Environmental awareness event draws big crowd

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — Despite the looming clouds and threat of rain, hundreds of participants attended the Cardiff 101 Chamber of Commerce’s first Green Expo on Dec. 7.
The event, held at Cardiff Elementary School, featured more than 50 vendors focused on educating the public in all aspects of green living. In addition to booths hawking environmentally sound products and services, seminars were held with local experts serving as panelists.
Resident plant expert Nan Sterman was on hand to inform attendees about drought-resistant plants and native species for landscaping. Her latest book, “California Gardener’s Guide Volume II” was on sale.
Russell Levan, program director for Recycled Products Cooperative, gave advice on a myriad of cleaning products and reusable items that cut down on common waste. For instance, the company sells cleaning products that are nontoxic but effective. Levan explained to one of the attendees that he found ways to cut down on trash after performing an audit on lunchroom waste at a local elementary school. The co-op now sells reusable lunch containers made of environmentally sound materials.
“I can’t believe how many plastic Ziplocks are thrown into the trash at lunch,” Laura Stein said. The Encinitas parent of two elementary school children said she was interested in ways to lessen her family’s impact on the environment. “I think it’s great that there are all types of vendors here today,” she said. “This is a real education, even for someone like me who considers themselves ‘green.’”
Chamber members Betty Steele and Brenda Dizon proposed the idea to the organization and managed to put the event together in about a month. “I heard about it from a neighbor,” Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident Kelly Klein said. “I like the low-key approach to raising environmental awareness,” she said. “It’s a nice family-friendly vibe here.”
Zenbu and Rimel’s, two successful restaurants in La Jolla opening locations at Cardiff Town Center in February 2009, provided free tacos to eventgoers. The owners tout local produce, seafood and meats on the menu. “That was a tasty treat,” exclaimed Don Pearson, as he finished his food. “I’m looking forward to going there when they open in Cardiff.”
Other companies, such as Home Blown Biofoam, Ecotopiia, Sequoia Solar and Ponzil Energy displayed their products and innovations. Solana Beach-based GreenEdge Kids sold children’s clothing and accessories made from materials like organic cotton, recycled fabric, hemp, soy and organic wool. Most of the products are made in the U.S. or are certified fair trade.
“I hope they do this again,” Beth Langston said. The Encinitas resident said she saw a flier about the event just a few hours before. “It’s nice that there is a local, free event like this that’s so easily accessible.”

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