sweetfigs   s w e e t   f i g s


                in pursuit of a fruitful life


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Going Green

On Saturday afternoon we rode bikes down the lake front path to attend the Green Festival at McCormick Place. We're bike commuters, so pedaling 20 miles without car traffic was a lot of fun, and even earned us 1/2 off the price of admission.

There were speakers, yoga classes and, most of all, vendors. Hundreds of them! We talked with people about low toxicity housing materials, low impact condominium developments, a new Chicago cohousing project that is searching for a building site, tankless water heaters, socially conscious investment funds, green lifestyle magazines and satellite radio stations, self-help books, raw food, organic tea, coffee, locally-harvested honey, energy bars, dietary supplements, yogurt drinks, organic hemp and bamboo clothing, vegan shoes, yoga mats, handbags made from recycled vinyl billboards, reuseable cotton shopping totes, natural skin care and body scents...

Get the picture? We wandered around for at least 3 hours, and I can't remember all the stuff we talked about, looked at, and sampled or chowed on in the food court.

Some of my favorite finds were skin care products from Baraboo, Wisconsin's Four Elements Herbals, and Toronto's Living Libations. This summer we'll take one of Scotch Hill Farm's Farmstead Natural Dog Shampoo Bars up to the lake house in the Upper Peninsula and find out if Lib likes it any better than liquid shampoo. OK, she probably won't like getting a bath regardless, but at least this bar is scented with essential oils and smells way better than her usual, chemically stuff. It's made from a base of goats milk and I think I recognize a few ingredients that are natural insect repellants, like penny royal and lavender.

I was surprised to see handspun yarn, fiber, and busy spinners from Rockville, Illinois' Esther's Place . The spinners drew quite a crowd (mostly men and children). I was tempted by their colorful felting kits, but I stuck to my yarn diet.

I even found things I wasn't looking for, like Chyawanprash (an Ayurvedic product), and this really cool stainless steel container from Berkeley's To-Go Ware for carrying my lunch. It looks sort of like a tea pot, huh?

When I did the Ayurvedic spring cleanse last March, I wasn't really happy about carrying my lunch to work in plastic tubs, but there didn't seem to be any other practical option. And I've been trying to pack my lunch more often, so this came in good time.

We also happened upon Soul Vegetarian's booth in the food court. I've heard good things about this south side restaurant for years, but it's too far away for us to patronize, unless we planned ahead, and there are so many wonderful options closer to home. We had some sort of marinated seitan, kale, mashed sweet potatoes, and cornbread. It wasn't low calorie food, but it was very, very good.

This was the Green Festival's first year in Chicago, and I hope it returns. We came away with great information and products and would definitely go again.


Blogger amy said...

hi there, i just wanted to respond to your comment on my blog about the wellness food - rest assured it is not part of the recall and they do not use the ingredients in their wet food that are the issue. it is just that the wet food is made by menu foods - who happens to make a lot of the recalled food (heck they make most of the pet food out there!). i tend to over worry so just decided not to use anything made by them even though it doesn't have the recalled ingredients.

i think going to the food companies website is the best way to get information. i have found that most companies, regardless of whether they are involved, have some sort of statement about it. after all, we need reassurance with all that is going on!

12:59 PM  
Anonymous carolyn said...

hey i can see these pictures. you guys have a lakehouse in UPI? i'm officially dying of jealousy. maybe libby will invite me up for a play date!!!! i have a similar metal lunchbox i bought years ago w/ at least three lawyers i think. i think it's japanese really, similar to bento box type of thing. mine came with a little linen bag that fits around it and says "lunch". or something. i haven't looked at it in ages. sounds like a fun day although way too granola for moi!!! :)

9:59 AM  
Anonymous carolyn said...

uh that should be "layers" not "lawyers"!! :)

9:59 AM  
Blogger sweetfigs said...

Those lawyers are always making a mess of things!

I certainly do my share of hippie crunchie granola things, but I've never been good about carrying my lunch to work. This guy at work also called it a bento box.

I googled and found this Japanese site, Jbox, that has hip bento boxes and the coolest mini sauce bottles. Too bad my mom moved out of Japan or I would have her look for some of those bottles.

12:09 PM  

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