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Green Festival, Seattle

2009 04 07

A couple of weekends ago, we spent our Sunday at the first stop of the Green Festival, hosted at the Convention Center downtown.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect – we attended the Seattle Flower and Garden in the same space in February, and were really disappointed by the lack of content/products “for” us. The F&G show has been an institution in the area for years, but this will be its last year, unless someone steps up to fund it next year. Why?  Unprofitable.


I think the green wagon train we’re riding has a very different bent than someone who’s been gardening for years.  The practicality of the Flower and Garden Festival was low – it was more like a parade float for fancy design firms.  And it was $20 to get in!  That pricing probably reflected all the marketing we saw around town – the neighborhoods were plastered professionally with posters, and dailies, weeklies, and tv stations advertised it.


In contrast, I heard about the Green Festival online. Never saw anything posted in the various neighborhoods I frequent.  Twitter and Facebook.  Our aformentioned friend in Capitol Hill had an extra 2-for-1 coupon that she wasn’t using and gave to us.  I quickly found an online offer for FREE entry, with newsletter signup.  Cool!  Turns out the entry fee was around 10$, and there were plenty of folks that had paid.


For me, it was a chance to see Lawrence Lessig, though the focus on social media, local community development was the additional hook I needed. 


We spent the first few minutes orienting, immediately running into friends we knew.  Overall, it was well attended, but not packed.  Even the Lessig presentation was less than fully seated.  I also attended a short presentation on “new journalism,” “organizing and marketing in social networks,” and attended some how-to sessions on pruning and composting.  I was struck by the crossover of vendors from the Flower & Garden.  And by the sheer number of national appliance and construction vendors in a space that trended toward “organic,” “sustainable,” and “energy independent” with respect to consumption.  It’s cognitively dissonant to chat with a Whirlpool guy about the latest green technology, but that’s just the brand catching up on its authenticity quotient.  And it’s another possible answer to the question of whether green living is a fad or a growing reality.


Massive vendor booths, but I was overstimulated long before I could ever talk to the folks selling stuff.  I could have spent all weekend there for all the stuff there was to do.  We gathered handouts and urls to look through later. 


Instead I spent Saturday cleaning out L’s art space.  In other words, the garage. Some of our PII-sensitive junk mail had taken odd side trips into garage storage instead of the shredder, and there was an inordinate amount of garbage and disorganized tools and greenhouse materials.  The greenhouse is up next for my organizational bug.  My contentedness with disorganization has gone way down since having to spend all day in my mess.

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