THE CHATHAMS – The public is being asked to demonstrate its support for sustainability in the Chathams when the 2019 edition of the annual “Sustainability Fair of the Chathams” is held, rain or shine, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 14, hosted for the fifth year by the Chatham Borough Farmers’ Market at Railroad Plaza South off Fairmount Avenue.
Residents, families, friends and neighbors are encouraged to walk rather than drive to the event, where community organizations and local vendors will demonstrate sustainable products and share tips about behaviors beneficial to the environment. The fair is designed for participants of all ages.
The fair and its theme, “Healthy Self, Healthy Earth,” grew out of the Mayors Wellness Committee’s “Health Fair” and the “Green Fair” of the Environmental Commissions of the Chathams. Saturday’s event will continue to feature local health, wellness, and environmentally focused organizations and vendors.
This year, exhibits at the fair will be thematically categorized into four display groups:
• Health and Wellness;
• Food and Waste Management;
• Community Development, and
• Environmental Stewardship.
Visitors should be on the lookout for color-coded individual display booths within each category, defining its sustainable missions and goals.
Fair-goers will have the opportunity learn about Quiet Communities, a nonprofit organization that supports efforts for quieter communities and cleaner air quality by committing to a power source transition away from fossil-fuel based sources of electricity, an important issue for health and the environment. On hand to meet visitors will be Quiet Communities New Jersey representative Julie Kolehouse-Diplas, a Chatham resident who also is serving as co-chairperson of Saturday’s “Sustainably Fair.”
Guests will have the chance to sit behind the wheel of an electric vehicle, which could lead to an alternative to fossil fuel for transportation.
One message for fair-goers is “Bring Your Own Bag and Bottle” as they shop and enjoy lunch at the Farmers’ Market, promoting simple steps toward sustainable “best practices.”
New this year, a sustainable prize drawing is designed to help visitors navigate the fair and identify each exhibiting vendor’s sustainable practice and function, “so choose to take your sustainable steps to make a healthful environmental difference,” advised Janice R. Piccolo, Directory of Community Services for the Borough of Chatham. “Follow along, complete, and submit the prize form at the fair, which will not only provide a random winning sustainable prize for some, but also provide ‘best practice’ to demonstrate your support for sustainability in the Chathams,” Piccolo said.
At 11 a.m., fair-goers can carry on the tradition of a group walk along the “Urban Track,” which was born from the idea that Chatham Borough from its easterly border along the sidewalks to its westerly border at Madison makes a perfect 3.3-mile track. From the “Sustainability Fair” this Saturday, Sept. 14, the walk along the west portion of Main Street’s sidewalks will be led by the Hanover-based TransOptions, a nonprofit transportation organization that delivers programs and services to improve mobility, the environment, and the overall quality of life in northwest New Jersey. TransOptions representatives Judy Bortman, Marketing Specialist, and Jacqueline Leone, Community Outreach Coordinator, will be joined by Chatham Borough Councilwoman Victoria Fife, the originator of the “Urban Track,” to lead the group walk. Along the way, participants will be treated to “heart healthy” advice, unique Chatham historical facts, plus “safe walk tips” by TransOptions for all those who wish to increase their steps for better health.
The Chathams, through the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, received the “Healthy Town” designation under the auspices of the Advisory Board of the Mayors Wellness Committee the Chathams, chaired by Brian George of Chatham. George said the committee is excited to work with the community, the Environmental Commissions and the “Green Teams” of Chatham Borough and Chatham Township “to bring healthy and environmentally sustainable programs to the Chathams and neighboring community residents.”
“The Mayors Wellness Committee of the Chathams, formed in 2009, is always looking for ways to keep our community in motion,” said Borough Councilwoman Fife, the council’s liaison to the committee.
“Members realized our own downtown has continuous sidewalks throughout the borough’s business district and beyond — a simple, safe place to promote walking for all ages,” Fife explained. “This initiative could easily be duplicated statewide using existing resources to promote health and wellness,” she added.
And, fair-goers can stop by the Mayors Wellness Committee booth to learn about alternate self-guided walks within the borough.
“The Mayors Wellness Committee of the Chathams has had tremendous volunteer committee support developing impactful programing like ‘Know Your Numbers,’ ‘Volunteering is Healthy’ and ‘Chatham Chills,’ with public awareness occurring at the Fishawack Festival, the Farmers’ Market, library seminars, and recorded video segments by local professionals,” noted Brian George, chairman of the committee’s Advisory Board.
“It’s rewarding to witness the contributions of so many committee members willing to provide time and talent to make a positive community difference,” remarked George, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). “I’ve personally and professionally been delighted to work alongside such a dedicated group of professionals in their community enrichment quest.”
Mayors Wellness Committee members include Chatham Borough Council liaison Victoria Fife, Joseph J. Murphy of the Suburban Chiropractic Center in Chatham, Madison Area YMCA Senior Director of Healthy Living Joseph Gonsalves, Madison Area YMCA Health and Wellness Director Christian Esola, Registered Dietician Victoria Stroker of ShopRite of Chatham in the Hickory Square Shopping Center, Chatham Township representative and videographer Tom Salvas, Public Health Nurse Bridget Colendenski of the Westfield Regional Health Department, Cara Maksimow of Maximize Wellness Counseling and Coaching in Chatham, and borough Director of Community Services Janice R. Piccolo.
Associate members of the Mayors Wellness Committee include Chairman John Crouthamel and Executive Director Laura Sostak of the Tri-Town 55-Plus Coalition, TransOptions Marketing Specialist Judy Bortman, TransOptions Community Outreach Coordinator Jacqueline Leon, and Safe Routes to School Coordinator Lisa Leone.
Anyone interested in volunteering their talents to the Mayors Wellness Committee is asked to email Chatham Borough Director of Community Services Janice R. Piccolo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (973) 635-0674, ext. 200.