More and more people are interested in leading sustainable lives, and that interest creates demand for products, services, and other eco-friendly information. Last Saturday, Venice Eco-Fest, for the second year in a row, provided eco-conscious and educational exhibitors that offered a myriad of products, services, and information.
The Volunteer Coordinator of the event, Gary Parsons explained that exhibitors were chosen based on their “connection to sustainable living.” This year, it was more of a challenge to get sponsors due to the poor state of the economy so more vendors were chosen to participate. Out of the festival’s 165 booths the ratio was about 3 to 1 of vendors booths versus information booths. Booth costs to exhibitors ranged from $200 to $1,000 depending on the booth size.
Part of the Eco-Fest was a “One Planet Parade” whose theme was Green Travel (no fossil fuels). The Grand Marshals for the Parade were Los Angeles City Council member Bill Rosendahl and Academy Award winning actress Anjelica Houston. After the parade Houston accepted the Art and Humanity Award for her deceased husband, Venice resident sculptor Robert Graham, who died in December of 2008. Last year, the same award was given to actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr.
One of the festival’s booths concentrated on the plight of the South Central Farm. Since 1992 the 14-acre farm, located in South Central Los Angeles, was known as the largest and most biologically diverse urban farm in the United States. South Central Farm advocate Linda Piera-Avila told the Mirror “families had to be on food stamps to be eligible for a plot” and their profits from the sale of their produce paid for water. The farm contained 350 family plots but in 2006 after a three-year battle with developers and politicians, the farmers were evicted and their plots were bulldozed to make way for a Forever 21 distribution warehouse. With the fight continuing, the South Central Farmers’ Cooperative is temporarily located in Shafter, CA with boxes of produce for sale at various Farmer’s Markets in Los Angeles County.
The festival also contained a number of booths that focused on alternative modes of transportation. Among them was the Pumgo Scooter which has the rider power a scooter forward by using an up and down pedal motion similar to a stair master. Festival goers had the opportunity to try the scooter out.
The Eco-fest sponsors included The Venice Chamber of Commerce, Earth Day Los Angeles, The Wave, K-Earth, Toyota Prius, The LA Department of Cultural Affairs, L.A. Department of Water and Power, Jojo Monster Graphics, Fat Tire Amber Ale, Sidewalk Café, Venice Boardwalk Association, Santa Monica Mirror, LA Yoga, The Argonaut, The Free Venice Beach Head, Whole Foods Market, Energy Acumen Solar and The Venice Neighborhood Council.