Shakori Hills GrassRoots Celebrates Earth Day


Silk Hope, NC – As the quiet rumblings of the idea of the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance were becoming a reality, it was decided that the festival would happen over Earth Day weekend. Quite fitting for an event designed to celebrate so many of the good things that the planet provides and its people enjoy. Every April for the next 10 years, that’s been the plan – gather together, listen to music, dance, and learn about, celebrate, and honor the Earth.

This year, it will be no different. Here are some of the many Earth and Nature themed activities happening at Shakori Hills GrassRoots this spring.

Sustainability/Earth Day Fair (more info and times at

The Sustainability Forum serves as the festival’s hub for community development and environmental education. Centrally located in the Sustainability Pavilion – built by festival volunteers as a live example of sustainable living techniques – this “nonagon” will host multiple technical forums and demonstrations dedicated to creating more sustainable and economically resilient communities. This season we have a full schedule of speakers with sessions involving open forum discussions and nature walks.

Green Building Round Table with Michael Chandler, Chandler Design-Build, Inc.
Bring your green building thoughts and dreams for a reality check with Michael Chandler, local green builder, teacher and writer, two time finalist for NAHB Green Custom home of the year, DOE Energy Value Housing Award Winner and NAHB Green Building Professional of the Year. This is not a talk, it’s a question and answer session, so bring your questions and get informed answers.

Composting and Zero Waste with Bob and Camille Armantrout
Bob and Camille are zero waste advocates who have been composting for more than a decade.  They will present waste reduction strategies and basic composting techniques using low-tech, inexpensive methods that almost anyone can follow. This interactive discussion is intended to help those new to home composting as well as seasoned composters improve their personal organic waste management practices.

Making and Using Biodiesel Fuel with Lyle Estill, Piedmont Biofuels
Lyle will lead a down and dirty detailed presentation on this clean and renewable alternative fuel.  Learn from the experts how to make one’s car, tractor, or home heating an earth-friendly machine; a primer on what biodiesel is, how to use it, and even see a hands-on biodiesel production in action.  Piedmont will also be on hand for fuel sales in the parking lot (by appointment). Lyle has been Vice-President at Piedmont since its inception and has been designing and building biodiesel reactors for more than a decade.

Green Jobs with Laura Lauffer, Sustainable Technologies Program Leader, Central Carolina Community College
Green Jobs are all the rage but what does that mean? What are local, state, and national trends in green jobs? What certifications are needed? How can you make any business or technology more sustainable? Laura will lead this informative interactive discussion. Come ready to share your experiences, ideas and hopes for your green job!

Nature Walk on the Farm with Pierre Lauffer
Pierre will be leading a nature walk and an informative and philosophical group discussion on the historical natural heritage of the Shakori Hills farm. With more than 20 years experience in environmental management and planning, Pierre is seeking to change the way regions and communities understand resource usage within the communal context. Open dialogue will touch upon the idea that a community’s public welfare directly relates to the amount of open space maintained as a communal asset.
Common Ground for Peace and Justice with The Independent Progressive Politics Network – 5:30pm

Kid-focused Earth Activities (more info at

Jason’s Dream Puppet Show with Elkland Art Center
Jason’s Dream is a show about a young boy’s epiphanous adventure into the depths of the landfill to discover that trash is “stuck! stuck! stuck!” The only way to free the nice trash he meets is to not put it there in the first place. How? Recycle! Reduce! Reuse! Jason comes to an understanding that our stuck habits can be unstuck and that he and audiences everywhere can be a vital part of the solution. Cabaret Tent, Saturday 11:30pm

3 Sisters Story & Planting
Meet at the Kids Tent and listen to the Native Tale of the Three Sisters: corn, beans and squash. We’ll learn about how it relates to our world today then venture into the garden to plant this summer’s corn. Meet at Kids Tent Friday 3pm and Sunday 2pm

Toys for Terra
Join us in celebrating Earth Day yet another way, by taking what most people think of as trash and turning it into TOYS! Learn to make the Amazing Oscillating Woodpecker, amaze yourself with the Friction Climber and join in the launching of two-litre water rockets. Plus learn the science of how each of these toys work. Toys for Terra is earth friendly and above allŠFUN! For ages 5 and up. Kids Tent, Friday 1:30pm

Compost Theatre
CompostŠwhat??? It’s got you thinking and laughing already. Compost Theatre will dazzle you with skits, songs, dance and puppet friends while you are inspired to become the best composter you can be! Definitely fun for all ages! We dare anyone not smirk, smile and giggle while you learn about nature’s favorite way of recycling. Cabaret Tent, Saturday 1pm

Treemendous Trees
Join Grand Trees of Chatham to get to know some the TREEmendous trees here at Shakori Hills!  We will create a tree journal out of recycled materials and then head out to meet some of the native trees.  We will investigate leaves, bark and habitat, plus we’ll make “rubbings” in our journals!  For ages 6 & up.  Meet at the Kids Tent, Saturday 3:30pm

Wonderful Worms
Join the Grand Trees of Chatham for a fun morning learning about a tree’s best friendŠ the earthworm!  We will spend some time getting to know these amazing little creatures and discover why worms and trees get along so well.  We will create some worm artwork and then release our worms into the wild where they can make friends with the beautiful trees here at Shakori Hills! Open to first 20 participants, ages 5 and under. Meet at the Kids Tent, Friday 10:30am

Other Earth-Centered Activities (more info at

Film Showing: Gasland
Can you light your tap water on fire? Many residents in areas where hydrofracking (the current method employed by natural gas companies to extract gas from the earth) takes place can set aflame the water from their wells. This documentary film showing will be hosted by the Deep River Clean Water Society, with intent to bring awareness about the process of hydrofracking, and it’s effect on our lives, should it come to North Carolina.  Right now, fracking is illegal in NC, but gas companies are pushing for the abolishment of these laws. If you’re a night owl, check out the film showing; otherwise, stop by the DRCWS booth in the non-profit area for more info. Meadow Stage, Friday 2am

Summer Crops: Seeding & Transplanting
Let’s meet in the Shakori Hills Community Garden for a garden tour and some planting fun. Plant tomato transplants and direct-seed summer crops. Get a good look at the crops and animal rotation employed at Shakori Hills. Come to learn and also share your own experiences with others so that we can all eat fresh and local year-round! Extra plants available to participants. In the Garden, Sunday 1pm

Spring Wild Walkabout with Leif Diamant & Kim Calhoun
Spring is spectacular, abundant amazingly beautifulŠand happening Now! Kim Calhoun (community herbalist and healing arts practitioner) and Shakori neighbor, Leif Diamant (psychotherapist, naturalist, organic farmer, and ordained interspiritual minister ) lead this popular walk from festival grounds through forest, and fields. We’ll experience the nurturing and healing force of Spring as we identify, discuss, and sample edible and medicinal wild plants, meet some wild animals and some asses, tour Leif’s homestead and sample the organic garden. Leif’s website, Kim’s website. Meet at the Bridge by Healing Arts, Friday 12pm (walk will last until 2pm)

With the music, the crafts, the great family activities, and the wonderful food at the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival, it’s easy to forget all the other wonderful things that happen there. These earth-friendly activities represent some of the very core values of the community that the festival is creating: education and living sustainably. The festival also leads by example by making audiences aware of recycling and composting efforts, as well as serving local well water from taps and encouraging folks to refill their own drinking containers. Every little bit helps to protect our precious home.

More festival informationŠ
Featured musical acts include: Featured acts include: Leftover Salmon, Donna the Buffalo, Blitz the Ambassador, The Red Clay Ramblers, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Rubblebucket, Suénalo, Preston Frank, The Sim Redmond Band, Elephant Revival, David Wax Museum, Driftwood, Lydia Loveless, & many more…

Tickets and info: Festival tickets are on sale now and available by phone and at Four day passes are $95 in advance and $100 at the gate. Kids 12 and under are FREE! Day passes are $25 (Thurs), $35 (Fri), $45 (Sat), and $35 (Sun). Youth prices (13-15) are $12, $17, $20, and $12. Tent camping is $10 per tent and vehicle camping is $50 in advance and $60 at the gate.