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San Francisco Green Festival recap

November 20th, 2009

The Osprey Brand Team, a group of ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods, was in attendance at last weekend’s Green Festival – a joint project of Global Exchange and Green America. Check out this full wrap-up from brand team members Miriam Karpilow and Sarah Trejo…

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. Well, we suppose we could have, but it wouldn’t have done any good, since this November morning was nothing but blue skies and t-shirt temperatures. In fact, had the round-trip distance to San Francisco not looked something like 165 miles, we probably would have ridden our bikes to the GreenFestival!

Your two faithful Osprey Brand Team’ers had to park a good 10-minute walk away from the expo hall, so we had an opportunity to soak in the sun and general ambiance as we wove our way among the hippies, hipsters, green-pinstripes and enthusiastic student-types. It was so encouraging to see that we were not the only ones carrying our own bags and reusable water bottles! Upon arrival at the entrance we were greeted by the Ritter Sport remote-controlled truck that was rolling around and passing out little squares of chocolates. These are no regular chocolates; they’re German chocolates! Miriam being half-German and having grown up loving Ritter Sport, promptly flipped out and started grabbing the bright little packages. Additionally, Ritter Sport was there interviewing people for a chance to win a year supply of chocolate – check out Sarah with the mic!

We finally bought our tickets and walked in to the hall. It was overwhelming! SO MUCH TO SEE! The map was useless; we just started wandering. There were booths galore – organic, sustainably produced clothing; free-trade chocolate; kombucha (ewww); phases of the moon calendar; elephant poop greeting cards; bags of all sizes made from repurposed kite sails, billboards, tires and a bunch of other stuff. There were also all sorts of magazines being represented and we admittedly found it odd that there would be so much paper at a Green Festival. That didn’t stop us from picking up some great rags on vegetarian cooking (can’t wait to try some of those recipes!), yoga, responsible global politics and so on.

Eagle-Eye Sarah pointed out interesting people and stuff for Miriam to capture and upload to Twitter. Some of the highlights include the “Bag Man.” This was a dude who was walking around under about 500 plastic shopping bags (like you get at the grocery store), roughly the amount one consumer uses in a year. Seeing the sheer volume of plastic at once really puts things in perspective. People! Bring your own bags to the store! And if you can help it, why not use Earth-friendly bags made from organic or recycled materials (perhaps you can grab your Osprey ReSource backpack and pedal your bike to the store)?

We also spotted a gentleman Tweeting old-skool style: on a typewriter! He had a sign advertising poems… we asked him to write one for us. While he typed away, we observed a group of guys – probably high school students – looking on, completely agog. The look on their faces was something between “what the heck is that?” and “wow, that is pretty cool!” Isn’t it interesting that this little human-powered machine that was so revolutionary during our grandparents’ and parent’s generation, has so quickly become antiquated due to quick advancements in technology? This might have been the first time these boys had actually seen a real, live typewriter! Oh, and our poem was… weird.

Speaking of antiquated technologies, how about all that elephant dung, recycled, seed-infused paper!  Miriam and Sarah, despite their recycling, composting, reusing tendencies, are two people who still love themselves a handwritten letter or note. Your gals bought some beautiful, plantable (as in: seeds IN the paper), recycled fiber paper for this very purpose. Hey – why don’t you pick up a pen and write a nice note to let someone and tell them how much you care about them, in writing?! Guaranteed, it’ll make their day!

Around lunch time, we plunked ourselves on the ground in the food section. Oh wow, so many yummy options! But we brought our own stuff AND our own utensils. Miriam being the Green person she is, always carries a supply of utensils (including chopsticks) and napkins in her glove box for exactly such moments. Ever notice how a jaunt to a (gasp) fast food place or sandwich shop or café always results in extra napkins and/or plastic sporks? Do you find yourself just tossing that stuff in the trash? Well again, we can thank Miriam’s responsible German side for collecting the goods for (re)use.  And how cool is it that, at this GreenFestival, there were closely monitored bins for trash, recycle and compost? Wouldn’t it be cool if that were the norm?

After lunch, Sarah steered your faithful Osprey reps down the dessert aisle, where many amazing chocolates were sampled. When you learn more about the details of the chocolate industry, you will be happy to pay a premium for organic, free-trade chocolate.

We wandered around a bit more, all the while chatting people up about Osprey bags and handing out coupons for a cool promotion at local Lombardi Sports (buy an Osprey bag, get a steel water bottle for free!). That was, after all, one of the reasons were at the GreenFestival to begin with: to inform eco-conscious consumers that there are some pretty awesome eco-conscious and rugged bags available for all your carrying needs. The ReSource bags, folks. They rock!

Peace and sunshine to you from Northern California,
Miriam and Sarah

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