San Francisco Green Festival 2009 Shows How a True "Green" Event Should Be Run


Photos by Jaymi Heimbuch

This weekend, San Francisco held Green Festival, the nation's largest green consumer living event. Over 40,000 people packed into the Concourse Exhibition Center to see over 350 businesses, artists, nonprofits, and over 125 speakers and musicians for a weekend of all things green. It was jam packed, and ever time I thought I saw it all, I turned a corner and there was a whole new row of interesting things to see. Everything, and I do mean everything was represented, including the latest in clean technology, green building, socially responsible investing, eco-fashion, renewable energy, green careers/green collar jobs, natural foods, groundbreaking films and ecotourism.Several things impressed me in particular about this event, and it seems all festivals could take a cue.

First of all, it was really affordable. Pricing was $15 per person for all three days, or $10 for students, seniors, and anyone who rode a bike or took the bus to the event. Making it so cheap, with a big discount for arriving there in a green way (what about a discount for walking, though?) ensures that people want to swing by. Festivals like this can be really expensive (Outside Lands, for example, was $250 for three days of music...), so to make it something cheaper than a night of bar hopping is great.

Something else that stood out was an extra element at the waste bins. We always check out how conferences are doing when it comes to how much waste they produce, and how they dispose of it. Considering San Francisco is really big on zero waste, I knew there wouldn't be much to see, and the three bucket system (compost, recycling, and trash) would be set up. But a fourth bin was available for e-waste. How great! Anyone could bring in their electronics and know that they'll be recycled responsibly. I definitely want to see this at more events.

And finally, there was very little green spam. At a lot of conferences, one has to walk down the rows and sort greenwashers from legit green businesses, and sorting through takes away valuable time from finding quality things you want to learn more about. At Green Festival, I was impressed at how little greenwashed products and services there were.

Green Festival press materials state, "Since the first event in 2002, Green Festival has created a model of environmental and social leadership, consistently providing authentic information for consumers on every aspect of green living. A stringent screening process ensures all exhibitors and sponsors meet the best practices and highest standards for environmental integrity and social responsibility. "

While there were some things that made me roll my eyes, they were few and far between. This festival was definitely one of a kind. I'll be adding more posts about some of the cool things from the event, so stay tuned.

More on Great Green Festivals
Bonnaroo Festival Given Outstanding Green Festival Award, No Word on if Acid Flashbacks are Eco-Friendly
Green Apple Festival San Francisco: Thank You Concert a Success
Lollapalooza Is Helping Chicago Go Green

Tags: Carbon Footprint | Environmental Footprint | Greenwashing | Waste

Best of TreeHugger