Annabella Ramey wears an Earth Day hat. (Courtesy/ Jessica Ramey)

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In a time before the coronavirus, thousands of people would flock to the Oregon Garden for an annual Earth Day celebration hosted by Marion County Environmental Services.

People would peruse booths, look at art installations or make crafts. But this year, those activities are going virtual since gatherings aren’t allowed now by state order.

On Wednesday, April 22, organizers will conduct a nine-hour Earth Day event streamed on Facebook to celebrate the 50th Earth Day. The schedule is listed on the Earth Day Live Facebook page.

“The idea is there’s a little bit more entertainment in this. Go behind the scenes and see things that you normally wouldn’t,” said Jessica Ramey, a waste reduction coordinator with the county.

People can tune it starting at noon to see the inside of a garbage truck or learn how to make beeswax wrap to replace single-use plastic.

Amy Joens with the Marion Polk Food Share will host a show from her kitchen on cooking with vegetable scraps.

Joens normally teaches at local community gardens throughout Salem.

“The idea was to encourage people to use gardening as way to access food, to be encouraged to use as much of that food as possible,” she said.

Joens said many local gardeners find their plots to be an important source of fresh produce.

Lately, she said she’s supporting gardens from afar while working remotely and supplying compost and vegetable starts to area gardens.

Her Earth Day segment will feature a carrot top pesto recipe and vegetable broth.

She said it shows how to use leftovers and parts of vegetables people would normally toss.

“I’m hoping that people become a little more comfortable with trying new things in the kitchen, become more comfortable in understanding how to use all parts of the vegetable,” Joens said.

She said food waste contributes to climate change and environmental degradation.

“By us being able to be more conscious about what we’re doing and how our actions are contributing to the world around us, if it’s the environment or coronavirus, I’m glad we’re still able to have this discussion and share these resources,” Joens said.

Ramey will host live portions of the event, including a question-and-answer segment about gardening and another about what can and can’t be recycled.

She said it’s especially important now, as more people are home, spring cleaning and creating more garbage.

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] or @daisysaphara.

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