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Green Expo attracts 3,000; 3 honored for green support

A Green Expo at the Prime Osborn Center in Jacksonville April 25-26 attracted approximately 3,000 visitors, says martinkabakiPurity Gikunju, co-founder along with her husband Martin Kabaki, of Growers Alliance Coffee, the event’s organizer. The first Green Expo was held last October; it is scheduled to occur every six months.

A highlight of this year’s event was recognition of an individual, a business, and a nonprofit organization that have supported green programs. Winners were St. John’s River Keeper (nonprofit), Nature’s Way Pest Control (business), and Terry DelValle, University of Florida Duval Extension office (individual).

This spring’s event attracted more than 120 venders who showed off organic and energy-saving products. Event visitors were able to drop off old batteries and electronic items for recycling, as well as used items for reuse by the Mission Harvest America. Those who arrived by bicycle experienced complimentary bicycle valet parking.

The Expo also featured a solar-powered car, a green movie screening, classes and workshops, and information on residential green building. Former Sen. George McGovern from South Dakota and 2008 2008 World Food Prize Laureate for his work promoting global school feeding programs was the guest speaker at the awards breakfast on Saturday.

Kabaki said he and his wife started the Green Expo because of their passion for the organic. “In our native country of Kenya,” he said, “food is grown organically. We wanted to bring an awareness of that here. The Expo is designed to help teach people how to go green.”

The couple, who emigrated from Kenya to the United States 10 years ago, are founders of Growers Alliance Coffee (www.growersalliance.com), which imports and sells organic coffee from Kenya, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. The beans are roasted in Jacksonville. The company sends part of its proceeds back to Kenya to support education and development.


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