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Local Government Commission



An Energy Newsletter for Local Governments

SolFest 2003

SolFest 2003 is slated for August 23rd and 24th at the 12-acre Real Goods Solar Living Center in Hopland, 94 miles north of San Francisco, with plans to bring you the best ever weekend of incredible education mixed with fun.

SolFest - Sustainable LivingCome experience first hand the latest renewable energy technologies and healthy lifestyle practices. Meet kindred spirits working on the cutting edge of technology and future thinking to pioneer innovative solutions and sustainable lifestyles. Find out what's hot in renewable energy systems (such as solar roofing), learn about hydrogen fuel cells as well as efficient, environmentally sound building materials that will help you achieve your goal of walking lightly on the planet and becoming energy independent.

SolFest is a family affair with more programs and workshops for children added each year. The Central Oasis at the Solar Living Center features a fun zone where kids can cool off in the bubbling stream while learning about solar energy and the characteristics of life-giving water. The "flow-form," designed by Rudolph Steiner soothes the children's spirits while activating their imaginations. This year, children will paint a mural on a biodiesel school bus touring the country as well as create stepping stone mandala spirals around the Solar Living Center ponds. Activities and art projects that cater to their special brand of curiosity guarantee that parents will be able to stay as long as they like because SolFest is for children too.

SolFest 2003 highlights will include a special focus on alternative fuels including hydrogen and the increasingly popular biodiesel. In addition, workshop categories are expanding to include a designated Food and Farming series of informative one-hour presentations throughout the weekend.

In conjunction with the ecological Farming Association, SolFest will be facilitating a special Greening the Farm seminar on Friday, the day before SolFest. Farmers from all over the country will have an opportunity to learn how to transform their current fossil fuel based energy sources into renewable technologies. To learn more, contact the Ecological Farming Association at or call 831-763-2111 and ask for Lynn. Sponsorships for this unique collaboration are available and include a variety of seminar and SolFest benefits.

This year SolFest will help you get the tools you need to develop your own sustainable community with workshops and a panel of shared housing and intentional community experts.

Gracing the SolFest driveway this year, as attendees make their way to the central event area, will be the Foundation for Global Community’s Walk Through Time, a 90-panel display depicting the cosmological evolution of earth. The display was originally created by Hewlett Packard employees to give a context to their decision-making processes.

Speakers And Music

Keynote speakers this year include nationally acclaimed columnist and radio commentator Jim Hightower; author, activist and renowned eco-psychology pioneer David Orr (author of Earth Literacy and Earth in Mind) from Oberlin College in Ohio; Granny D (aka Doris Haddock), a longtime activist who received widespread recognition in 1999 for her walk across the U.S. at age 90 to draw attention to campaign finance reform; activist and author Starhawk just back from Israel and Palestine; environmentalist and activist Julia Butterfly Hill who lived on a 200-foot-tall ancient redwood tree for two years; actor Ed Begley, and Mollie Katzen, famed author of The Moosewood Cookbook. Also presenting will be Neil Rossmeissl, with DOE's Office of Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program, who has been working on hydrogen technologies and issues at DOE since 1993.

SolFest entertainers bring the message of sustainability to life in music, drumming, and drama. They remind us that living a sustainable life encompasses heartfelt expressions through the performing arts, too.

This year's entertainment include multitalented East Texas musician and songwriter Michelle Shocked, local folk legend Holly Near with pianist Adrienne Torf; balladeer extraordinaire Jim Page; Taiko drumming by Dance Brigade; danceable northern California festival favorites !Akimbo; the original flamenco jazz reggae music of Alma Melodioso; and a character created by former Solar Living Institute volunteer Lindsay Hassett, Betty Biodiesel; and more.

SolFest Workshops

With over 55 workshops on sustainable living and renewable energy, tons of delicious organic food, beer and wine, and up to 10,000 of your closest friends, this is an event not to miss!

Workshops during the SolFest weekend inspire and inform SolFest participants. Yearly surveys indicate that most attendees come to our event expressly for the workshops. Here is a sampling of workshops titles scheduled for 2003: Fuel Cells and Marketplace Challenges, Off-Grid Financing, Cob and Strawbale Construction, Solar Hot Water, Wabi Sabi for Westerners, Practical Hydrogen, Building with a Conscience, Bringing Nature Home and Save Money from Solar Tax Rebates. Many SolFest workshops are previews of year-round workshops offered by the Institute. Stay tuned. We’ll have our SolFest schedule available by July 7th.

This information came from the Solar Living Institute web site (

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