Monday, October 8, 2012

Re-Cap: DC Green Festival

I recently attended the DC Green Festival, a marketplace of conscious, Fair-Trade businesses, eco-innovators, and community leaders addressing environmental and social justice issues.  It was a gorgeous fall day in DC and I headed INSIDE the Washington Convention Center for a green festival -- a bit ironic.

The DC Green Festival was laid out in typical trade show style -- lots of booths and speaker areas.  After some searching, I found the media registration area and got my press pass name tag.  Name tags were printed on recycled material of course, but what recycled material you might ask?  Allow me to show you...

With dung tied around my neck, I was off and on my way to find some tasty, environmentally friendly food. There were a lot of businesses selling eco-friendly, Fair-Trade foods and cooking equipment.  I sampled the standard fare, like Clif bars.

And then I saw something that caught my eye.  People were walking around, drinking out of coconuts with a straw.  I was intrigued.  It was a strange pairing of "things you might see in the jungle" inside a dark, cavernous corporate convention center.  I had to find out more.  I eventually found the Khepra's Raw Food Juice Bar where you could buy a coconut to drink from and other "raw food" treats.

Now, I am not totally up on the raw food movement.  I enjoy fresh fruit and will eat strawberries off the plant when I go strawberry picking.  But this was a new level for me...

Absolutely not.  I will not eat a Pistachio Hemp Burger and most certainly not for ten dollars.  I don't know, call me crazy, but I had to find something a little more mainstream.  Luckily, someone was selling chocolate.

Now this was more my speed.  This Fair-Trade chocolate from Divine was delicious -- smooth and rich dark chocolate with nutty hazelnut truffle.  And as an added bonus they get their cocoa from the Kuapa Kokoo farmers’ who receive a Fair Trade price for their cocoa, and own 45% of the company.  This gives those farmers a direct influence over how the company is run and share in the profits from the chocolate. Win/win and my taste buds don't suffer.  That's the way 'green food' should be done.  I don't want to sacrifice taste or appeal to know it was made in a way that benefited Mother Earth. 

At this point, I realized that I needed to be brave and try something outside my comfort zone.  So I wandered back to the food area and analyzed my options.  Everything was vegetarian or vegan (you're probably not surprised, but I was).  But of course, they referenced meat in parentheses.  Like "chicken" nuggets = tofu nuggets.  So here's my issue...  Shouldn't you just appreciate the food for what it IS rather than what you are trying to pass it off as?  Just my opinion.  I opted for the "chicken" curry and brown rice from Nyota's Ting.  

It was good.  A bit heavy and a little oily but overall, I was pleasantly surprised.  And the tofu even looked like chicken - look at it!

I would survive if I had to go vegetarian! It wouldn't be my favorite, but I would live... apparently on tofu disguised as meat but... it would work.  Good to know.  On my way out, I stopped by the booth for MOM's Organic Market.  They were giving away free Yogi chai tea.  So when I returned  home, I made myself a cup.  I loved the little tea 'fortune.'

And there it was, the Green Festival.  A little too earthy, vegan/vegetarian for me, but I think if you love the scent of patchouli and some tofu, this is your scene. 

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