Each March, we return to Expo West, a bit anxious because the event can be so overwhelming. Paradoxically, even though the numbers of exhibitors and attendees increase every year (70,000+ this year), the event feels smaller and smaller, the faces more familiar.
Many of us come together in this temporary city of natural products (an increasing number organic) to share the fruits of our endeavors with the world, and to discover the contributions of others. Whether protein-rich chips made from beans (thanks Beanfields!) or drinks infused with superfood mushrooms (thanks Four Sigmatic!), we sample, we learn, and we acknowledge something beyond simple commerce: an idealism that spurs us to create something better than average—healthier for people and life on Earth.
Some of the folks you meet have been coming to the event for thirty years, when booths weren't so pricey, and it filled hardly a hall. Others come for the first time, blown away by the variety, and often becoming sick to their stomachs from an excess of sampling every yummy thing that’s there to taste. Some attend seminars on everything organic, or sponsored yoga classes, before returning to the world of commerce.
We gather at free concerts or benefit concerts (Thanks Michael Franti and Just Label It!), dancing and learning ways to support such vital projects as the labeling of genetically-modified foods. We connect at parties in penthouse suites, planning ways to collaborate, supporting each other and promising to visit booths the next day. And guess what? Many do.
So I write this letter in gratitude to all those who visited our Vital Hemp booth this year, and to those I met at any of the places I describe above. Thanks for sharing the love with us. We were so happy to hemp you out, and look forward to whatever ways we can work and play together to co-create a greener, more vital world.