Grab your reusable shopping bags, jump on your electric scooter, and get your eco-chic on down to EPIC: The Sustainable Living Expo taking place May 11-13, 2012 at the new Vancouver Convention Centre.
The EPIC expo, a conscious consumer exhibition and eco-educational event, will host over 300 exhibitors offering the latest in sustainable lifestyle options: from food, fashion, weddings and health to transportation, and including most importantly lots of beer, wine and chocolate.
“This is the most important topic of our time and we put on a pretty good show - lots of fun things to do and good things to eat and see,” EPIC Sales Manager, Chris Livingstone said.
EPIC offers not only plenty of ethical and earth-friendly shopping, but also entertaining and inspirational programming on three different stages throughout the weekend. The Main Stage will host leading eco-visionaries including activist Sarah Duggan, discussing what teens are doing to combat plastic water bottles in schools, and former Vancouver City Councillor Peter Ladner discussing his book, The Urban Food Revolution.
EPIC’s theme this year is: “All Things Food: Local, Organic and Healthy,” and the Whole Foods EPICurean Stage is where foodies can scoop the latest info on everything from seeds, to animal welfare, to canning techniques, to raw food. Great Chefs such as Andrew George Jr. of the Tsleil–Waututh Nation, Dino Gazzola of Grouse Mountain Resort and pastry chef Wendy Boys of Cocolico will be cooking up healthier gourmet cuisine. On Sunday, Lucretia Schanfarber of Prairie Naturals will be discussing super foods and supplements and making smoothies all day from her book, Smoothies for Life.
Whole Foods Market jumped at the chance to sponsor the EPICurean Stage again this year because, says Marketing Coordinator David Hulbert, “it gives us the opportunity to interact with an educated and engaged audience. This level of shared environmental consciousness is a leading reason why we chose to support the event.”
To see what environmental consciousness and amazing fashion look like together, head over to the EPICatwalk and take in fashion shows by local designers and even eco-Bridal shows. Shop the EPICFashion Marketplace for clothing, shoes, sunglasses and accessories from 40 different designers committed to sustainable business practices.
As in previous years, EPIC will feature a Fair Trade Pavilion in honour of World Fair Trade Day which falls on the Saturday of the show. The Fair Trade Pavilion includes about 30 exhibitors including Mongozo Beer, the first Fair Trade beer launched in Canada. Mongozo, is a palm nut beer originating in Africa. Says Mongozo’s Jan Fleurkins about his company’s Fair Trade practices, "We want to pay a good price for the bananas, mango, quinoa, rice (in the pilsner), and coconut we use in the Mongozo beers and to the farmers who produce them. Fair Trade means fairer trading conditions and opportunities for producers in developing countries to invest in their business and communities for a sustainable future."
Also on offer at the Fair Trade Pavilion is Fairhills Fairtrade wine and Fair Trade produce and other products from local socially-conscious suppliers including Choices Market and Discovery Organics.
Says Discovery Organics' Managing Director Randy Hooper on why his company adheres to Fair Trade practices, "This isn't charity - it's about developing a new trading system that brings self-determination and fairness to producers."
Jennifer Slack of Choices Market agrees, "The cost of fair trade certified goods includes a premium, which is put directly in the hands of the producers, ensuring they receive fair wages and allowing them to make improvements in their communities.”
EPIC’s Sunday falls on Mother’s Day, and the event will celebrate moms by hosting mostly-mom presenters and mom-preneurs. Adrienne Carr, the first Green Party City Councillor (and a mom), will be on hand, as will Jacqui MacNeil, Founder and CEO of Escents Aromatherapy who battled a life threatening brain tumour while building her business and raising three kids.
Where there are moms, there are usually kids and that’s why there’s plenty to do for mini eco-warriors at the EPICKidZone. They can plant veggies in raised beds and bring a plant home or try out the sustainable toys at Granville Island Toy Company.
For grown up kids, EPIC’s toys include lots and lots of electric cars. You can test drive the latest Lexus or Toyota hybrids, or check out smart car’s Electric Smart or Nissan’s new Leaf.
If cars aren’t your thing, you can take a ride on an electric sailboat. Blue Fin Marine Group will be taking passengers for rides on its 35 foot electric drive train sailboat throughout the weekend. With room for eight, they’ll be cruising into Coal Harbour every hour on the hour for free.
Other green transportation options on offer at EPIC are electric bikes. The Strommer is one of the poshest electric bikes around and if you can’t afford the $4,000 price tag, you could enter to win it in the EPICprize draw. Other great prizes at the show include the E-Cycle Cruiser electric bike and the Obasan mattress.
By the time you hop back on your electric scooter at the end of your EPIC weekend, those reusable shopping bags will be crammed full of great eco-friendly and Fair Trade products and you’ll have all the info you need to make sustainable, planet-friendly and socially conscious consumer choices. And that’s the EPIC lifestyle.
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