This weekend is(was) the 9th Annual Green Festival in San Francisco. I’ve been going since the first one in the fall of 2002, when I was in grad school. At the time, my long distance phone company was CREDO (then Working Assets), and I got a mailing from them saying that all Working Assets customers got free admission to this event in San Francisco. So I went. And I got hooked. At first I had no interest at all in the speakers, and I just went for the hundreds of vendors. It was the only place all year where I could physically shop (as opposed to shopping online) for fair trade goods, organic goods, recycled goods, etc. And it was a great way to expand my list of online vendors as well. But after maybe four years of that I had acquired a huge bookmark list of online vendors, and I was no longer enticed by the idea of driving two hours each way and wandering the aisles of the festival by myself just so that I could actually try clothes on before buying and get a jump start on my xmas shopping. So I skipped a year. The following year I looked at the speaker list and realized that I had been missing out! So now I have been going with my sister-in-law and concentrating on seeing interesting presentations punctuated by vendor browsing.
This time I listened to presentations on simple living, the fair trade apparel business, vermiculture, the intersection of religion and the “green” movement, a case study for healing an auto-immune disorder through food and environmental modification, and the need for optimism to fuel the “green” movement. The speakers were all very good. Of course I got more out of some of the presentations than others. I didn’t walk away with as long of a list of potential blog topics as I did at the spring Green Festival this past April; but considering that I haven’t made a dent in that list I think that is okay. I had an additional strategy this time of perusing the vendor list in advance and noting the locations of a handful of known vendors that I knew I wanted to visit. That way I wouldn’t miss out on anything that I already like, and therefore didn’t need to rush through the rest of the ~500 vendors to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I did find some great surprises like a new vendor that makes recycled binders and pencils that look really beautiful, another vendor that was selling a perfect lunch bag (I’ve been looking for years now, so actually finding one that I think I would like is a surprise), and a couple seed-saver organizations that had seed packets for sale (I just got lettuce since the future garden is still concrete). And of course I splurged on a new shirt at one of my favorite fair trade clothing companies.