Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chicago Green Festival

On Saturday morning, Rebecka and I boarded the "Hiawatha" train in Milwaukee to embark on a fun-filled ride to Chicago. More specifically, we were destined for Chicago's Navy Pier and the 3rd annual Chicago Green Festival. The train is an awesome alternative to driving to Chicago. If you've ever driven through Chicago, you know what I'm talking about. I received a slight scolding on the train for presenting unsigned tickets to the grim attendant, but other than that, the trip was wonderfully uneventful.

After a long walk around Union Station, we found bus 124, which was to take us the final stretch to Navy Pier. We were pretty confident that we were on the right track considering the appearance of our fellow bus riders. Definitely treehuggers... You could tell by the wild beards, stainless steel water bottles, and hemp clothing. Yes, I know these are all stereotypes, but they were valid in this scenario.

We walked and walked and walked through the never-ending corridor of stores and restaurants in Navy Pier and finally reached the festival registration line. Our bus tickets got us $5.00 off, which we donated to recycling efforts. We received our first sample of the day, wonderfully scented soaps from Pangea Organics.

Next followed a hunt for a free tote bag. We saw people walking around with bags that said something like "Smart Home." We searched and searched, but could not find the location of that booth. Finally, I took a closer look and read "Museum of Science and Industry." Aha, this was enough information to look it up in the festival guide. Five minutes later we had our tote bag and could freely walk around and get samples.

We gathered everything from organic makeup to fair trade honey to elephant poo business cards. Some samples we devoured immediately such as Organic Valley cheese, Luna bar pieces, and Divine chocolate eggs (leftover from Easter? I don't mind!). Rebecka was in sample heaven.

We also purchased some goodies including hazelnut butter and a tofu cookbook. The book-selling guy told us he's been vegan for 30 years and that he hasn't taken antibiotics in 25 years and doesn't even have a doctor. Hmmm, perhaps I will try it for a week and see how it goes. The thing I would miss the most would be Kefir. I know that's probably weird, but that's me.

Throughout the day, we gathered information about all sorts of interesting topics like eating veg, responsible investing, eco-friendly vacuuming, fair trade, and how to start your own farm (Todd, don't worry...). It was encouraging to see all the people there, the number of good products that are available, and to experience the joy that surrounds people who live "more good, less harm."

We returned home good and tired and pumped. The event reminded me that every choice matters and that even though the environmental problems we face seem insurmountable, I can make an impact.

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