Daily 49er

Long Beach residents party green

The 4th Annual Green Prize Festival celebrates everything local and organic.

Xochitl Abarca and Janette Villafana, Staff Writers

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Hundreds of Long Beach community members came together to enjoy farm-to-fork vegan meals and homebrewed beer to celebrate Earth Day at the Fourth Annual Green Prize Festival.

The Fourth Annual Green Prize Festival took place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Houghton Park on Myrtle Avenue was the last stop for marchers holding signs that read “Our climate is not yours” and “We Speak for The Trees” who participated in the Long Beach’s March for Science on Saturday.

Hosted by the Green Education Inc. and the city of Long Beach, the festival centers on the “Green Prize” annual award program. The program highlights the city’s local achievements in sustainability and creating a progressive environmentally-focused city. These awards recognize residents and organizational bodies that exemplify green living in Long Beach. The Green Prize Festival has several award categories that could be won by individuals, groups or organizations.

Green Education Inc. President and founder of the Green Prize Festival, Stella Ursua said she created the festival to educate members of the community. She hoped that through this festival community members learned how to live a less negatively impactful life and learn more about environmental health.

“It really encourages people just to get more involved, it creates more awareness and engagement in the community,” Ursua said. “My hope is that people better understand the things that are being done to this planet and better understand how they can get involved and more importantly why they need to get involved.”

Cal State Long Beach student Ana Garcia said that the festival was the perfect community event to get in touch with other members and organizations in Long Beach.

“I already have taken actions myself in terms of waste, like clothes and trash,” Garcia said. “I’m being more conscious of what I throw away.”

The event takes place in various parts of the city each year so that different communities are able to participate. It has been so successful the past years that Ursua has been asked to host green events like this in other cities.

The festival spotlighted Long Beach urban farmers, artisanal chefs and artists. It also exhibited green technology like an electric bus and a test drive of a Honda electric vehicle, as well as solar-powered energy panels that generated electricity for the vendors. The event hosted environmental organizations as well as workshops, demonstrations and guest speakers.

The event featured a beer garden that served 12 kinds of homebrewed beers from 11 brewers. Long Beach Homebrewers Club member and Green Prize Festival Planning Committee Member Michael Jude Adelmann, was in charge of the beer garden.

Adelmann said it was “like a lightbulb [went on]” to make the decision to get the Long Beach homebrewers involved in the festival.  All the profits from the donated homebrewed beer went to Green Education Inc.

Local residents enjoyed eco-friendly vendors and artists, food trucks with locally grown meals and children’s activities like ceramic pot painting, a drum circle and skating with local derby athletes. Open street parking and an eco-friendly bike valet for cyclists was available for attendees.

The event was presented by SoCal Honda and in partnership with Long Beach City Vice Mayor, Rex Richardson.

Ursua explained the importance of the message that all these green organizations are fighting to spread throughout the Long Beach community.
“I would like them [Long Beach residents] to look around and see all the work that is being done in the city; there’s a lot of people working hard every day around environmental justice, around creating more sustainable communities, and around teaching people about climate change,” Ursua said.

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