Festival Sustainability

Our Promise:

Slow Food USA is committed to reducing the environmental impacts of the Slow Food Nations festival and supporting the initiatives of our host city of Denver, our merchants, sponsors, vendors and attendees.


Festivals can generate a lot of waste. At the festival, we will work with local partners to reduce waste in the following ways:
  • Utilizing compostable and recyclable supplies
  • Capturing waste in three-bin waste systems
  • Transporting waste to proper recycling and composting facilities
  • Implementing onsite water stations instead of using bottled water
  • Rescuing food waste during the festival

Let's Go Green!

Sustainability is all about team work. Our partners, merchants, vendors and neighbors are all working hard to reduce our impact. Let’s go green together!


Remember Your Reusable Items

  • Bring your reusable water bottle that is ideally made of stainless steel or glass!
  • Carry a small tote bag to collect any product your purchase and samples you receive
  • Bring along your stainless steel straws to enjoy those amazing cocktails and beverages
  • Tuck a utensil kit into your bag to avoid using disposable cutlery when you eat

Offset Your Travel

  • Consider offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions associated with your flight and/or hotel stay. Ever wondered what carbon offsets are and how they work? Learn more here.
Production Team: Symbiotic Events

Symbiotic Event Services (SES) have been working with green initiatives since it’s formation in 2007. Environmental programs at Symbiotic Events have been a cornerstone of our companies practices for over a decade. Whether it be providing three-stream waste programs, sustainable product sourcing and/or alternative energy solutions.


  • Symbiotic has teamed up with Trees Water & People (TWP) to offset the carbon footprint on all of the production and operations of Slow Food Nations. We do this under TWPs Impact Travel Program which reduces the footprint of our companies emissions through CO2 Offsets.
  • This entails calculating the travel for our crew, emissions emitted by our hired operations and production vendors trucking and other variables that come into consideration event by event. TWP takes this data and calculates for what our CO2 emissions for that event. From there we calculate how many trees and/or cookstoves we need to invest in to offset our carbon footprint for the event. TWP’s award-winning programs include reforestation, clean cookstoves and renewable energy focused in Central America and Tribal Lands. Please visit the TWP link above to gain further information on these programs.
  • In addition to carbon offsetting, SES also has also implemented additional energy and waste reducing practices:
  • Using solely biodegradable zip ties. Traditionally, zip ties are plastic pieces and while they are small, the quantities used really adds up over the course of an event site.
  • 100% of the lighting used across the Slow Food Nations event site is LED or CPF to reduce our power consumption, in return reducing our fuel consumption
  • For more information or if you have ideas on how we can further reduce our environmental impact, please reach out to [email protected]
Waste Diversion

Slow Food Nations is a Zero Waste festival. We aim to use only compostable products for attendees and reusable items as much as possible in all of our programs.

Three-stream waste stations (compost, recycling, and landfill) are available in all public spaces and we are working with our waste partner Eco-Cycle to ensure attendees and exhibitors can responsibly compost food waste and containers as well as recycle. We recognize that waste is Slow Food Nations largest environmental impact and are committed to continuous improvement in the area of waste diversion.


Zero Waste Dinner

  • Slow Food Nations diverts all of its leftover food from parties, scraps from workshops, and unused demos. We track the leftovers and give chefs a challenge: turn these scraps into an inspired feast.
  • This event features an all-star cast of chefs and sells out every year. Buy your tickets early!
  • For tickets to this year’s Dinner, head over to our event page to purchase tickets.

Green Team

  • Each year, Slow Food Nations welcomes over 400 volunteers to help us make the Festival a success.  In order to ensure we stand by our sustainability initiatives and maintain the highest rate of waste diversion, we use over 40 members on our Green Team that help us to educate and manage our diversion rate with our 3-bin systems.  The Green Team members are our sustainability all-stars and we could not be as Green without them!
  • If you are interested in signing up for the Green Team, visit our Volunteer Page.

Eco-friendly ways to get to the Festival!

  • Ride your bike or rent one from B-Cycle! Bike racks are available throughout the streets of the festival lock up anywhere in Larimer Square!
  • Take one or the many RTD bus lines or light rails that drop you off downtown and within a block or two of Larimer Square.  For more info check out the RTD map.
  • Share a Lyft!  If you are joining us on your own or with a friend, take a shared ride with Lyft.  This helps reduce your carbon footprint and the number of cars on the road.
  • Use your electric vehicle!  There are two charging stations conveniently located on the streets just outside the festival.

No-Idling Policy

  • The state of Colorado and the city of Denver has signed an ani-idling policy. This policy limits vehicle idling to five minutes in any one-hour period and the vehicle must be attended to at all times.  We enforce this rule with all of our vendors and deliveries.
Reduce Printing

The Festival, along with its partners, promotes limited use of printed materials.  This means we use online merchant guidelines and handbooks, utilization of email as much as possible, and online schedules for our merchants and talent.

With reduced printing in-house, we also promote limited printed materials by our merchants in regard to handouts and fliers.  We ask for a limited amount of paper for our attendees and endorse online engagement.

Zero Plastic: Water and Drink Bottles, and Straws

Slow Food Nations has made it a point since its inception to reduce waste by refusing to allow any plastic bottles into the Festival, sold by any of our vendors, or handed out by our partners.  Avoiding single stream waste is key to our diversion goals and reducing our carbon footprint.

We highly recommend utilizing one of our many water stations provided throughout the Festival and either purchasing one of our reusable stainless steel cups with carabiner or bringing your own water bottle to refill as you enjoy the Festival.

We do not allow the distribution of plastic straws anywhere in the festival.  We encourage the use of reusable stainless steel straws or 100% compostable straws.

Food Donation Program

With a zero waste festival and the mission of Slow Food, avoiding food waste is a top priority as well as helping those in need within our community.  As a top priority, Slow Food Nations works with our Community Partners to donate any leftover product from our merchants and donations. We are thankful to We Don’t Waste for joining us again this year to help us redistribute our excess food.

Taste Marketplace Merchants

All ​​Slow Food Nations ​​Merchants are expected to demonstrate alignment with Slow Food USA’s mission of good, clean and fair food for all, ​including a commitment to sustainability in order to minimize environmental impact. ​As a participant in Slow Food Nations, they help set a leading example of how large-scale, high-traffic events can also be environmentally sustainable.

All Merchants are required to use BPI certified, compostable serving products for all samples at the festival. The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the use of compostable materials and has a third-party certification process to verify if a manufacturer’s products meet the ASTM definition for compostability.

Slow Food Nations will implement a strict zero waste approach. The event will utilize three-bin zero waste stations (compost, recycle, trash) throughout the venue, including Merchant back-of-house areas. All Merchant waste must be properly sorted into compost, recycling or trash; in addition, Merchants will also be able to have their unused, but still edible food scraps, rescued and collected by the organizers of the event’s Zero Waste Family Supper. The event’s zero waste staff and volunteers will monitor stations, support Merchants, educate attendees and sort all waste, to ensure that everything possible is kept out of the landfill.

We are committed to eliminating food waste at the festival. We ask our Merchants to think carefully about how much food they will need. All unused food from the festival is used at our Zero Waste Community Supper, then donated to our food rescue partner, and finally, composted by our waste partner.