Chicago Green Festival welcomed community leaders, industry experts and cultural icons to the stage.
During his empowering address, former presidential candidate and renowned civil rights leader, keynote Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. said, "Green Festival is not an event. It is a lifestyle."
He concluded with a rousing reminder: "Green is for the economy. Green is for political stability. Green makes heaven happy. And the people rejoice. Keep hope alive."
Former White House official Van Jones, who spoke directly after Jackson, began his talk reminiscing the social strife of the year 1968 when he was born, "the year they tried to assasinate hope in America."
He then challenged our communities to organize, stand up, be as sophisticated as the system we are trying to change, call for action, and not solely hold a "vote and hope" strategy in the coming elections.
On Sunday, Green Festival proudly participated in the international day of action, Climate Impacts Day, by hosting a special satellite session with climate activist and 350.org founder, Bill McKibben. McKibben encrouaged the audience on the future of fighting climate change: "If we're going to fight, we're not going to do it with money. We'll never raise enough. We have to find a different currency - passion, spirit, creativity..."
The Green Kids Zone was alive with young creative minds all weekend! Green Festival youth enjoyed a variety of eco-craft and energetic activities presented by Chicago's own Green Parents Network, Balance Boards and Beams, the Bubbles Academy and Artterro. Creepy crawlies were abound at the University of Illinois Extension Service Master Gardeners & Composter's table. Marty the millipede and his little legged children were out to play, while Rosie the Rose Tarantula was on display for curious observers. Those who attended Sunday were treated to a wonderful, educational animal extravaganza , presented by Erin Yantz of Natures Creatures Animal Show.
Congratulations to $5,000 Ford Community Green Grant winner, Academy for Global Citizenship! After-School and Community Outreach Coordinator Jenni Schneiderman was on hand to accept the award, which will be used to fund summer camp sponsorship for kindergarten through fourth graders in a robust program that includes applied math, science, technology, language arts, as well as working towards building a farmer's market, supplied by the school garden.
Green Festival is incredibly privileged to connect with the community through a number of local nonprofit allies! Thanks to all of these wonderful organizations for their hard work in creating a cleaner, greener, socially just and culturally rich Chicago community. Working as a team with the dedicated efforts of a wonderful host committee and street team, the Green Festival buzz was contagious throughout Chicago and its surrounding communities. Well done to all!
Thanks to all Green Festival exhibitors for showcasing your green and socially responsible businesses. Green Festival is extremely lucky to have such an innovative, diverse, environmentally-responsible and socially-just marketplace. Your continued presence at Green Festival is our greatest priority in maintaining and expanding the green economy. The Green Marketplace was hustling and bustling throughout the weekend as participants enjoyed an amazing variety of local, regional and national green and sustainable businesses. Participants were thrilled to try and take home vegan and vegetarian snacks, eco-fashion, organic body products, kids’ items, non-toxic cleaning products, green services, education and career opportunities, alternative energy means and more!
Special thanks goes out to all of the volunteers whose dedication and spirit are the backbone of every Green Festival and upon which, every successful event depends. You are all extraordinary individuals and your commitment is an inspiration to the global community. Due to the diligent efforts of the volunteer Green Festival Green Team, participants were educated about different aspects of waste diversion and landfill contributions were a bare minimum!
Thank you so much to everyone who participated this weekend and shared their wonderful experiences through social media as well as those who followed along and supported Green Festival from across the country. According to several reports, "#Chicago @GreenFestival" was trending throughout the weekend! Keep up with us at upcoming events through Facebook and Twitter by tagging @GreenFestival and using the hashtag #GreenFest.
Green Festival kicks off our fall event series September 29-30 at the DC Convention Center, so mark your calendars now and join us for another weekend of fun at the nation's largest party with a purpose!