Eco Market celebrates Essex's eco businesses on Great Big Green Week

An electric bike at the Eco Market in Saffron Walden - accompanied by Cllrs Porch and Pepper, and two stallholders

The Mayor of Saffron Walden, Cllr Richard Porch, with Uttlesford District Councillor Louise Pepper at the Eco Market in Saffron Walden - Credit: Saffron Photo

An Eco Market saw Great Big Green Week off to a strong start on Saturday (September 18).

Great Big Green Week is a national event organised by The Climate Coalition which runs until Sunday, September 26.

The market on The Common was supported by a range of stallholders, from coppice woodcraft experts to a display about the threat to the River Cam, sharing their ideas and drive to tackle the climate crisis on their doorsteps.

Louise Edgeworth, a former biology teacher, runs Gardening for Kids with her husband Mark and two grown-up daughters, Sarah and Alice.

Four people, including the Mayor of Saffron Walden, at a Gardening for Kids stall

Mayor of Saffron Walden Cllr Richard Porch with Louise, Sarah and Mark Edgworth from Gardening for Kids - Credit: Saffron Photo

Gardening for Kids, based in Steeple Bumpstead, stocks eco-friendly gardening equipment which children can use.

Louise said: "It's surprising how difficult it can be to find eco-friendly equipment for children - we couldn't find a specialist for that before we arrived.

"We want to get little ones to grow their own food and understand where their food comes from.

"If I had one message, it would be that children should never lose their appreciation and respect for plant life and the food chain. That's what I aim to do."

Dan and Gab run a door-to-door refill delivery service in Saffron Walden and Norwich, and an online zero-waste shop from their home in Essex.

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Dan said the couple set up a shop after travelling across Asia and witnessing plastic pollution on "paradise beaches".

Two people - Dan and Gabs - under a gazebo at Saffron Walden's Eco Market. Dan's shirt reads: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Dan and Gabs from Green Pear Eco at Saffron Walden's Eco Market. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

Dan said: "When we got home from after 18 months, we overhauled our own life and went plastic-free.

"We set up Green Pear Eco because we found it hard to change our lifestyles to begin with.

"The delivery service started during the pandemic - that bit is as simple as a milk round.

"For us, there have been some sacrifices along the way. We want to make it easier for everyone."

A stallholder and customer at Saffron Walden's Eco Market

Saffron Walden's Eco Market - Credit: Saffron Photo

A man from Coppice Designs at Saffron Walden's Eco Market

Coppice Designs at Saffron Walden's Eco Market - Credit: Saffron Photo

Two stallholders serve customers at the Eco Market, Saffron Walden as part of Great Big Green Week

Stallholders at the Eco Market in Saffron Walden - Credit: Saffron Photo

Edward Gildea, an environmental activist, coordinated the Eco Market.

He said the event was important to inspire an at-home approach to tackling the climate crisis.

Edward said: "This is a festival rather than a protest.

"It is a way of getting people feeling connected with the natural world so that COP26 - the UN's Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this November - feels more meaningful when it comes around."

Two children browse a stall at the Saffron Walden Eco Market

At the Eco Market in Saffron Walden - Credit: Saffron Photo

Wicker chairs in front of a row of marquees on The Common, Saffron Walden for the eco market

Saffron Walden's Eco Market - Credit: Saffron Photo

District councillor Louise Pepper, who is responsible for green issues at Uttlesford District Council, attended the event.

Cllr Pepper said: "This is exactly what we need to be promoting - sustainable businesses.

"I think over the lockdown, we had time to think about what is important to us, so more people are interested in getting stuck into their gardens, or enjoying open green spaces and the outdoors.

"This gives people a chance to find ways of doing that."

A full Great Big Green Week programme is online: https://greatbiggreenweek.com/

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