Many Missoulians know the annual River City Roots Festival as a staple of summer in Missoula. River City Roots is a free, two day extravaganza in the heart of downtown Missoula, produced by the Missoula Downtown Association and featuring exceptional music, fun activities, art, and entertainment.

This Friday and Saturday - August 27-28 - The Roots Fest will bring families, students, tourists, and all Missoulians together, showcasing some of the best of what Missoula has to offer.

And one of the best parts of the festival is its sustainability efforts. In keeping with Missoula’s commitment to move toward zero waste and address climate change, Roots has implemented a number of initiatives to reduce the festival’s impact as well as to publicly demonstrate the environmental practices that are possible at large-scale events.

These efforts started small, with a skip-the-straw campaign in 2017, and have now graduated to a collection of practices including compost and recycling services, food vendors using only compostable food-ware, water trucks where attendees can refill their reusable water bottles, stainless steel tumblers to be reused throughout the weekend and beyond, a “bike valet” to accommodate sustainable transportation, and a carbon-free main stage.

A fun, important tradition at the festival is hosting a volunteer team of Zero Waste Ambassadors who help maintain the zero waste stations throughout the site and educate residents on their proper use. Climate Smart Missoula, Home ReSource, and the City of Missoula have teamed up this year to lead this team of fabulous zero waste superstars, and there’s still time to join us! Sign up for a Green Team shift here and come on down today (8/27) and/or tomorrow (8/28) to listen to music, mingle with great people, and, of course, support the festival’s (and City’s) commitment to Zero Waste. We’re easy to find just outside the Main St Parking Garage. Volunteers get a (green!) t-shirt and a drink ticket, in addition to that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with supporting a great cause.

Another rad volunteer opportunity is the bike valet, provided by our friends at Missoula in Motion. Volunteers help folks check their bike into the secure racks and keep watch while attendees are out enjoying the festival.

This service not only encourages sustainable transportation, but also improves traffic flow and safety and protects urban forests by providing convenient bike parking off of our City’s trees. Sign up for a Bike Valet shift here, and everyone is encouraged to stop by and thank the volunteers for making the bike valet possible!

Greening our City’s events goes beyond keeping plastic cups out of the landfill and encouraging biking. At its heart, these initiatives are about supporting and manifesting a larger vision for a resilient, climate smart, zero waste community.

Missoula’s adoption of the Climate Ready Missoula and ZERO by FIFTY plans, plus our commitment to 100% clean electricity, all speak to this vision, demonstrating our commitment to building a city (and, eventually, a world) that works with, rather than against, the Earth’s natural systems. Greening community events such as River City Roots is a small piece of bringing this vision to fruition - and that is truly something to celebrate!

We’re grateful to all who make this event awesome, and especially this year’s Green Sponsors: HDR Engineering, Mountain Line, and WGM Group.

So come on down, say hello, volunteer, have fun, and enjoy, knowing that these efforts are part of creating a more healthy, just, and vibrant world.

Sarah Lundquist is the Zero Waste Education Manager at Home ReSource. Amy Cilimburg is the Executive Director of Climate Smart Missoula. This Sustainable Missoula column is brought to you – via the Missoula Current – every week by Climate Smart Missoula and Home ReSource.

Sustainability Happenings

Here we offer ideas about sustainable ways to stay involved in our community. If you like these offerings, consider signing up for Climate Smart’s eNewsletter here. And sign up for the Home ReSource eNews via their homepage here.

Missoula’s Farmers Markets. Eat local now through the early fall! The original Farmers Market at the north end of Higgins runs every Saturday 8am-12:30 – information here. The Clark Fork Market is now located at 101 Carousel Drive near Dragon Hallow, runs every Saturday 8am -1pm – information is here.

Bike to Barns tour - Aug. 14-Sept. 30. Explore local farms and flavors on a 15-mile bike tour through Missoula’s Orchard Homes and Target Range neighborhoods. Check back here for more info.

River City Roots - Aug. 27-28. Help out with sustainability efforts at River City Roots! Volunteers are needed to sort trash, recycling, and compost, and to help out at the bike valet. Check this page for more info and to sign up.

Spontaneous Construction – Sept 18th. Missoula’s festival of creative reinvention! Reuse. Compete. Create. Enjoy! More info and team registration here.

Missoula’s third annual Clean Energy Expo – Sept 25, 10am-2pm. Climate Smart Missoula, together with partners -- the Montana Renewable Energy Association, City of Missoula, Missoula County, and Clearwater Credit Union -- are back to hosting this premier event at Caras Park. More information is HERE, let us know if you’d like to sponsor or host a table, and do Save the Date.

Fixit Clinics - Oct. 2, 11am-3pm. Save the date for upcoming Fixit Clinics, hosted by Home ReSource! Bring your broken items and work with skilled repair coaches to learn how to fix them. More information and sign ups here.

Materials donations to Home Resource keep the wheels of reuse spinning in our community; and remember that everything you need to know about what to do with your unwanted stuff is at

Find more local activities and events at and on Montana Environmental Information Center’s Conservation Calendar. And you too can help organize events – here’s the 2021 Calendar of Environmental Awareness Days – month by month break down of world day campaigns.