23 April 2012

Spreading the green message: NYC green festival 2012

This year marked the very first Green Festival in New York City. The festival was held April 21st and 22nd at the Javits convention center in beautiful Manhattan. I was fortunate to be a media correspondent; an opportunity which enabled me to speak with exhibitors, speakers, and founders of wonderful green companies.

Our planet is facing countless detrimental crises ranging from global warming, the shortage of food supplies, to the threat of nuclear meltdowns. All of these are attributing to the rapid break down of Earth. The green festival is doing its part in raising awareness on the importance of living in a world where there is a sustainable economy, ecological balance, and social justice. The festival involved spreading the green message with Earth friendly products, raising awareness to the public, and providing them with steps of action they can take to reduce consumption in their everyday lives.

Thousands of people walked the aisles, sampled delicious products, purchased environmentally friendly items, listened to passionate speakers, and ate vegetarian/vegan food that was for purchase in the food court.

Highlights of the festival:

My favorite vendors were the ones who supplied free samples. I was able to try delicious products that are widely available in grocery stores such as Whole Foods.

I gladly gave out rewards to my favorite products (I apologize for the lack of pictures; I was too busy eating).

Most Delicious Overall: The friendly girls at the Daiya stand were cooking up samples of panini’s, quesadillas, and Daiya wedges. Let's just say I was a frequent visitor. YUM.

Most Refreshing Drink: Mamma Chia's raspberry passion drink- chock full of nutritious chia seeds.

Best alternative to fried snacks: Mary's Gone Crackers- Herb crackers

Most likely to satisy your sweet tooth- Tie. Raw Revolution- Apple Cinnamon live raw food bar and Natures Path “love crunch" dark chocolate and red berry granola.

Most likely to use this product everyday: Earth Balance- Coconut Spread

Tastiest Nutritional Drink: Vega nutritional shake- I couldn't pick just one flavor.

After you were done enjoying your samples, you threw your trash away in one of three bins that were labeled either: compostable, landfill, or recyclable. The green festivals “green team” was working hard behind the scenes separating trash, making sure that all of it goes in the right bin.

...and a few favorite non-food items:

Favorite health and beauty product- The Fanciful Fox- The duo from the fanciful fox had an elaborate and attractive set up, displaying their vegan and cruelty free body care products. I was able to sample the sage bar (with dried sage encrusted on the sides) and it is oh so divine.  Products made by the Fanciful Fox are  good enough to eat, aromas enticing, and the products beautifully hand crafted.  
Coolest overall concept- We Add Up - Making a positive impact and displaying that each person does make difference.  After you pick a cause that you practice in your daily life, you are then granted a number, which is printed on the front of the shirt (Vegan—yeah!)  As of today over 24,300 people are making a positive impact. We add up.

Most simple and effective-Kishu charcoal water purifiers.  Just drop a piece of this unique charcoal into your water, leave it sit for a few hours and you are good to go.  This natural and environmentally friendly filter is also compostable.

Animal  groups PETA and Mercy for Animals were on site too, working hard speaking to guests and offering free literature on the benefits of adopting a plant based diet. Both groups had their own hard hitting messages, showing the public how cruel and environmentally unfriendly eating meat really is. Mercy for Animals paid willing guests $1 to view the four minute long video “Farm to Fridge” and PETA had a live display of a woman taking a shower, with the curtain reading “1 lb. of meat is equal to 6 months of showers." 

Ford Motor Company was also providing guests the option to test drive their brand new electric Ford Focus, which is able to drive over 100 miles on a single charge.

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of the festival was listening to Dr. Helen Caldicott, a Australian born physician, anti-nuclear activist, and author, speak fervently in regards to how human behavior is destroying our environment. The following quote from Dr. Caldicott is now permanently imbedded in my mind: “Earth is in the intensive care unit—it is dying, and only you can save it."

I covered a big portion of the highlights and cool features I experienced at the very first New York City green festival. It was a day filled with good food, positive messages and friendly, passionate people who share many of the same interests, passions, and concerns.

What are some ways you are helping out the environment??

Ashley Shamus | Email
Northeast Pennsylvania Ashley has a psychology degree, and is soaking up tons of knowledge while furthering her education. She has a passion for holistic nutrition, animal rights, and green vegetables. In her free time, she loves to cook, juice, and bask in the sun. She whole heartedly applauds and appreciates all of the wonderful people who strive to make a positive difference in animals’ lives!

Photo credit: Ashley Shamus