to encourage home composting by purchasing additional backyard composters for Winneshiek County residents. By taking this action, the city is confident that additional food waste can be diverted from the landfill and used for a better purpose – returning valuable nutrients to the soil. A good balance of food scraps and yard waste can create the ideal compost pile, which can be applied to gardens and lawns as fertilizer.

City of Decorah Engineer Jeremy Bril said, “Winneshiek County residents are invited to engage with the home composter program as we work toward sustainable solutions. We have the opportunity, with strong community support, to cycle nutrients from our food waste back into the soil for gardening and agriculture.”

Find more details about event partners and festivities at For more information about composting in Winneshiek County visit

Earth Day illustration with planet and lettering. World map background on april 22 environment concept. Vector design for banner, poster or greeting card


Celebrate Earth Day all week long with these events from Winneshiek County Conservation and community partners:

• “Climate Justice and the Politics of Emotions” with Guest Speaker Sarah Jaquette Ray at Luther College at 5:30 p.m. April 18.

• Go Wild Foraging at Lake Meyer Park at 5:30 p.m. April 20.

• Earth Trivia at Impact Coffee at 7:30 p.m. April 20. 

• Earth Week Art Gallery in the Gregerson Gallery of Luther’s Center for the Arts April 20-27. 

• “Eco-folk-n-rock” supporting local birds with a Big Blue Sky Concert at Convergence CiderWorks at 3 p.m. April 22

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