Greenlife has moved for 2012! We will be at the historic Julia Morgan North Star House In Grass Valley, Ca. June 23rd-24th with an al fresco Latin inspired farm dinner June 22nd, with SambaDa’ and Flamenco Del Oro. We hope you will join us once again.

Buy your dinner tickets by 6/21 – we won’t have any extra dinners available for people who show up!


This year there will be no entrance fee! We will also have lots of great speakers and workshops! We are now signing up vendors and sponsors. We have special rates if you sign up before Dec 31st! If you are interested in learning more please contact Lori Lachman at lori@greenlifeecofest.org or Lauraine Bacon at ecofest@abrighterimage.com

Green Life Eco Fest is a hands-on educational experience in Homesteading and sustainable living practices.

We all know the world is in need of a little TLC right now and so we would like to help facilitate the healing process. Of course, one get together isn’t going to bring about any major change, but by inspiring  people through education on how important it is that we all pitch in then it just might be a catalyst for change in people’s lives, no matter how small. By bringing non-profits, activists, community leaders, farmers, healers, energy specialists, green builders and green businesses together to share information on the latest technologies, consumer benefits, agriculture, food, local living home energy efficiency and more, we hope to foster ideas, connections and great conversation.

We aim to provide consumers with  the basic information necessary to make educated choices when creating a greener lifestyle through hands-on demos and inspiring motivational speakers. We want to lift people up by showing them the positive possibilities that are available and not bring them down with depressing statistics.

So join us, get your hands dirty, eat some great food, hear some great speakers and get inspired to create change and get involved in your community!

The GreenLife EcoFest – Ray Darby for The Union 5/26/11

I spent all of last weekend at the Fairgrounds attending the GreenLife EcoFest. Our company,
Sustainable Energy Group, had a booth there. I gave a talk on “Your Best Energy Saving Investment
Options” both days, and I displayed my all-electric vehicle as well. Since this was the first year of this
event, none of us really knew what to expect. But with the event behind us now, I can say it didn’t turn
out as I had expected, but in a really good way.

While my professional focus is sustainable energy, my personal interests include sustainable living.
The event turned out to be a rich and valuable experience for me, both personally and professionally.
Because the attendance was lower than many expected, I can imagine many people reading this column
weren’t there. So in the process of filling you in a bit on what you missed I’ll touch on what you can do
to make up for your loss.

Sustainable living means “meeting our needs today without compromising the ability of future
generations to meet their needs”. The first half of that definition is something so many of us, if not
most of us, are struggling with in this economy – meeting our needs today. And as far as the second
half, I’m sure the majority of us would agree that we wouldn’t want to compromise the ability of future
generations to meet their needs.

The problem is most people aren’t aware of the benefits that could improve the many challenges facing
them today, especially the economic ones. That’s a shame because if the general population were more
aware of the benefits of sustainable living to our own households we would be inclined to live more
sustainably. And that would not only help us all get by in this tough economy in the near term, but it
would also make a brighter future for our children and future generations in the long term.

Sure, I was hopeful we could sign up new prospects interested in a solar power system or a home
energy efficiency upgrade, and from that perspective the show was somewhat successful. But what I
hadn’t expected, and what really surprised, delighted and enlightened me, was the degree to which the
event benefited me both personally and professionally. I’ve never experienced anything locally that
came close to delivering anything like it.

For starters, the event gave me the opportunity to talk with all the other local purveyors of solar and
energy efficiency. Having delivered solar and energy efficiency solutions to Nevada County for over
30 years now, I’ve known, admired and respected these folks since day one. We’ve always had more of
a cooperative than competitive relationship, from sharing information and opinions about products, to
congratulating each other during good times, to crying on each others shoulders during hard times.
These are really good people, truly dedicated to helping improve people’s lives. The EcoFest reminded
me of a solar conference, wherein everyone comes away feeling energized, educated and enlightened.
So if it can be something like that for me, just think of what the average person could have got from it!

I also took time to walk around and talk to other vendors and exhibitors at the event. In the process I
got the latest and greatest insights into a wide variety of other sustainable living topics, from backyard
chicken coops to growing my own food, to a whole host of new products to make life more affordable
while also reducing my environmental impact. It refreshed my perspective and capability to live more
sustainably on every level. And, as a result, I’ll be saving still more money on a whole host of things in
the coming months and living a happier, healthier lifestyle too.

Now, to make up for your loss, you can still at least see who the local companies you missed talking
with, and being enlightened by, by going to the event web site.

This won’t come close to what you could have gained from being at the event, but at this point I
suppose it’s the next best thing. I wouldn’t miss next years event!

Lastly I should point out – admit, I suppose -that I’m not a big fan of the term “Green” (long story). I
wasn’t a big fan of the term “EcoFest” either when the event organizers were asking for input on
names. I was concerned that the name of the event might dissuade “Mr and Mrs Middle America”
from attending; that they might imagine the event would consist of nothing but a bunch of dread-locked
hippies, dancing around recycling containers to Reggae music. After all, sustainable living is for
everyone, not just “Hippies and Greenies”! So I was pleasantly surprised to see the vast majority of
people there were just regular folks, looking to find ways to improve their life for the better. And I’m
confident every one of them got what they came for!

Ray Darby is President of Sustainable Energy Group Inc., a Grass Valley company offering energy
efficiency and solar services for residential and commercial buildings, from comparing the alternatives
through installation and servicing of energy systems of all types. You can reach him at 530-273-4422,
via email RayDarby@SustainableEnergyGroup.com, or visit their web site at

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