By starting a petition to reimagine a sustainable Taste of the Danforth, one resident is encouraging the community to work toward a more eco-friendly event to benefit everyone.
Taste of the Danforth is more than a weekend long. The lasting effects of garbage in the streets make travelling across the Danforth difficult for days after the festival weekend, Leah Leon said.
“You can find alternative ways, is my viewpoint coming in,” said Leon. “I’m very passionate about waste reduction in general, and in every kind of aspect of my life I try really hard to make it zero waste.”
When a friend suggested the idea of starting a petition, Leon was immediately on board, curious to see how many community members wanted change. Over the span of two weeks, the petition has gained nearly 200 signatures.
“Enough of complaining about it. Let’s go and do something and let’s see if we can make it bigger scale, see if we can do something,” said Leon. “The options exist. There are opportunities to make it less wasteful.”
Some residents who live near Greektown dread how busy the weekend makes their neighborhood — as its messy aftermath, Leon said.
In the past, Taste of the Danforth has attracted up to 1.6 million people over the course of a weekend.
“I think the people who live in the area of the festival are affected by the leftover accumulation of waste because it takes a week to clean the are to pre-festival state,” said Michael O’Conner, who has attended the festival in the past.
Along with her petition, Leon has many ideas for how the organizers can make the event more sustainable, such as bringing an H20 to Grow water truck to the event.
Her ideas don’t stop there. She’d also like Taste of the Danforth to include volunteers that can help advise attendees on how to properly dispose of their trash. Vendors could offer reusable cutlery, cups, plates and takeout containers.
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Leon has also considered the effects of leftover food.
“I’m sure there is a lot of leftover perfectly great food at the end of the night that just gets tossed. So, let’s pack that all up,” she said.
“Food insecurity is a huge issue right now. Let’s find a way to use that food and not just throw it out.”
The Greektown Business Improvement Association, which runs Taste of the Danforth, did not respond to requests for comment.
Taste of the Danforth will run from Aug. 11 to 13 along the Danforth between Broadview and Jones Avenues. It will be the first time the festival will be held since 2019.