DotGreen just returned from a weekend at Chicago Green Festival, the premier sustainability event. The Festivals take place in cities across the country, and this year Chicago hosted its sixth one, bringing many enthusiastic attendees to meet, share, and inspire others in the green movement.
DotGreen focused on encouraging people to share their own green story, a key component of pushing the green movement forward. The twitter monitor at DotGreen’s booth proved a success, bringing people to share their #greenfest thoughts with others and watch their names appear on the large monitor, for other attendees and the world of twitter to see. So many great messages about green living and good businesses and community groups come out of Green Festivals, and promoting the conference and the groups in attendance helps to bring ideas from the Festival to a larger audience.
With a few other Green Festivals under our belts, like New York and San Francisco, it was especially interesting to learn about some of the local Chicago organizations and their efforts.
Project Onward is one such organization, a studio and gallery dedicated to the creative growth of artists with mental and developmental disabilities. Their studio is located in the Chicago Cultural Center downtown, and provides artists with support and a Gallery to profit from their work, while fostering in visitors an awareness of disability issues and an appreciation of the visionary talents of people with special needs.
iGO, a Non-profit car sharing organization, presented its efforts to build a convenient and sustainable transportation system for the people of Chicago,inviting discussion about the possibilities for environmentally responsible transit infrastructure.
The DotGreen team also had the great fortune to meet Eric Heineman, Sustainability Policy Advisor to Governor Pat Quinn, who was able to share some of the latest green initiatives. These include electronic and paper recycling programs, promotion of alternative energy, and provision of energy efficient retrofits to existing buildings.
On both Saturday and Sunday, DotGreen held a raffle for dinner gift cards to support a remarkable local green restaurant, Uncommon Ground. Attendees at Green Festival also had the pleasure of hearing Helen Cameron, Uncommon Ground founder, speak about her creation of the greenest restaurant in America.
DotGreen headed to the restaurant’s Devon location for a delicious meal and a tour of their rooftop garden. 30 lbs of produce had been harvested just days before from the thriving garden, abundant with abundant varieties of heirloom lettuce, spinach, and root, and even some bee hives. The man responsible for care of the farm is known as Farmer Dan, who discussed his personal connection to the garden, and the way he feels he can give back to customers and unique blends of biologically diverse mixes of greens cultivated on the roof.
The city of Chicago itself has an impressive green resume – it boasts the highest regional density of green roofs in the US, and comes in second only to Germany worldwide.
DotGreen looks forward to continuing to hear and express the voices of the green movement at future festivals and beyond. Thank you Chicago for such a warm welcome!