JOHN SHEGERIAN: Welcome to another edition of Green is Good, and we’ve got today Doctor Corinna Basler. She’s my friend, and she’s also the President of The Green Festivals. You can check out more of what’s going on with The Green Festivals at GreenFestivals.org. Welcome back to Green is Good, Corinna Basler.
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: Thank you so much, John. I’m really honored and thrilled to be back on Green is Good radio, so thank you so much.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: We are honored to have you on, and you’re doing so many great things and we’re gonna get to talking about all the exciting things that are happening with The Green Festivals, how well your spring festivals went, and what’s happening in the fall, but before we do that, for our listeners that didn’t have the opportunity to hear your first visit on Green is Good, can you please share with our listeners your journey and your fascinating story leading up to becoming the President of The Green Festivals, Corinna?
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: Sure, absolutely. Thank you once again, John. Well, I’m a very passionate vegan and I deeply care about our planet and about animals and about giving back to the community, so I honestly have to say that this is such a wonderful opportunity and also a life dream to give back to everything that really matters to me and that’s not just a job from nine to five. It’s truly a passion and I feel also deeply honored to have the opportunity to run the Green Festivals and to move them forward. My background, I grew up in East Germany many, many years ago and I always felt very connected to nature and animals and you know, like most people do, I started business management and basically took the typical culprit. I move through Mercedes-Benz and several other companies. I worked for them in New York and I did my Ph.D. in business science and I had the opportunity also to travel on business to over 90 countries, which allowed me to connect with many, many different cultures and to meet so many inspiring people who are willing to make a difference and I honestly have to say that that really inspired me and suddenly, there I was. There was this opportunity to get together with one of the leading sustainability trade show organizers to continue working with Green Festivals and basically, this is where I can really use my passion and also, I feel like giving back and doing good and promoting the sustainable lifestyle, that’s also a very good future business approach so I think that this is not just a trend. This is so important to protect our lives, to protect the next generation, and to save the planet so this is, in a nutshell, my little story.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: It’s a great story, and we’re so thankful that you’re back on Green is Good and we’re also thankful that you’re now the President of the Green Festivals, so let’s start talking about the Green Festivals. Last time when you came on the show, we had the whole year in front of us and now, we’ve already had the spring shows. Can you talk a little bit about the highlights and the most exciting parts of the spring shows? What was your favorite parts of them and what can our listeners expect in the fall shows coming up?
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: Sure, absolutely, John. It’s actually pretty tough to select a couple of highlights because we had so many new and exciting things coming up from the spring shows, Green Festival 2014. The spring shows took place in New York and Washington, DC. For example, in New York, we launched the new Green Festivals Awards series for the first time ever, and I honestly have to say it was such a huge success. We had VegVoyagers voted to Green Festival’s New York brand award winner, promoting that traveling sustainably and responsibly as a priority for all our consumers and also the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, they won the Green Festival Community Award. It’s a $5,000 grant and it was just wonderful to see all the support from the community for those local organizations and I have to say it was such a difficult choice and we had to support those great judges to help us to make the decisions. Also something very exciting was that we launched our first Green Festival Saves Lives campaign. We partnered up in Washington with the Washington, DC, Humane Society. What that means is we had the Adapt Force One truck on the floor plan, on the floor live where our Green Festival attendees were able to adopt homeless pets, cats and dogs, basically on site and I was so thrilled, John, to see that almost half of the animals found new homes and got adopted and that was wonderful but next to our Green Festival award series, of course, we had so many partners, sponsors, organizations, nonprofit partners, and exhibitors who promote the best in green and living a green lifestyle. It was just so wonderful to see. We had in New York and in DC over 250 exhibitors and we had so many attendees experiencing, tasting and trying and sampling everything that’s related to green from good food, from sustainable beer and wine, to green pets, green building, green media, everything that you could imagine to integrate to your everyday life.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: That is so wonderful. So, upcoming in the fall in Los Angeles from September 12th through the 14th, and Chicago October 24th through the 26th, and San Francisco November 14th to the 16th are the Green Festivals, and for our listeners out there that want to learn more about these wonderful Green Festival events that you’re putting on, they can go to GreenFestivals.org. Share a little bit about what you expect to be happening at the LA, Chicago and San Francisco Green Festivals.
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: Well, The Green Festival is America’s largest and longest-running green living and sustainability event, and at each event, in LA, in Chicago and in San Francisco, you will find a dynamic, vibrant marketplace and the widest selection of green products where people can shop, taste and enjoy eating vegetarian foods and learning how to live a healthier and sustainable lifestyle and we have so much to offer. We have a wonderful program put together with educational activities and also very inspirational speakers and celebrities so basically, Green Festival has something for everyone. For example, for families, what we offer is you can shop for eco-friendly children’s clothing and toys as well as natural organic and GMO-free foods, household supplies for the entire family so you can play green with eco-inspired arts and crafts activities and the kids come and have a wonderful time so we have live performances and activities for them and they will be just thrilled. For foodies, I have to admit that the food court is one of my favorites because the vegan/vegetarian food court is just amazing so you could enjoy healthy eating, cooking demos. You’ll find the latest on superfoods and eating for a sustainable lifestyle and also our beer and wine garden is growing bigger and bigger. We have some great brands joining us in vegan wine and beer and it’s really tasty and you can just come and have a wonderful time.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: No kidding, so even vegan/vegetarian national and local brands are represented at each Green Festival? So, it’s local and national brands?
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: Absolutely, and it is very important for us that we embrace the local companies and that we provide them a very good opportunity to showcase their wonderful products and also to give them from a business perspective a nice market platform that the can grow and extend their business model, but we also have, as you already pointed out, very exciting national brands who showcase their product, so it’s a nice blend and it’s an interesting mix of local and national companies and brands.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: So, for our listeners out there that just joined us, we’ve got Doctor Corinna Basler on. She’s the President of the Green Festivals and you can check out more about the Green Festivals at GreenFestivals.org. They’ve got three great festivals coming up in Los Angeles in September 12th through the 14th, Chicago October 24th through the 26th, and San Francisco November 14th through the 16th. Corinna, talk a little bit about if we had a retailer or a wholesaler who was with us today, what would you be saying to them in terms of why they should come and be at the Green Festival and why is the Green Festival the best platform for companies that want to highlight their products in the green space?
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: Absolutely, John. I’m delighted to point that out. Well, nowadays, in an area of growing environmental concern, consumers are way more selective about the brands they use and the companies they support so for more than a decade, Green Festival has been the largest platform for green companies connecting over a million consumers so as a marketing platform, Green Festival offers unique benefits and added values to our sponsors, partners and exhibitors and we have grown many benefits for retailers and wholesalers who can find new and innovative green products for their businesses so this is very, very important as we are adding that new business to the business element because we want to help our exhibitors to basically reach the next level and we also have wonderful specific events, networking and sales opportunities to basically increase our responsibility efforts and sustainability impacts.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Got it. You have a very fascinating background. You’ve been involved with sustainability for many, many years and you’re very conscious and thoughtful about all these topics. Can you start talking a little bit about the green economy? What do you feel that’s going on right now. You’ve seen for the past 10 years or so. What do you feel that’s happening in the green economy and what trends or shifts are happening for the years ahead of us, Corinna?
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: Sure, John. Well, in the past, basically, living a green lifestyle was more considerate and very, let’s say in a casual way, very granola style and personally, I’m vegan as you are, and we’re both happy to hear that. That’s a trend but nowadays, it’s not just a trend anymore. This is really the future and it’s the future to really make a difference and everyone can make a difference. Difference doesn’t mean that you have to make a huge contribution, but every day everyone can make a choice for a healthier lifestyle and I deeply believe that we have reached a time that, again, it’s not just a trend. This is the future that everyone will contribute to help our planet, basically to survive and also, to provide a nice platform and just wonderful life for upcoming generations.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: And, I couldn’t agree with you more that even now, as we were discussing off the air, being a vegan might even feel a little bit crunchy and granola-y to people that we meet along the way. Do you feel that the Green Festivals and is it part of your mission that the Green Festivals are making green now more mainstream in terms of socializing it and democratizing it to the people of the United States and the world?
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: Absolutely. John, it’s not just about living vegan or vegetarian. That’s not what The Green Festival would like to do. We would just like to offer something for everyone in spring or in the fall in three days. We put together such a wonderful marketplace where everyone; vegan, non-vegan, non-vegetarian, meat lovers, can come and just taste and enjoy wonderful range and a variety of products and see that you do not have to sacrifice passion and joy for life because for me personally, it’s very important that things are tasty and enjoyable and you do not have to sacrifice anything and this is really what Green Festival is about. We have something for everyone, for every age and for every sector and category and that’s what’s so wonderful and thrilling about Green Festivals.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: I love that — something for everyone. That’s a great way of talking about The Green Festivals. Let’s give a little bit of shameless plugs to some of your great supporters and exhibitors. Can you share with our listeners who are some of your sponsors and supporters and upcoming exhibitors this fall so they can get a little taste of who they’re gonna see and who they’re gonna be exposed to at these great festivals coming up in Los Angeles in September, Chicago in October and San Francisco in November?
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: Absolutely. Well, of course I would like to see more and more best practice from our green brand sponsors of the Green Festival but we are very happy and very, very proud to have one of the best global green brands. For example, the Ford Motor Company is ranked as the second greenest global brand and we’re so thrilled to have them as a long-term partner and sponsor so you can come to our show. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a Ford test-drive with their hybrid and all-electric cars and of course, this is free of charge for all of our attendees and visitors and this is one of our highlights and I personally know that many, many people just enjoy doing that and experiential marketing is so important nowadays that you cannot just see what’s going on but also experience and then make a personal decision and next to Ford, we have also Clif Bar as an established long-term sponsor. There’s a wonderful brand called Mojo, wonderful trail mixes and bars, which are so easy to adopt for your own personal lifestyle, and Daiya foods. They have really good vegan pizzas. They’re just adorable, and also Rudy’s Bakery is one of our partners, and we have Organic Spa Magazine, Sierra Club, Mother Jones. We have so many exhibitors also contributing; Vegan Warrior and Kitchen Crest and Two Moms in the Raw. It’s just the time is too short now to mention the variety of our partners and sponsors and, John, what’s really important is to see what large companies showcasing their green offering, but also small exhibitors like small startups and companies who would like to showcase their product and this diversity is so important to the Green Festival.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: That is so nice. So, it’s big and small. It’s big, beautiful and amazing iconic brands like Ford and Clif Bar, and it’s smaller local companies and bakeries and food companies that are also innovating and are also well represented at The Green Festivals.
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: I would also like to highlight that Green is Good Radio is one of our new highlighted media partners for our fall shows in Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, John. This has been wonderful. Our whole team is just thrilled to partner with Green is Good Radio and to tighten our collaboration and to all the Green is Good listeners, we would like to offer a special promotion code. Go to our website, GreenFestival.org/tickets and you can enter a special code, GREENGOOD14, and it enables you to get the tickets for 50% off.
JOHN SHEGERIAN: Wow, that is so generous of you, and I have to say to you, Corinna, we are equally honored to be partnering with the Green Festivals. We hope this is for this year and for many years to come because the Green Festivals are really the premiere festivals in the world when it comes to sustainability and green living events and for our listeners out there that want to learn more about the Green Festivals, go to GreenFestivals.org or please come to Los Angeles or Chicago or San Francisco. LA is September 12th through the 14th. Chicago is October 24th through the 26th and San Francisco November 14th through the 16th and come to one of these great Green Festivals. Thank you, Corinna, for being a visionary sustainability leader. You are truly living proof that green is good.
DOCTOR CORINNA BASLER: Thank you so much, John. Thank you. I appreciate it.