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Community News

1st Annual Green Prize Festival

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 8

By Rebecca Y. Mata

On Saturday, April 26, the inaugural Green Prize Festival will be held at Bixby Park in celebration of Earth Day. This event is presented by Green Education, Inc. in association with Leadership Long Beach and Green Long Beach!

The Green Prize Festival is a free family event that features urban famers, green chefs, green technology, live entertainment, art, education and environmental organizations, according to their website.

“The main purpose of the event is to celebrate the Earth and to educate the public about sustainability in an entertaining way,” said Barbie Sommars, Event Director for the Green Prize Festival. “Our hope is to engage and encourage all levels of the community to strive to improve the environment.”

The event centers on the Green Prize, which is nominated to those who display exceptional leadership in sustainability. The Green Prize has several categories including Urban Farms/Farmers, Green Schools, Green Builders, Renewable Energy, Non-profit Organizations, Restaurants, Small Business, Green Artists and Local Government Official/Department. Winners will be announced at the festival, where they will be presented with a gold medal bearing the Green Prize logo. “In future years and with more financial support from our sponsors, we hope to introduce a grant program that award recipients will use to continue their good work,” explained Sommars.

“Eventually, we will see the awards program becoming its own event, complete with a green carpet (instead of red carpet) awards ceremony,” said Sommars. “We have grand visions for our grand city and we are striving to be recognized as one of the greenest cities in America and hope to attract more green businesses to move to Long Beach.”

The festival will begin with “Farm to Fork” meals at The Ladyfarmer by Sweet Savory Eclectic. Kress Market will also be offering selections of eco-friendly beer and wine. As the day moves forward, numerous workshops and other festivities will take place.

“We have villages within the festival, each dedicated to an area of sustainability,” said Sommars. The villages will include Fresh Fair (urban farms, community gardens, etc.), ReLEAF (health and wellness), Cleaner Tech (green technology), Green Prix (sustainable transportation), Lil’ Sprouts (the children’s area), Eco-Friendly Vendors and the Earth and Community Organizations.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and learn from local farmers about organic gardening, composting and several more farming techniques.

The event includes yoga workshops like “The Yoga of Earth Day” by Long Beach School of Yoga and “Yoga Philospohy and Intro to Ayerveduc Medicine” by Yogalution. Other workshops will be offered, including “Food Preservation” by Primal Alchemy Catering and Events, “Everyday Aromatherapy” by Confident Beginnings, LLC, and “Human Rights in Our Urban Ecology” by Foodscape Long Beach.

The Green Prize Festival will also feature live performances by several groups, including indie bands Father & Suns and Hopeless Romantics. Guests will also hear world music by Amritakripa, Spanish fusion by Romero y Perez and blues by Lefty Phillips Trio. Jazz band, Magic Bullet Theory, will also perform.

Local art organization Squeeze Art Collective is curating the Green Prize Festival. Several more eco-friendly art organizations like Birdup and Mixt Media will also have art on display. The Painted Life organization will provide face and body paintings for children and adults.

Stella Ursua is the president of Green Education, Inc. and founder of the Green Prize Festival. Green Education, Inc. is an organization that “prepares individuals for green industry career paths and entrepreneurial opportunities,” according to their website.

“When I took over Green Education, Inc., we really thought about how we could bring a mass number of people together to teach them about sustainability,” said Ursua. “We wanted to make the festival more focused on the organizations and individuals that were having impacts on these particular areas. This is our first year, and we’re really excited about it.”

The Green Prize Festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., invites all to come “care-free and car-free.” Metro will be offering discounts and transportation to the 1st Street Station, where Our Town Trolley will provide free transportation directly to the festival. A free bike valet will also be provided. The event is sponsored by many organizations, including Localism, Whole Foods, Southern California Edison, Bike Fest, Metro, and Aquarium of the Pacific. For more information, visit