Report back from 2009 Chicago Green Festival

Alice Waters, founder of Edible Educations, was a no show at the Saturday session. Although disappointed, it was near the end of a long eight hour day of taking photos and sitting in sessions ranging from Amy Goodman to one on how to make your biofuel. I was ready to go home and had a 25 minute bike ride from Navy Pier to Lincoln Park to mull over the day.

Two trained volunteers sorting trash

Two trained volunteers sorting trash

Overall, the sustainable event planning and preparation was impressive. There were  facilities manned by volunteers to seperate recyclables, compost and waste product throughout the floor. At one station, I spoke with two teenagers from different Chicago Public High Schools. “I am learning about how recycling can help protect the planent in science class,” Kimberly Hood said. “Today we were taught what we can reuse and what to throw out,” affirms her friend who was trained amongst the hundreds of other volunteers who were trained to take and sort people’s garbage from the festival.

The number and variety of non-profits represented over the weekend showed the many layers of environmental justice and consciousness. NeighborSpace, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving lands for public use, like my garden for instance was one instance (check out interview in video). It seemed though, that the majority of the floor was taken up by vendors trying to sell you their eco-friendly product. From make-your own soda so that you didn’t have to by aluminum or plastic packaging to Fair Trade apparel, there were consumer opportunities at every corner. Although I was intitially confused at the divorce between frugality and eco-friendly habits, the Green Festival’s philosophy highlights necessity. Only buy from vendors if you need it, and know that your dollar will be making less of a carbon footprint. So, I bought myself a Fair Trade graduation/summer dress, something I needed anyway and probably would have wound up buying from H&M.



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Filed under Chicago, Urban Agriculture

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