The green movement has gained tremendous momentum nationally and nowhere was that more evident than at last Saturday’s Santa Monica Festival. People of all ages were given the opportunity to learn more about how to live a greener, healthier and more sustainable life in Santa Monica.The festival is an opportunity for everyone to “celebrate the best of Santa Monica, our arts, our diversity and our environment,” stated Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser in his festival opening remarks on the Ocean Stage. He also stressed that this is the third year the festival has a zero waste policy. All participating food vendors were asked to use compostable materials for disposable cups, food containers and utensils. All these materials and any food scraps will be turned into compost. Any bottles or cans will be recycled and no single use bags were being used by any of the vendors.Aaron Paley, a co-founder of the Community Arts Resources (CARS), the producer of the festival since 1992, told the Mirror that all aspects of the festival that required electricity were powered by renewable energy sources including solar and wind generated power. In addition, cooking of some foods were done in solar ovens. Paley also mentioned the festival made an attempt to offset the CO2 footprint from all festival goers by attempting to estimate the number of people coming, how many miles they will drive, and then planting trees in another location through Terrapass.com.This year, the festival included a presentation by the Human Relations Council Santa Monica Bay Area to recognize local “Community Heroes” who are ordinary people but are doing extraordinary things. Ed Altomare was recognized for his teaching and inspiration at the OPCC Daybreak Shelter where he conducts arts classes for women who suffered from violence, substance abuse, and homelessness. Bob Testelle was honored for his countless hours of volunteerism and fundraising for students in the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program at Santa Monica High School. Lastly, Jean Kelly was recognized for providing services at the Senior Fraud Prevention Call Center of WISE & Healthy Aging and at the UCLA Healthcare 50 Plus program. As in years past, the City provided the bulk of the funding for the festival. This year’s City contribution of $111,000 was the same as last year; according to Paley. This contribution helps “trigger investment back into the City” because the City receives sales taxes, business taxes, and business license taxes from the vendors who participated in the festival. The remaining $14,000 of costs was raised through booth fees and from the following festival sponsors: Delicious Living Magazine’s MIX Tour, Sparkletts, Broadreach Capital Partners, Watt Management and Time Warner.
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