The eighth annual Green Festival, held this year in San Francisco on Nov. 13-15, turned out an impressive 125 speakers and 350 exhibitors that highlighted eco-friendly ideas and products meant to create safe, healthy communities and strong local environments.

One of the more unique aspects of the festival was the HIA Hemp Pavilion, which featured member companies showcasing the many uses of industrial hemp in the marketplace, from hemp clothing and personal body care to hemp foods, oil and paper. The pavilion also hosted a hemp fashion show produced by one of the industry’s premiere designers and manufacturers, Summer Star Haeske from Envirotextiles.

On Saturday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom even made an appearance to the event. On the main stage, Gavin gave a speech highlighting San Francisco’s efforts to go green, which includes having the most aggressive local climate action plan in the U.S. He also voiced his support for green jobs, plug-in electric hybrid cars and city-wide composting efforts.

“It’s incumbent upon us to make real some of the rhetoric … to take these ideas and manifest them. It’s no longer good enough to talk about the way the world should be. We have to demonstrate the capacity to make it so,” said Newsom.

Some of the 350 exhibitors at the event included vendors involved in conservation, eco-art, fashion, fair trade standards, green building, green careers, entertainment and technology, as well as socially responsible investing and organic homes and gardens.

The Green Festival also had a wide range of diverse, engaging speakers including Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and food safety advocate Marion Nestle.

Amy Goodman, who wrote Breaking the Sound Barrier and Standing up to Madness, spoke about ways that powerful individuals, organizations and government manipulate the media and why there’s a need for alternative media organizations to make sure that full stories are told.

Marion Nestle, who is also the Paulette Goddard professor in the Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health Department at New York University, spoke about how the recent prevalence of food recalls is proof that food safety legislation in the U.S. is in major need of an overhaul.

The event also featured a wide variety of organic food as well as a beer and wine garden that included vendors like America’s first certified organic brewery, Eel River Brewing, and Frey Vineyards, which makes premium organic and biodynamic wines that contain no added sulfites.

Even kids had a ton of ways to enjoy the festival. Many showed up at the Green Kids’ Zone, which held fun, interactive activities like homemade butter-making classes and the youth theater project, Enviro-War, an educational story about heroes and villains battling it out over the environment. 

Best of all, though the Green Festival always leaves a big impact on the host community, what it doesn't leave is a big environmental footprint. Last year, the San Francisco Green Festival had a 96.6 percent recovery rate by composting 5.7 tons of waste and recycling more than 23,000 pounds of paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum and plastic.