GreenDeals Top 5 Picks of the Chicago Green Festival

The overcast skies over Lake Michigan didn’t keep green seekers away from Navy Pier for the Green Festival this past weekend. Dedicated Chicagoans even cycled through the rain to the event- earning free admission for doing so. Green America and Equal Exchange came through with yet another successful event packed with an array of green companies, lectures, even a fashion show. We at GreenDeals want to highlight our “Top 5” green businesses at the event.

5: Francis Ellis Candlestin candle
These biodegradable and organic essential oil candles are handmade in Chicago with non-GMO eco soy wax. We liked these candles for a few reasons. One, the hot oil doubles as a body moisturizer and massage oil. Second, some of the candles came in reused, super fun vintage tins. (Yes, someone finally found a great use those.) Third, the candles were very affordable, ranging in price from $5-$20 and came in more scents than I could count, from Fresh Cut Grass to Blueberry Cobbler. They also had a line of provocative scents like “Butt Naked” and “Edible Panties.” Check them out for yourself at www.franciselliscandles.com. Although they are based in Chicago, they offer carbon neutral green shipping.

4: "O" Organicso juices

This organic and all natural line of products from Safeway (including their banners like Dominick's and Vons) was sampled near the front of the expo center and always had a crowd of people around. They stuffed heavy-duty reusable shopping bags with a slew of “O” Organic products including laundry detergent, popcorn, baby food, and more. They also offered coupons that could be redeemed at local Dominick’s stores around Chicago.

3: Amafruitsacai packet and bowl
Whenever we needed a sweet, healthy snack, we went to the Amafruits booth to sample a smoothie made from acai berry pulp. Their all natural, Brazilian acai pulp comes in easy-to-use packs and can be made into smoothies, cocktails, and healthy desserts. We sampled an Acai Bowl- frozen acai topped with banana slices, sprinkled with granola and dusted with coconut. Not only was it filling, but I didn’t feel one bit guilty about eating such a delicious snack. Their products contain at least twice the antioxidants that leading acai juice blends have. Check out the Amafruits website for lots of recipes and to buy the easy-to-use packets.

2: Back-to-the-Rootsmushroom kit
Greendeals often partners with this grow-your-own mushroom kit company, and it’s always a best seller. So it’s no surprise the Back-to-the-Roots booth was among the most visited at the festival. For those who saw them featured on ABC’s “The Chew” a few weeks ago, you know that Back-to-the-Roots travels to hundreds of local coffee shops to collect used coffee grounds, keeping them out of landfills, and uses them to make the nutrient rich soil for the mushroom kits. Keep an eye out for future GreenDeals offers for Back-to-the-Roots. But in the meantime, you can check them out at backtotheroots.com.

1: Dr. Bronner's
Perhaps the busiest booth of all was Dr. Bronner's. Visitors snagged handfuls of samples of the all natural Classic Liquid Soap in Citrus, Peppermint, and other scents while also getting to try a variety of Dr. Bronner's Organic Lotions.soaps The Magic "All One" Classic Liquid Soap is unlike any you've ever used. With a combination of organic extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba, hemp and other pure essential oils, it creates a unique soap that cleans effectively without being harsh. The best thing about this product is the extensive variety of uses. Yes, it cleans your hands, face and body, but it can also be used as a cleaning agent, laundry detergent, shampoo and more! There were cards available at the booth with diluting instructions for the different uses, but they can also be found on the Dr. Bronner's website. Visitors also got a first look at Dr. Bronner's new White Kernel and Whole Kernel Coconut Oil, which can be found at Whole Foods.

There you have it, our top 5. If you were there, visit us on facebook and let us know who you would include in your top 5. If you didn’t attend the Chicago Green Festival, we encourage you to check out GreenFestivals.org to find out more about it and see when they will be in your city. Next up is Washington D.C. (September 29-30), San Francisco (November 10-11) and Los Angeles (November 17-18). Hope to see you there!

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