Don’t just live green — be it! That is the motto of this festival that is taking it to another level this year by holding it at the Leichtag Foundation in Encinitas. It’s a time to celebrate a day of all things green May 17.
This one-day event highlights ideas for saving energy and money, connects you to what’s local and green as well as shows you how your lifestyle choices can make a difference.
This year there is an expanded food and beverage element to the event and I had a conversation with EcoFest President and COO Dave Ahlgren recently to learn more.
You have taken EcoFest to a new level this year with a new location and more vendors. Tell me about the location and what’s new.
We’re holding the event — now in its ninth year — at the old Ecke Ranch property, which can handily accommodate the 100 green exhibitors, 25 family-friendly activities, green cuisine, a craft beer tent and eco car show we’re featuring at this year’s event.This year, we’ve organized EcoFest into nine pavilions that offer transformational experiences in healthy and sustainable living. They include a Taste of Organics Food & Lifestyle Pavilion (Green Cuisine); a Health, Wellness & Fitness Pavilion; a Solar & Energy Pavilion; an Ocean & Water Conservation Pavilion; an Earth (Gardening, Composting and Landscaping) Pavilion; a Recycled Art Pavilion; an Eco Car Show; Green Schools Pavilion and more.Educational presentations will be given throughout the day; our booths offer everything from healthy chemical-free skin products to practical ways of setting up grey water systems at home.
I noticed that the culinary portion of EcoFest has expanded as well this year, what’s going on in this area?
Green Cuisine will be well represented at EcoFest, as we’re all about health, wellness and sustainability. Numerous businesses will be on-hand with fermented, raw, organic, vegan, gluten and soy-free delectables, fruits and vegetables. Downtown Encinitas’ own Sonima will be there as well as Peace Pies, Farm Fresh to You, Whole Foods and One Fresh Meal, who offer tasty organic, vegetarian meals.
We’ll also have some local organic treats and comfort food for purchase, including Jonathan’s non-GMO Kettle Corn and Cheesy Amigos. For those interested in starting from scratch, Laurel Mehl of Coral Tree Farm will offer heirloom tomato seed sharing and members of San Diego Master Gardeners will be on-hand for organic gardening/composting tips. Nan Sterman of KPBS’ “A Growing Passion” will be available to answer questions and share her insights as well. And what food would be available to any of us without those master pollinators, the bees? Encinitas Bee will have live bees behind glass to help children understand how honey is made and offer adults effective alternatives to pesticides and herbicides that can help their gardens and landscapes thrive. Meet at the Earth Pavilion at noon and 2 p.m. for tours of Leichtag Farms’ Biodynamic Urban Farming.
There are also some unique beverages available for sampling. What are you offering this year?
The Happy Pantry will be introducing visitors to the healthful properties of kombucha — and Jun, a fermented health tonic, will be available as well. We have Fully Loaded offerings in the cold-pressed juicery category and organic, freshly squeezed juices and lemonade that are sure to refresh.
In the “adult beverage” department, we have the major local craft beers represented, including one Escondido-based solar-powered brewery, our friends from Ballast Point and some local up-and-comers like Midnight Jack Brewing Company and On the Tracks Brewery. St. Petersburg Vodka will bring a distinctively clear alternative to the 21 and over set.
Renewable energy will again play a key role in this year’s EcoFest, with solar cooking demonstrations and your stage being solar powered, tell me more about that.
Sure as the sun rises, solar energy remains a perennial point of interest for Eco-Fest visitors. Stellar Solar has again stepped up to provide its solar-powered generator to power the main stage, and Energy Pavilion sponsor Green Energy is highlighting a whole-house energy eco-system of solutions replete with energy efficiency tips and solar solutions for homes, hot tubs — even electric vehicles.
Lick the Plate is all about food and music and I’ve always enjoyed the music at EcoFest. Who do you have performing this year?
We jumpstart the day with the bright steel drum sounds of Tonga and Trinidad as performed by music students at Kainga Steel Drums and keep the tempo alive throughout the morning with the rhythmic guitar sounds of local artist Kaz Murphy. At 11:30 a.m. Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar and County Supervisor Dave Roberts join EcoFest host Jim Farley, (president and CEO of Leichtag Foundation) for some official words of welcome. And as the children participating in our costume contest parade on by donning costumes representative of their favorite wildlife, ecological cause or endangered species, we have perennial kids’ folk favorite Hullabaloo engaging the crowd. Our afternoon features sets by local stars Cleopatra Degher, who wooed the crowd at South By Southwest and guitar duo Yael and Vlady. Seasoned performer, songwriter and environmental activist Ashley Mazanec provides an acoustic exclamation point to the day’s musical lineup! In addition to the musical line-up, we’re featuring an Eagle Dance in our Community Circle in honor of our Native American heritage.
Visit EcoFestEncinitas.org. It’s happening May 17 at 450 Quail Gardens Drive, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Lick the Plate can now be heard on KPRi, 102.1 FM Monday – Friday during at 4:10 and 7:10 p.m. David Boylan is founder of Artichoke Creative and Artichoke Apparel, an Encinitas based marketing firm and clothing line. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (858) 395-6905.