From local farm to table cuisine and edible table decor, to cutting paper use and waste, “Going Green” will be a growing trend in meeting and conference planning into the future.
The South’s agricultural roots and respect for the environment have long made the region a haven for “green meetings.” ConventionSouth Magazine’s digital guide offers simple ways to reduce your event’s carbon footprint and to sustain the South’s ecotraditions and diverse environment for years to come. A link to download the FREE guide follows in this article.
One simple idea is to reduce waste and paper use by placing handouts online or on jump drives (USB drives). You can customize the drives have them sponsored.
Also save paper (and TREES!) by omitting dates on your signage for recurring events so they can be re-used.
Eat Your Way Green
One of the trendiest ways to be green is to offer attendees farm-to-table cuisine. Use caterers that provide local food products on their menus. Local foods are not only fresher, but help to sustain the local farming community and cut down on the carbon footprint of food production and delivery. The Chattanooga Convention Center was the first convention center in the country with a farm-to-table program.
Further enhance attendees’ farm-to-table food experience by asking your caterer to serve food items that are native to the destination. The South is especially known for its unique menu items and cooking styles. For example, the sweet Vidalia onion is grown only in Georgia, a state that’s also known for its peaches.
Select “Green” Meeting Sites & Suppliers
The South is home to countless meeting sites that are surrounded by nature, allowing attendees the opportunity to experience the landscape we’re striving to sustain. Select meeting sites that capture the beauty of their surroundings. Gatlinburg, Tenn., pictured left,sits among The Great Smoky Mountains with easy access to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here, attendees have a constant view of the majestic mountain range. The Park Vista, A DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel & Convention Center, is a “Green Meetings Approved by ConventionSouth” supplier located in Gatlinburg.
Walk, Ride, Paddle Your Way to GREEN
Walking and hoping on a bicycle are great, eco-friendly ways to get around the South. Launched in 2012, Spokies allows riders to rent bikes from seven different kiosks spaced throughout downtown Oklahoma City and especially near major attractions or areas of interest. There’s even a kiosk conveniently located near the southwest corner of the Cox Convention Center. A one-day membership can be purchased directly at any kiosk for only $5 and provides unlimited 30-minute rides from any kiosk. Pictured are the bike trails of Hilton Head Island, another favorite “natural” meeting venue of the south.
Meeting and Conference Planners can also offer eco-adventure activities and team building events. Kayak excursions, zip line tours and other eco-activities are growing in popularity among planners and attendees.
For many more ideas on going green at your next meeting or conference, you can download our FREE Planning Guide HERE.