Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

The Windy City Hosts Third Annual Green Festival

Nation's Largest Green Consumer Living Event Returns to Chicago with Sustainable Solutions and Eco-Conscious Options

May 7, 2009

Chicago, IL: Green Festival, the original green consumer living event, will return to Chicago for an energetic weekend of eco-innovations that will invigorate the community with a vision of a cleaner, more efficient future for American businesses, homes, and lifestyles. Chicago will host the third Green Festival from the historic Navy Pier on May 16 and 17.

A joint project of Global Exchange and Green America (formerly Co-op America), two leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to environmental and social justice for more than twenty-five years, Green Festival is a forum to explore and build sustainable solutions for successful communities and a healthier environment. Along with Green Festival, the Chicago Host Committee of over thirty local organizations, including BIG: Blacks in Green™, University of Illinois Extension, The Field Museum and Local First Chicago, have contributed to designing the event with a local focus by bringing speakers, exhibitors and partners from the region to the festival.

The Chicago Green Festival will provide eco-insight into the transitioning economy, growing consumer consciousness and evolving environmental policy with over 125 visionary speakers, 350 local and national green businesses, and dozens of community and nonprofit groups. All exhibitors must meet strict standards set by Green America, guaranteeing the highest level of social and environmental responsibility in all participating organizations. Every element of each business is thoroughly vetted to ensure authentic sustainability.

In addition to bringing the most cutting edge people, ideas and products on the green scene to Chicago, the festival aims to show the community just how attainable and economical an eco friendly lifestyle is. Presentations such as An Edible Education Round Table with famed chef Alice Waters, 25 Years Later, Justice for Bhopal: Survivors Speak Out, Greening the Disability Community with Ayo Maat, Building Community solutions for Native Nations by Laura Bartels and Environmental Justice with youth community organizer Marisol Bacerra speak to the diverse Illinois audience about incorporating sustainability into their lifestyles.  As the economy continues to transition, a great deal of interest has shifted towards the possibilities of a “green economy.” Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director of Green America, explores Green Fixes for the Economic Mess.

“The purpose of Green Festival is to share with local communities the importance of living socially responsible and environmentally conscious lives,” explains Kevin Danaher, Co-Founder of Global Exchange and Executive Co-Producer of Green Festival. “This year in Chicago we wanted the festival to focus on the realities of going green and how to incorporate it into a daily routine to see results in health, finances, and local environment.”

In between the exciting presentations, festival participants can explore the show floor and experience a sustainable marketplace with local and national exhibitors providing the best in fair trade and eco-friendly wares. The Green Home Pavilion offers diverse workshops to drive the sustainable movement home where festival participants can learn everything from how to perform home energy audits to apartment composting. New to the Chicago Green Festival is Youth Unity programming with workshops, games and exhibits for young adults presented by their peers. Not just an event for grown-up green enthusiasts, the Chicago Green Festival provides engaging activities for the next generation of budding activists in the Organic Valley Green Kids’ Zone.

Since the first event in 2002, Green Festival has created a model for environmental and social leadership, consistently providing authentic information for consumers on every aspect of green living.  While many events and tradeshows are notoriously wasteful, Green Festival demonstrates an unmatched commitment to reducing environmental impact by walking its green talk and reusing, recycling, or composting 97 percent or more of show waste. Green Festival was referenced as a model for “how it should be done” by USA Today for the festival’s commitment to producing a reduced carbon footprint. To further lower the impact of the event on the environment, those who arrive by bicycle are offered reduced admission along with free valet bike parking. Green Festival also provides carbon offsets for the entire event and its participating staff and organizers.

“In addition to providing the Chicago community with exciting and relevant programming, we will also provide perspective on one of the most pressing issues of our time: economic stability,” says Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director of Green America and Executive Co-Producer of Green Festival. “Through the many talks and exhibits at the Green Festival, participants will be able to learn how to go green in their careers, investments, and lifestyle. Going green is a commitment that will add up to big savings for your wallet and the planet.”

Green Festivals take place in Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Seattle and saw over 125,000 guests in combined attendance in 2008.

Chicago 2009 Green Festival Speaker Highlights:

Nationally renowned speakers such as Amy Goodman, award-winning journalist, host of Democracy Now! and co author of The Exception to the Rulers and Static; Alice Waters, renowned chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley; Paul Stamets, who runs Fungi Perfecti, a family-owned, environmentally friendly company specializing in the use of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms to improve health; John Perkins, founder and board member of Dream Change and the Pachamama Alliance and author of best-selling Confessions of an Economic Hit Man; Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director of Green America and Executive Co-Producer of Green Festival; Kevin Danaher, Co-Founder of Global Exchange, Executive Co-Producer of Green Festival, and Executive Director of Global Citizen Center, Damali Ayo, activist and author of How to Rent a Negro, and many more.

Chicago 2009 Green Festival Program Highlights:

  • Organic Valley Green Kids’ Zone
  • Youth Unity
  • Community Action Center
  • Green Home Pavilion
  • Fair Trade Pavilion
  • Music Stage Featuring Local Acts
  • Socially Responsible Investing
  • Natural Food, Beer & Wine
  • Eco Fashion
  • Eco Tourism
  • Green Careers
  • E-waste recycling

 

Event Details:
Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Avenue, Chicago
Saturday, May 16: 10:00AM – 7:00PM
Sunday, May 17: 11:00AM – 6:00PM
$15 for two days/$10 for seniors, students, all who arrive by bicycle or public transit 
FREE: Children 18 and younger, Green America or Global Exchange members and volunteers and those who bring three or more books to donate to BetterWorldBooks

FRIENDS OF THE GREEN FESTIVAL – With a donation of $75 you’ll receive: 

  • Full Green Festival admission
  • A coupon for two free drinks at the Organic Beer & Wine Garden
  • 20% off at the Green Festival Store and the BetterWorldBooks Book Store
  • Exclusive tour of the Greening Operation at Green Festival - witness how we achieve 95% resource recovery 
  • Visit with Alisa Gravitz of Green America and Kevin Danaher of Global Exchange and receive an autographed copy of their books - The Green Festival Reader and Building the Green Economy
  • Regular Executive Producer Updates about the Green Festivals from Global Exchange and Green America

Green Festival Partners:
Best Buy, BetterWorldBooks, Chicago DOE, Green Printer, HonestTea, Pangea Organics, Simple Shoes, Seven Star Events, Chicago Progressive Talk, NBC5, WLIT WNUA

For more information on Chicago or any other Green Festival event visit: www.greenfestivals.org

About Green America (formerly Co-op America):
Green America (www.greenamerica.org ) is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1982, providing the economic strategies, organizing power and practicing tools for businesses and individuals to address today's social and environmental problems. Its Green Business Network is the largest national network of businesses screened for their social and environmental responsibility.

About Global Exchange:
Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org) is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. Since its founding in 1988, Global Exchange has successfully increased public awareness of root causes of injustice while building international partnerships and mobilizing for change.

CONTACT: 
OrganicWorksPR
Katie Hunsberger
Courtney Greenwald
212.253.0474
katie@organicworkspr.com
courtney@organicworkspr.com

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