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

Bigger, Better and Greener Than Ever
San Francisco Green Festival Beats the 24,000 Mark
November 16 , 2004

The 2004 San Francisco Green Festival, organized by Co-op America and Global Exchange has just a enjoyed a third wildly successful year at the San Francisco Concourse, Nov. 6-7. What began in San Francisco three years ago, as a hopeful gathering of green economy acolytes, has become a 24,300 strong green economy extravaganza with 430 vendors, businesses, artists advocates and speakers from around the country.

In just three years the San Francisco Green Festival has doubled in size. This year's Festivals in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. attracted 40,000 people. Green Festivals in Austin, Texas and San Francisco attracted 30,000 attendees last year. This all goes to prove there is a growing demand for a green economy featuring renewable energy, organic food, and a wide range of environmentally sensitive products.

"In a world beset by uncertain energy supplies, global warming, pesticide-riddled food and an increasingly debt-ridden consumer economy, it is reassuring to know tens of thousands of citizens, consumers and businesses want to redirect our economy toward a more hopeful and sustainable future," says festival co-producer Kevin Danaher of Global Exchange.

Alisa Gravitz of Co-op America, which also co-produced the festival, added, "The people who attended Green Festivals across the country prove there is a growing constituency for eco-friendly and justice-based companies interested in more than just the financial bottom line. The Green Festival shows everyone how our country's economy can have a healthy, thriving future."

The Green Festival walks the environmental walk. Resource recovery figures were amazing: 84 percent of San Francisco Green Festival waste was recovered, recycled and composted. Over 4,040 gallons of compost were delivered to the Sunset Scavenger Company. Sixty cubic yards of plastic bottles, cardboard, paper, glass and aluminum were recycled and only 14 cubic yards of waste could not be recycled. At most conference the vast majority of wastes winds up as landfill.

The success of the 2004 Green Festival proves a market that can attract everyone from small scale organic tea producers to Hewlett Packard (HP) is here to stay. Spreadsheets do the talking: Socially responsible investment managers control $2.16 trillion; the U.S. organic food market is worth $10.38 billion; Fair Trade sales stand at $250 million in North America and the Pacific Rim; the global photovoltaic solar industry generates $3 to $4 billion annually; and the green building market was worth $5.8 billion in 2003.

The festival attracted luminaries such as actor Woody Harrelson, former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, cognitive linguist George Lakoff, investigative reporter Greg Palast, and Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick.

Check out the Green Festival Membership at  www.greenfestivals.org/donate to get the tools and information for green living, purchasing and investing 365 days a year. The next Green Festivals are tentatively scheduled for September 24-25, 2005 in Washington D.C. and November 5-6, 2005 in San Francisco. For a complete list of exhibitors and photos, visit www.greenfestivals.org.

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