Highlights and Words of Wisdom at EPIC: The Sustainable Living Expo 2011

Sustainability was the word at EPIC 2011.

Credit: futurestreet

Fashionistas, foodies, fair trade experts and fish lovers talk sustainability at EPIC 2011


Hundreds of people attended EPIC: The Sustainable Living Expo this weekend. They listened to guest speakers, wandered through the crowds, nibbled on organic treats, sipped on beer, wine and fair trade coffee, browsed handcrafted clothing and jewellery and discussed sustainability.


(Image: EPIC) Wine tastings at EP!C this year


So what does sustainability mean to those at the forefront of the movement in Vancouver? Granville Online was at EPIC taking in the atmosphere and talking to Vancouver’s environmental movers and shakers about their views on what it means to be sustainable; in business and in everyday life.


Fair trade gold at EPIC this year

(Image: Hume Atelier) Fair Trade Gold at EPIC


Genevieve and Kevin Hume of Hume Atelier were at EPIC this year raising awareness for their fair trade gold wares. Genevieve believes that a more sustainable lifestyle means “being mindful of the decisions you make and the ripple effect that they will have both across the globe and in the future.”


Kevin Hume is one of the few jewellers in Canada using fair trade gold and as a jewellery studio, Hume Atelier focuses on, “Building pieces that have the potential to become heirlooms. We don’t want to encourage disposable consumerism.”


Mike McDermid talks Ocean Wise and sustainable seafood at EPIC

Mike McDermid speaks about sustainable fishing and consumerism at EPIC. (Image: Lauren Wilcockson)


Mike McDermid, from the Vancouver Aquarium, gave an information talk at EPIC about the Ocean Wise program and fishing practices: the good, the bad and the ugly.


McDermid says: “There are a number of ways to affect change—our focus is on the consumer and their ability to vote with their wallets.” He explains that, “Ocean Wise makes it easier for people to be part of the solution.” It does so through guides to sustainable seafood and sushi and the very handy Ocean Wise symbol which highlights the best seafood options on the menus of participating restaurants throughout the city.


McDermid’s top 5 picks for delicious sustainable seafood in BC:

• BC spot prawns
• Dungeness crab
• Pacific halibut
• Farmed mussels, scallops, oysters, clams
• Sable/black cod



 Wild Rice Chef Todd Bright cooks up a storm on the Epicurean stage


Chef Todd Bright’s epic dish: House-smoked coho salmon with ginger pickled cucumbers on wonton crisps. (Image: Wild Rice)


Todd Bright from Wild Rice Vancouver was at the Epicurean stage this weekend working his magic for the crowds.  As a member of Ocean Wise and Green Table, Wild Rice is an awesome example of an environmentally active restaurant.

Todd Bright cooks for the crowds on the Epicurean stage. (Image: Lauren Wilcockson)


When asked about sustainability and the challenges for restaurants Bright said: “I think one of the biggest challenges to the restaurant industry is that it’s more costly for a restaurant to make sustainable choices than not. For example, it costs triple the price to buy local in-season organic vegetables than to buy them imported from Mexico or the US.”


Pure Magnolia show off their new collection of green wedding dresses

Pure Magnolia: Vintage polka dot dress with silk and organic cotton. (Image: Lauren Wilcockson)


Designer and creator of Pure Magnolia wedding gowns, Patty Nayel wowed crowds at EPIC this weekend with her new Garden Collection. Nayel is passionate about being a eco-friendly designer.


“What I love the most about sustainable fabrics are their unique textures and weaves. Each fabric tells you a story about who grew the fibers, the pickers and processors, and especially the person who wove it together,” says Nayel.


Fair trade coffee, fair trade gold and now soccer balls

James Milligan advocates fair trade sport at Epic this year. (Image: Sasha Caldera)


A year ago, James Milligan started the Vancouver-based business Social Conscience Fairtrade Sports Balls, which imports fair trade sports balls with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty and exploitative labour.


Milligan says that, “Sustainability, particularly in the context of my sports balls, means a sustainable approach to labour practices. The fair trade model ensures people are paid fairly, both as an organization with preset minimum prices for their products, and as employees who are guaranteed a fair wage rate.”


The Ocean Gybe crew speak about plastic pollution in our oceans

Bryson Robertson tells the crowds at EPIC about the plastic migration. (Image: Lauren Wilcockson)


Ryan and Bryson Robertson and Hugh Patterson gave a candid and inspiring talk at EPIC this weekend about Ocean Gybe, their project which saw them circumnavigate the globe on a sailboat to raise awareness for plastic pollution in our oceans.


After finding thousands of plastic drinking bottles on the beaches of tiny islands all around the world, they encouraged the crowd at EPIC to give up disposable plastic bottles. Their message is that plastic is not evil, the way we use plastic is the problem.


Creating smarter consumers: The measure of EPIC’s success

Once again EPIC was able to present its audience with plenty of information to ponder and process—the conference did a great job presenting ideas that could shape the future of the planet.


Nancy Wright, Chief Executive of EPIC, says, “People will never stop consuming—it’s unrealistic. However, they can consume less, and they can be smarter about consumption. If every visitor discovered even one new local company creating innovative products and services that are healthier for their body and for the environment, I think we’ve been successful.”