Teens Turning Green Blog

Natural Products Expo West

The truth is… Teens Turning Green is able to advocate for the transition from conventional to conscious because of all the exemplary alternative products that sustain a new lifestyle. This weekend, thousands of brands, retailers and organizations like us converged in Anaheim, California for the annual Natural Products Expo West, the largest green products display in the world. It’s a time to connect with the leaders of this industry, with the brands that are setting the bar in this space, with many of our TTG student leaders and to meet the people that we all admire.

Each year our Project Green Challenge champion and runner-up join key members of our student advisory for three action packed days of learning, being inspired and having many opportunities to meet the people we read about all year – the leaders who are shifting our world from conventional to conscious.  I was really uplifted and transformed after interviewing Jody Villecco, global Quality Standards Coordinator for Whole Foods Market. She is a champion go-between among WFM consumers and manufacturers. Her work ensures that shoppers can trust that their safety has been considered before a product was placed on the shelf and removes the burden of research for many conscious consumers. In many ways her job picks up the slack left behind by deregulation in the personal care products industry and profit-driven manufacturers.

Below is this year’s official Expo Entourage with Aubrey Organics President, Priscilla DeFrancesco:


Expo reflections through the lens of our team!

“People will tell you no and that you can’t do something – just like they said the natural food industry can’t be scaled up. But just keep pursuing your passion because you never know one day you might wake up and be the CEO of Whole Foods.” – Megan Fuerst, TTG Student Advisory Board President
“One of the most inspiring people I’ve met at Expo is Jessica Shade. 
She has my dream job of working for an amazing company that lets the science speak for itself – The Organic Center.”- Jessica Hespen, Project Green Challenge 2014 Runner-up

Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs, The Organic Center and Ana Zabala, PGC 2014 Champion

“The most important thing I learned is that there’s no time to wait for the government to support sustainable agriculture. We need young farmers to sustain society. Who’s going to feed the world if there are no people growing food in the next generations?Revolution is being cultivated on organic farms, literally.”

~Ana Zabada, PGC2014 Champion

IMG_6617“One of most inspiring moments that I experienced this weekend was listening to the grandsons of Dr. Bronner, David and Mike Bronner, speak about the evolution of this magnificent company.  Their message and aspiration is so pure:  love and unity before profits. They practice the highest standards; organic, non-GMO, fair trade, HEMP (the most sustainable product on earth as a key ingredient across their brands).” – Megan Fuerst, Advisory Board President

“Susie Hewson founder of Natracare is a person who greatly inspired me this weekend. She was Project Green Challenge’s first sponsor, four years ago! I realized then that people like her, who truly believe in something and work tirelessly to affect change, are the ones who are to make that change happen. As a non profit, Teens Turning Green so lucky to have Susie, who really wanted to see us succeed and who believed that our work could and would make the world a better place. ” – Gabriella Copello, Vice-President Internal Affairs

“At Vital Hemp I learned about the different sources of hemp that companies use. Anything that requires hemp oils usually comes from Canada, and hemp apparel usually comes from the UK or China. This is apparently due to differences in soil, the hemp stalks in China are more fiber-y and suitable for clothing while the hemp that grows in Canada is better for extracting oils. Of course, it would be best to get the crop from within the states, but since it is still illegal under federal law, most companies don’t want to risk it with states that have it legalized.” – Megan Fuerst, Advisory Board President

“Seeing everyone united, energized, and willing to save the Earth at the outdoor, communal yoga class was very gratifying. Singing songs about happiness, love, the Earth, regardless of what role we all play in the industry, just fueled me for the rest of the day.”- Gabriela Copello, Vice-President Internal Affairs 

IMG_6576I think I can speak for all of us when I say we all left the weekend, geared (literally, we got so much gear!) up to continue to make change in our lives, communities and on our campuses.

Change the World. Please, and Thank You.     – Jenna xx

This entry was published on March 7, 2015 at 5:17 pm and is filed under Wear. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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