Sustainable food, products rule at Chicago’s Green Festival

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The Chicago stop of the eco-focused Green Festival comes to Navy Pier Oct. 24-26, bringing together more than 200 sponsors and exhibitors showcasing green products for all parts of life.

The festival, which is in its ninth year in Chicago, is a popular opportunity to learn about local and national brands that are concerned about the future of our earth and our health.

Sustainably produced or environmentally-friendly food, beauty products, home items, construction materials and even cars will be on display and many organic, vegan and vegetarian treats will be available for sampling at the event, which is open to the business community Friday, Oct. 24 and to the public the rest of the weekend.

Shoppers play a critical role in updating the country’s business and manufacturing processes to decrease waste, maintain the earth’s resources and make sure future generations have a safe and healthy place to live, said Corinna Basler, national organizer of the festival, which also stops in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

“Every day you can make the decision, you have the choice, and by buying more green and sustainable products, you increase the demand,” Basler said.

Among the displays will be a beer garden serving sustainable alcohol, a yoga pavilion with free classes, a Family Fun stage with child-friendly entertainment and a vegan and vegetarian food court. Sustainable living workshops and speakers are also on the agenda.

The Green Festival’s vendors provide an opportunity to learn about local and national brands that are concerned about the future of our earth and our health. |SUPPLIED PHOTO

The Green Festival’s vendors provide an opportunity to learn about local and national brands that are concerned about the future of our earth and our health. |SUPPLIED PHOTO

Visitors can peruse hundreds of booths, many featuring locally made products and companies, including the popular vegan and vegetarian restaurants Chicago Diner and Karyn’s; ReSketch, makers of “upcycled” sketchbooks; and Sweet Beginnings, makers of local honey and beeswax and honey beauty products.

Sweet Beginnings maintains hives in North Lawndale, where they employ people recently released from incarceration through the North Lawndale Employment Network. They’ll be bringing their honey, lotion and body balms to the festival, along with a live demonstration hive, said Thad Smith, one of Sweet Beginnings’ workers.

Besides introducing their booth’s visitors to the company’s products, Smith said he will be talking about bees’ importance to our environment – and the things we do that harm them.

“One out of every three bites of your food has been pollinated by a bee,” Smith said.

“If we lose bees, we lose one-third of animals and plants.”

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