Veggies from Long Beach's urban farms on display at a Primal Alchemy dinner at TED conference in February. Photos by Sarah Bennett.
As the crowds gravitate to Downtown Long Beach for the high-octane party atmosphere that is Grand Prix weekend, a new eco-focused event will be taking place on Historic Old Pine Avenue. The Green Prix is a collaborative effort of several local organizations——including the Cultural Alliance of Long Beach, Green Long Beach!, Green Education Inc., Millworks, Leadership Long Beach and Downtown Long Beach Associates——to help promote local artists, businesses and farms that are trying to instill the idea of a more sustainable and environmentally friendly city.
Art galleries, live local music, demonstrations on farming techniques and a film screening about sustainability are some of the planned events. Mike Wylie, CALB Board President, whose organization will be showcasing green artists that use recycled materials as a medium, says that Green Prix appeals to anyone.
“I think whatever political persuasion you’re from, you [still] like clean beaches, clean streets and clean air,” Wylie said. ‘I think the community is very interested in how we’re going to achieve that.”
Wylie was instrumental in securing permits and land for the event like the Anderson Hardware Lot at 714 Pine Ave., where vendors, food trucks and even breweries will be promoting the green movement. There will be an outdoor stage where local acts like The Vespertines and Bus to Neptune will perform live music. People are encouraged to ride their bikes, not only because ev- ery Saturday is “Bike Saturday” with over 160 businesses offering discounts to two-wheeled patrons, but because a group ride is planned through the East Village and a free bike valet has been organized by Green Octopus Consulting.
Stella Ursua, President of Green Education Inc., says none of this could’ve been possible without the help of so many groups coming together and working as one. With a few small donations and the nominal fees charged to vendors, the event wont stand to make money.
However, Ursua is hopeful that going forward, the Green Prix might be able to secure more corporate sponsors to help fund then even in full. Still, she’s optimistic that despite being dwarfed by the Grand Prix’s marketing capabilities, the juxtaposition of demographics will lead to a good turnout.
The day’s events will conclude with a farm-to-table dinner prepared by chefs Paul and Dana Buchanan of Primal Alchemy in which they’ll look to highlight the fresh food that is grown daily right here in Long Beach. The multi-course, family-style dinner which will be both vegan and carnivore friendly, will be hosted outdoors in a vacant lot on Pine Ave. The freshness of his meals is something Chef Paul prides him- self on and he thinks that, with a little direction, the community could be inspired to eat locally.
“My whole life is not about the catering that I do,” Buchanan said. “Its not about my business. Its about educating people in a healthy lifestyle in Long Beach because this is the city where I live, a lot of the people I care about are here and these are the people that I want to affect.”
The dinner is one of the few things including the vendors and food trucks that aren’t free. Tickets for feast are $90 but freshness and the intimacy provided by eating something grown in your own backyard are things that Buchanan says supersedes the steep cost of admission. He also believes that participating in events like this could also serve as a conduit of change.
Art by Paul Hoag will be on display at the Bungalow Building during Green Prix.
“If a neighbor gave you an apple from his apple tree you would revere it ten times more than one that you bought at a market just because it was from your neighbor,” Buchanan said.”
Although in its infant stages, the Green Prix and its organizers are hopeful that the event is something that sticks and becomes a part of the city’s culture just like the annual display of speed and power that the Grand Prix has become. Ursua’s main ambition for those that attend the debut of Green Prix is simple.
“What we’d like them to walk away with is a better understanding of all the potential here in Long Beach for creating a more sustainable city,“ she said. “We’re bringing all these groups together to show residents that it is possible to have fresh, healthy food supplies...to reuse materi- als that might have ended up in the dump and to live a more sus- tainable life.”
Green Prix will be from 11AM-6PM on Saturday, April 20. For more info, visit facebook.com/greenprixlb