Thousands of eco-minded folks flocked to the annual Green Festival at the Los Angeles Convention Center last weekend to sample, learn about, and buy—often at a discount—the latest in innovative green products and services. Ranging from green building and gardening, recycling, and conservation companies to sustainable fashion, vegan foods, organic body and health care items and animal rights and rescue nonprofits, there was plenty to see at the booths between checking out the speakers at the panels and cooking demonstrations.


Several booths held raffles. The meatless meal travel company Vegvoyages offered the chance to win a trip to India, and Tower Garden was giving away a $499 dirt-free aeroponic garden.


HybridLite brought its latest, smaller solar lantern with USB charger ($39.95); one with a phone charger is next. Green Menu was selling $25 memberships that include discounts and freebies at over 500 restaurants and stores nationwide. Hellomellow displayed its women’s and new men’s skin care lines, part of the proceeds from which are donated to charity.


There were whimsical stuffed owl pillows from Indy Plush, U.S. made with fiber filling from recycled water bottles ($15-$75, depending on size), stainless steel water bottles from Klean Kanteen at $16.95 and up, Re-Pac’s cloth lunch bags in four sizes ($6-$10), Sanpietro art cards made from recycled paper, Mink vegan shoes, and Lila Clare’s recycled silver and gold and sustainable stone jewelry.


The food court did bustling business in exotic vegan and vegetarian fare, but one could easily fill up on all the samples of energy bars, chocolate, and other goodies like Voskos Greek yogurt that were handed out for free. The vegan, low sodium kale snacks (four varieties) from Brad’s Raw Foods were especially yummy.


Non-edible samples were given out too. The City of Los Angeles Department of Sanitation distributed colorful reusable shopping bags, bag clips and safety containers for disposing needles, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power handed out CFL light bulbs.


Other vendors offered discounts of up to half off for Festival goers. A large checkerboard patterned bamboo tote from Yaya for $10 was too good to pass up!


Ford occupied a large chunk of showroom real estate with its display of hybrid and electric cars, including the C-Max and C-Max Energi, new for 2013. Guests could take a test drive and learn about materials used (doors, for example, are constructed in part from sustainable materials including wheat straw, corn, soy, sweet potato, and wood cellulose) and how to figure out which type of car best suits their driving needs.


(Photo by Shawn Beltramo)


Jon Coleman, a Ford representative, noted that the C-Max Energi can go 21 miles and up to 85 mph in all electric but also has a hybrid powertrain that can take you 620 miles on one tank of gas. “The C-Max hybrid is a conventional hybrid that gets 47 mpg city, highway or combined,” he added. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices on these models are at $25,995 for the C-Max, and $4000 more for the C-Max Energi, which is HOV eligible. Ford’s eco-fleet also includes the Focus electric, Fusion hybrid, and Fusion Energi, plug-in. “The reason that we offer so many different things is that customers’ usage patterns are different,” says Coleman, e.g. mostly city driving vs. highway or a combination. It also exemplifies that the company is committed to moving away from fossil fuels.  “We don’t see a future where these platforms are not part of what we do,” he confirmed. “Consumers are asking for it, there’s a market for it, it makes economic sense, it makes sense environmentally, and it’s socially responsible.” 


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