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Real Diapers at the Green Festival
by Lori Taylor
Spring 2007

Last October, Mothering Magazine invited Real Diaper Association to create a cloth diaper changing and information area in their booth at the Green Festival in Washington, DC. We were thrilled to accept the challenge.

RDA members made a Green Festival a success. Many RDA business members donated products for a trunk show of a great variety of cloth diapers, diaper covers, and diapering accessories. We displayed diapers and covers on a clothes line in front of a bright blue sky display, visible from afar in the massive conventional hall. Next to our information table, we had a basket of organic cotton prefold diapers and a drying rack with several kinds of diapers people could touch and feel. Many people told us how happy they were to touch so many different kinds of diapers, getting a much different experience than they did online.

Most important for the success of the Green Festival, five RDA members donated their time to be in Washington, DC, and answer questions about cloth diapers.

Karen Amidon of Green Mountain Diapers in Vermont provided cloth diapers free (free, as in no charge — none at all) for those parents willing to take a disposable diaper off their baby, put on a cloth diaper, and walk away committed to using cloth diapers for the future.

A 10' x 10' space was curtained off on 3 ˝ sides to create a semi-private diaper changing area. Local baby store Baby-2-Teen Furniture of Manassas, Virginia, donated the use of a sturdy wooden changing table for the weekend, and Karen stocked the table with diapers and covers. Karen greeted parents as they entered to their babies’ diapers. Offering help when they wanted it.

Karen estimated that about two dozen people took her up on her offer over the two-day festival. When conversations turned to "What kind of diaper is your baby wearing now?" and "Would you like to switch to cloth?" Karen talked the parents through the choices they had, helped them choose the right size and style diaper for their baby, and stayed with them as they made the change.

Ann Maclean of the Northern Virginia Real Diaper Circle was the newest Real Diaper Circle Leader in October. As a first step, we tossed her right into the public conversation on diapers. Since Ann was local to many of those attending the Festival, she was able to talk about local resources to fit specific needs. Board member Marie DiCocco, another northern Virginia local, also helped out with local resources.

Ann learned about cloth diapers when she was living in Scotland last year. She was introduced to cloth nappies through the active Real Nappy Network (a big inspiration for Real Diaper Association). Ann became convinced of the importance of using cloth diapers, and she brought her baby back to the U.S. in Scottish diapers. She found the samples at the festival and the conversations with cloth diapering parents from DC, Maryland, and Virginia to be a great education. What did they want most? By far, they most wanted a diaper service. Did anyone in the DC / Maryland / Virginia area catch that? DC needs a cloth diaper service.

Bryana Guckin of Soft Cloth Bunz came to the festival from Virginia Beach, not too far from DC. Bryana and her husband sold a great selection of cloth diapers and diaper covers, including a Grab ‘n’ Go Diaper Kit for those who didn’t want to be overwhelmed by the choices available. Bryana’s display mannequin babies grabbed attention and kept cloth diaper sales steady for two days. The face-to-face interaction helped Bryana realize that people need more and simpler information about cloth diapers. She wants to spend more time on cloth diaper education in the future.

Marie DiCocco, RDA board member, represented Real Diaper Association on the panel Growing a Greener Family. Audience members were shocked to hear highlights of Real Diaper Facts from published studies, all available on the RDA website. Marie emphasized environment, health, costs, and making even greener choices.

I am not here because I have some unshakable belief in cloth diapers. I advocate cloth diapers because as a parent I did the research. My research convinced me that cloth diapers were the best choice for me and my baby. My continued research convinced me that I needed to share what I know with others.

Last of all was me, Lori Taylor, RDA board member. I helped plan and set up the mass of information we distributed to the public. We brought pamphlets and postcards from RDA with extra materials provided by RDA business members. Most popular by far was our Diaper Facts pamphlet. Just the raw information from the Real Diaper Facts page on the RDA website opened people’s eyes wide.

We found that many people had been overwhelmed by the information available online. They just wanted a few clear facts to help them decide what would work best for them and their babies.

Mothering Magazine editors were happy with the cloth diaper changing area, and Real Diaper Association volunteers loved being face-to-face with cloth diaper users. The event worked out so well, that Real Diaper Association will be working with Mothering Magazine to create cloth diaper changing areas in several more festivals in the next year.

Look for Real Diaper Association September in Fort Collins, Colorado, at the Sustainability Fair; October in Washington, DC, at the Green Festival; November in San Francisco, at the Green Festival; and April 2008 in Chicago at the Green Festival.

Would you like to volunteer at the cloth diaper changing area for any of these festivals? Do! Join us in cloth diaper education and advocacy. Write to lori@realdiaperassociation.org.


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