Posts Tagged ‘Green festival’

SF Green Festival 2011 P2: Sunday Sessions

Without a balcony, I really shouldn’t rebuild my herbal garden or buy more plants, but a a free succulent plant don’t count, right?

I am talking about my first session on Sunday, namely, the:

DIY Living Succulent Walls and Other Creative Garden Ideas by Elan Segarra

When I went, I wasn’t planning to bring home a ring of succulent. The session title have the word wall, and I presumed that it would be a presentation on green wall. With so many events, I didn’t read the details, and I certainly was not planning to bring home a new plant.

Then I saw the sample succulent ring by Elan from Three Bees Nursery, and I am in love:

It’s destined, and there is no beating destiny, or so I keep telling myself the entire day I carried the new baby of my garden family:

It’s really easy to make. At the risk of dragging another addicted gardener into getting more plants, I recommend everyone to find out how to do it.

Getting an extra succulent plant’s ok though. The ring is actually pretty small and easy to care for indoor. It’s a beautiful addition to any home, whether it be a suburban house or a city apartment. Besides, it’s perfect for Christmas.

Laundry To Landscape Workshop by Gavin Raders and Andrew Charhrour

When I studied for the green build LEED exam, water use was big. It is even more important in a place like SF. In fact, the local USGBC and PG&E holds an annual Water Conservation Showcase. But most of the time, as an architecture student, I listened to to Powerpoints and case studies.

And so I would like to shout that I love the DIY area!

Planting Justice brought cute little gadgets used in laundry-to-landscape system, and even have a real three-way vault.

Much like the Nature Build session, hearing the experience of someone who makes a job installing the actual system is terrific, since I really get to hear all the little details and see the system comes together. They also have sample Herbatergent from Vaska, which should work with a laundry-to-landscape system. I don’t have that system, but I am all for natural detergent, and therefore I can’t wait to try it out!

Solar Is Hot! by Danny Kennedy

In the green profession, everyone talk about solar at some point, so it is no wonder that GF have a session on solar energy.

Plenty of interesting discussion came up, and Danny from Sungevity made a good comparison about the raise of cell phone and solar panel – that solar and phone gets more affordable as more people use it. I call it the Costco Effect. Real Good Solar Inc is right next to the Pavilion, so in the middle of the session, Danny actually got to demonstrate his point when someone pop out to lent him a solar panel (or I think he is from Real Good Solar, seems like he was standing there later). The wonders of festive environment and good business-relationship.

The Governor’s Clean Power Goal – How We Get There Together by Wade Crowfoot & Efren Carrillo

While POWER’s presentation was more on inspiring action, this one is more about informing current happenings. Wade talked about several codes and regulations here – current aims, AB32, Energy Efficiency Standards, etc.

Efren from Sonoma County showed some of the current projects. I have never been to Sonoma, but I have been hearing the name again and again. It seems like they are doing some amazing works there – retrofits, hydroelectric fuel cell, waste-into-energy, geothermal, Energy Independence Program, and more. It’s too bad that Stephanie Wang from Clean Coalition was sick, as I would love to hear about Clean Coalition as well.

And that’s the last session for me.

Such is some of my favorite sessions this year. I will write another post about the booth later.

Funny – initially, I only circled about 4 sessions on my schedule. Now I have went to what? Over 8 sessions! And I haven’t even gushed over all the booths I visited yet (that’s another post…). This is the magic of Green Festival. What are some of your favorite?


SF Green Festival 2011 P1: Saturday Sessions

Schedule? Check.

Sketchbook? Check.

Camera? Check.

After a year of waiting, I am finally at the Green Festival again! I volunteered as a greeter in 2009 when I was in San Francisco for a 3-months school internship, and I have never forgotten the festival since.

Green Festival is an annual sustainability festival host at San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, and New York. The official website description is:

Think of Green Festival® as a walk through a sustainable community. It begins with finding solutions to help make our lives healthier-socially, economically and environmentally… Neighbor-to-neighbor connections are formed and skills are shared to empower people to create positive change in the world.

Sustainability, community, neighborhood connection, a giant festival… all my favorite things in one place. Yes, I was excited!

Thus, I hopped up from my bed early in the morning and began preparing for the day – and the first session. Arriving early have its perks, I was fully awake for the first speaker:

Introduction to Natural Building and Making Natural Paint by Janine Björnson

Naturally, my attention were mostly geared toward the Home & Garden Pavilion and DIY Area (New area this year – hooray!). When I first saw the schedule, I twitched at the dilemma about which event to attend – Building or Paint? Until I realize they were by the same presenter at different area (Silly moment of my head-wall banging here).

Janine from Clay, Bones and Stones, started with explaining the differences between “Natural Building” and “Green Building”, where the later is more grassroots and focus on local appropriate material. She then went onto the different construction types, including straws, adobe, clayslip, ramearth, earthship, and earthbags. Most are familiar to me from school lectures, but nothing beats actual experiences. I loved hearing the case studies and Janine’s own experience. Some, such as the clayslip, are new to me. Who knows there are so many different way to use earth?

After the presentation, I rushed over to the DIY Area so I can score being one of the first 15 signups – I am not missing the chance to make my own clay-mixed paint panel. Must not be distracted by the wonderful booths… hey, is that a solar panel indoor?

Umm, focus.

Oh, that looks like a giant PG&E meter… stop! Focus!

Soon, I happily arrived there as one of first few there. I went sparkly eyes on Janine’s sample board. partially because some of them are literally sparkly. I soon learned that the sparks came from mica.

My eventual product:

My mom and sister were more amused by my ridiculous excitement over a piece of wood panel. I personally love it – it’s going up as my room’s new decoration.

The Pharmacy In Your Garden by by Kait Singley

I heard a lot about vegetable garden and balcony garden because of their increasing popularly in the city, but I rarely hear about medicinal garden (I did make sure I learned the medicinal properties of my garden plants though).

“Grandma’s Method”, as Kait from Herb’n Gardens call it, was a good way to describe holistic herbalism. Following the season, she introduced two herbal blends for the common cold. Since her focus is on medicinal properties, there were not much on planting other than the short discussion of garlic as a great companion plant to rose. In fact, most of the herbs she introduced are easy to get and grow: sage, thyme, coriander, garlic, yarrow, etc. Most of them, I grown in containers before, so they are fine for the average SF balconies. Most would still need large container though, as seen by Kait’s own plant samples.

At the end, she gave out bunch of yarrow for participants to bring home. Of course, I didn’t take one home since I no longer have a balcony, but it was quite tempting…

Free Public Transportation For Youth: A Gateway Campaign? by Eric Mar, Lindsay Imai, and Representatives from POWER

Imagine my surprise when I went to this presentation and realized the presenter were youth – with great, confident presentation skills. Behold the power of SF youth!

Presenters included District Supervisor Eric Mar (the only adult presenter there), Lindsay Imai from Urban Habitat, and Representatives from POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights).

The presentation was enlightening. For one, I learned that New York actually provide free metro card for students. I also learned that 75% of youth last year have to choose between bus or lunch. As a native San Franciscan, I know perfectly well that the only practical methods of safe, long-distance transportation for SF youth is car and bus. Watching the presentation film brought back memories, as transportation does play a key role in the life of average SF teenagers. I hope that their work will come into fruition.

The Practicalities of Honey Beekeeping by Karen Peteros

As I sat at the DIY area, I half wondered if I will hear buzzes as a warning for the presenter’s arrival. Hmm… will it attack Kait’s sage-thyme bush? (Huh? why is it still there?)

When the presenter came without a single buzz, I am not sure if I should be relieved or disappointed. But then, one of the GF coordinator did said that bees are generally not allowed.

Karen from SF Bee-Cause did a little hand-raised survey in the beginning. I found it interesting that the only committed beekeeper in the room is also the only one who lived in a more rural region. Even with the blooming popularity of urban farming, beekeeping is still rare.

So what do Bay Area residents need to watch out for? Karen’s first point is probably the most important point – is it legal? Turns out that beekeeping is legal in SF and several bay area cities. Of course, the neighborhood varies, and one have to watch out for extra features at a dense city. Bees actually have a bee path (ah, that explains why bees always shoots right pass me whenever I walk the back alley at my college library), so beekeepers have to orient their design so the bee path isn’t directed at doors.

Hmm, the day is getting dark way too fast.

I had to left early and didn’t get to stay for the full session, but I did return early on Sunday. So here is the continuation!