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5 things worth seeing at this year's Green Festival in downtown LA

Avais Dinga/Courtesy of OrganicWorks PR

This weekend's Green Festival in downtown Los Angeles will bring over 300 vendors, over 100 speakers and a variety of other events to the Los Angeles Convention Center.  It runs from Saturday at 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Sunday. 

Organizers expect over 30,000 attendees, over 8,000 more than last year. Regional Director Laurie Kaufman tells KPCC the event is aimed at those who are green conscious (and "green-curious") from all political backgrounds. “[It's] fun, it's smart, it tastes good and it's a way to broaden your community,” she said. 

So what should you be mindful of at this year's gathering of the planetary and ecologically conscious? A few highlights:

1. Eco-celebs

“Hollywood’s positive impact is also integral to this movement,” said Erin Brunner by email. Brunner is a senior account executive at Organicworks PR, handling public relations for the Green Festivals nationally. “The celebrity element is also much higher here – we have an all-star lineup in each of the cities, but the LA Festival draws big names of celebrities inspired by the environment.”

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will join in the opening ceremony at noon on Saturday, followed by Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now” at 1 p.m. Def Jammer and Phat Farmer Russell Simmons will speak at 2 p.m.

Keynote speakers include Ed Begley Jr., John Robbins of Food Revolution, and muckraking author Greg Palast. You can see the full list of speakers at the festival's website. 

2. Planetary art and cinema

This year, the eco-friendly festival launched the "Art for the Planet" contest, inviting Southern California high school students to create artwork with themes relating to the most pressing environmental and social issues.

“The entries we received were incredible – the winners in each category will be displayed on the Festival floor throughout the weekend,” said Brunner. “It was also a great way to get the younger community involved and interested in the Festival.”

The festival will also feature documentaries and short films on environmental issues in its Sierra Club Cinema.

3. Yoga 

High-profile yogis and instructors will lead free sessions at this year's fest, including Shiva Rea and local L.A. yoga stars (yes, there are yoga stars) Felicia Tomasko and Christi Christensen.

The event will feature a full-fledged yoga pavilion, the Tadasana Yoga and Movement Pavilion.

“[They] will bring their dynamic and engaging flows to the festival for a truly unique celebration of health and wellness,” Brunner said.

You can see the schedule of mind- and body-bending activities online.

4. Eco-fabulousness

Animal-friendly L.A. fashionista Rebecca Mink will showcase new experiments in the world of cruelty-free fasion trends in "Calfornia Dreaming: An Eco-Fashion Show," Saturday at 6 p.m. on the main stage.  

“We are bringing a stellar eco-fashion show,” said Brunner. “It will feature various outfits and accessories from local designers and show that shopping sustainably can be easy and fun.”

Want an idea of what you might see? Check out her recent "Trashion" exhibit of design meant to bring attention to the area's dirty beaches and waterways:

TRASHION by Marina DeBris / Hands Across the Sand from ROB KALMBACH on Vimeo.

5. Food!

This year's Green Festival will include a host of local green food organizations, including L.A. City Farm, FairTradeLA and Green Menu.

The festival has a stage devoted to different food options and approaches — from urban foraging to living superfoods — complete with cooking demonstrations from local and national eco-minded restaurants. Check their schedule of events for more info.

In addition, the festival will place a focus on organizations dedicated to raising awareness of sustainable food production and eco-minded eating. One such effort is L.A. City Farm:

“L.A. City Farm's focus is building stronger more sustainable communities by creating farmers markets that support local farming, local businesses, and community engagement,” founder Nick Spano told KPCC by email. “And we feel that taking care of the home, and the community, is the first step to creating a sustainable future for the city.”

Be on the lookout for a heavy emphasis on social media, including an app to make the event more social-media minded: iSocialite.

The Los Angeles Green Festival takes place Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. A day pass costs $10, while a whole weekend pass costs $15. Both can be purchased online.

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