September 25-27, 2018
CIVIC CENTER EATS Green Week (guest post by Antonina Clarke)
Last week through the combined efforts of four different teams & some seriously practical skill sharing, we were able to run 90% of Civic Center Eats’ (CCE) food trucks on grid power instead of the fleet of gasoline powered generators traditionally relied on. Matthew Ché Kowal, founder of Majestic Collaborations, used his knowledge of music festival temporary electricity to suggest to Eric Lazzari, director of operations for Civic Center Eats, that the food trucks be powered from existing grid infrastructure from the city instead of individual gasoline mechanisms.
Eric and Matt then collaborated with Pamela Maragh of Siteline Events to teach six of her eager workers in a new practical skill: temporary electricity. Utilized for more than just food trucks and concert lights, temporary power is how cities get back on their feet in emergencies; an important part of Matthew’s intention is to teach his practical knowledge of how to draw and distribute power safely. In order to pull this off, the team at Siteline Events learned a whole new language of power jargon with terms like spider boxes, California twist locks, feeder cables, turtles and L14-30’s in order to operate the equipment, which was provided by Sunbelt Rentals.
The food truck operators then enthusiastically participated in this important pilot program as it not only meant a day of not running their fumy loud mechanical portable power sources, but because the information offered to them on their wiring set-ups enables them to connect at more breweries and outdoor festivals safely in the future. All parties were excited that the patrons would be able to smell food (not gasoline) and hear the live music (not generators). The vendors were also asked to bring all compostable wares and most were happy to comply – we achieved very good diversion from landfill thanks to staffing and waste stations from Cut the Plastic.
A few rigs were discovered to have faulty electrical hookups their operators were unaware of. This is where convenience appears again and again as an obstacle in our long term evolution toward more efficient systems. If the electricians hired to wire the food trucks initially hadn’t taken shortcuts, some costly and safety-compromising mistakes could have been avoided. Currently gasoline is so cheap, and generators are accessible to many, and convenient in the short term, but in terms of energy efficiency, we CAN do better.
The success of supplying grid power to 49 uniquely wired food trucks is a testament to collaboration, skill sharing, and changing toward better methods. The fact that the lines the city has laid are able to tap into renewable energy sources, reduce air pollution in the immediate area, and create safer electrical systems for all, make green-lighting this program for next year a serious consideration.
Antonina Clarke is an artist-carpenter, welder, trades-lady who had the opportunity to assist Matthew and Pamela and learn heaps in the process, as per Majestic Collaborations’ ethos of empowering creatives and their communities through skill sharing and cross pollination.
Performing Arts Readiness has employed Majestic Collaborations though funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop emergency preparedness in Colorado’s creative and Performing Arts community. This position, also know as “Circuit Rider”, is hosted by Denver Arts & Venues