Friday, December 7, 2012

Los Angeles Green Festival

I love festivals and more so when they relate to the environment, sustainability, and people's well-being.  So I was thrilled to hear about the Los Angeles Green Festival which took place the weekend of November 17-18 (

I went on Sunday since Saturday became the first time ever I have watched an entire football game, UCLA vs. USC, and the first time we won against 'SC since 2006! Go Bruins! Having studied social identity in graduate school, I now cannot help seeing it at play in nearly every aspect of human social life! Team sports provide an excellent example of the "Us vs. Them" group identity concept and the perceptions and behavior that result. How's that for geeking out!?

But back to the topic at hand. The LA Green Festival was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which I realized I had never been to and it is gigantic!  I checked in and got free entrance since I am a member of the Sierra Club (more social group identity!), walked through the doors, and stopped dead in my tracks. The hall was enormous and so filled with banners and colors and sounds and excitement that I had to duck behind a booth and orient myself on the map to avoid getting overwhelmed!

Presentations and vendors at the Los Angeles Green Festival

I attended three talks at three different stages for three hours in a row but enjoyed them and was uplifted by the consciousness and passionate actions of the various groups and individuals presenting.

I started at "Food Justice and Equity: Transforming LA's Urban Food Desert," in the Community Action pavilion, which included speakers from the Community Coalition for Responsible Community Development (, Community Financial Resource Center ( and First 5 LA (

They are addressing issues of limited access to fresh, healthy foods in lower income areas of Los Angeles, restrictions to small businesses and lack of investment of healthy food companies in those areas.

Next I ran over to the Green Living stage and listened to "Community Food Shed" with speakers from Food Forward (, an awesome organization I volunteer for that harvests "excess" fruit from locals' garden fruit trees to donate to shelters and food banks; Nichols Canyon Co-op (, and South Central Farm CSA ( which you may know about through the poignant 2008 documentary, "The Garden" (

These organizations are focusing on producing and distributing food locally for healthier, more resilient communities.

Finally, I headed to the Main Stage for "The Medium As the Message: Transmedia for Eco-Social Change" with actors Ed Begley, Jr., Rachelle Carson-Begley, Raphael Sbarge, and Esai Morales.

I was hoping for something educational about utilizing different forms of media but unfortunately it was mostly promoting the Begley's upcoming TV show about constructing their eco-friendly house.

Esai Morales performing a song at the Los Angeles Green Festival

With the last couple of hours of the festival, I explored all the vendors from solar panel companies to organic food producers to recycled art to yoga and beyond. I got plenty of fun and delicious samples, but most importantly I met an amazing array of highly motivated people doing things every day to help others and decrease their community's impact on our environment. I even ran into some old friends!

It was a very educational, uplifting, and fun event and I highly recommend it. It is held in multiple cities so check back for the 2013 schedule:

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