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

Green Goes Mainstream
July 27, 2006

Largest Sustainability Event in the World Expands Presence Across the Country Proving How Easy it is to be Green
Green Festival Adds Chicago to Growing Roster of Host Cities

Washington, DC - Green Festival, a joint project of Global Exchange and Co-op America, brings together more than 200 speakers, 400 green businesses and an anticipated audience of 75,000 with the addition of its third city Chicago, in 2007.  Maintaining its position as the largest and most authentic sustainability event in the world, Green Festival continues to stay at the forefront of bringing leading-edge green products and innovations into people’s lives and communities.  The annual party with a purpose will officially kick off its 5th year in Washington DC on October 14-15th 2006 to be held in an expanded area in the Washington DC Convention Center.  

Due to the extraordinary success of last year’s festival in San Francisco, a third show day has been added to the event at the San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center that will run from November 10–12, 2006. Scheduled for April 2007 the first Green Festival Chicago will be held on Earth Day weekend April 21-22, 2007.

With a stringent screening process designed by Co-op America, Green Festival ensures all exhibitors meet best practices for green businesses.  As a joint project of the two non-profit organizations: Global Exchange and Co-op America, Green Festival  brings individuals, businesses and investors together to work cooperatively in creating positive economic solutions for communities and the environment  This year’s Green Festival will continue to celebrate the positive impact of sustainable living, eco/organic products on personal health and wellness and the importance of critical initiatives such as recycling, global citizenship and renewable energy.

"Green is becoming part of the new mainstream. People are lining up to see Al Gore’s movie and the Toyota Prius is the new celebrity status symbol,” explains Co-op America Executive Director Alisa Gravitz. “More and more people want to improve their own health and help the planet and Green Festivals let them see and experience first hand that the green life is the good life.”

In each city, participants can experience great “how-to” workshops, participate in yoga and movement classes, network and socialize, attend green career sessions, view eco-minded films, eat delicious organic cuisine, drink organic beer and wine and shop green at the many exhibitor booths. Festival attendees of all ages can also enjoy other highlights as live music performed by some of today’s most influential global artists or a festive walk through some of the hugely popular event areas such as the Green Kids’ Zone, the Socially Responsible Investing Pavilion or the Body Work area.

With the tremendous crowd enthusiasm for such past speakers as William McDonough, Woody Harrelson, Julia Butterfly Hill, Arianna Huffington and Cindy Sheehan, this year’s speaker line up which will include Alice Walker, Greg Palast, Ben Cohen, Dr Helen Caldicott, Amy Goodman, Frances Moore Lappe, Jim Hightower and Tom Hayden is expected to draw the largest crowds to date.

"Not too long ago, individuals who participated in a green lifestyle were considered living life off the beaten path of the majority,” says Denise Hamler, Green Festival organizer. “With more and more people across the globe embracing the importance of green living and the green economy, and words like global warming becoming part of everyday vernacular, this year’s Green Festivals continue to provide a vibrant and passionate platform for the many great green businesses that are making strides today as well as for the growing list of conscious consumers from around the country who are eager to learn more about them.”

As each year passes, it becomes more apparent that U.S. cities must be at the forefront in addressing critical environmental and social justice issues.  Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley continues to expand on his commitment to turn Chicago into the greenest city in America, supporting both economic and environmental responsibility.   The Green Festival and Green Business Conference coming to Chicago in April, 2007 are key parts of Mayor Daley's ongoing efforts and will undoubtedly inspire new environmental tools and living options to help Chicago continue to be a model of sustainability for U.S. cities.

"We are honored to be chosen a host city for the upcoming Green Festival and the Green Business Conference.  Both events exemplify Mayor Daley's commitment to being the greenest city in America," says Sadhu A. Johnston, Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Environment. "Green Festival and the Green Business Conference are great opportunities to showcase the many green products and services available to Chicago residents, highlight the numerous environmental initiatives underway here and also learn from the best practitioners across the country."

In 2005, the Green Festivals attracted nearly 50,000 attendees. The upcoming Green Festivals in Washington, DC, San Francisco and Chicago are expected to top 75,000. Green Festival Event Partners include: Organic Valley, Nature’s Path, Clif Bars, Guayaki Yerba Mata, Calvert Investments, Calvert Foundation, New Society Publishers, Utne Magazine, Seven Star Green Event Experts and Manitoba Harvest.

For more information about Green Festivals, or Global Exchange and Co-op America, please visit www.greenfestivals.org, www.globalexchange.org  and www.greenamerica.org.

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