The Green Living Show and NZ Organic Natural Expo takes place at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland on Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30.
What does it take to live a healthy lifestyle? The Green Living Show and NZ Organic Natural Expo aims to show people some of the ingredients for a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
For some people that means fitness, nutrition and weight management solutions, vitamins and supplements.
Other visitors to the ASB Showgrounds will be looking for different ways to build, travel, power their homes and workplaces.
There will be seminars on current affairs, trends, health and innovation, and experts explaining how companies can build a wellness programme to improve employee health.
There’s an Eco Chic Fashion Show, showcasing work from young designers, and big green toys like a Tesla Roadster, a battery electric sports car with a carbon fibre body that can go from zero to 100 km/h in four seconds with zero emissions.
Going green can be taken literally: an area of the Green Living Expo will be set aside for the Go Veg Boulevard, where people can taste samples and learn how to cook healthy vegetarian food.
There are sound ecological arguments for cutting down on meat consumption, even going vegetarian one or two days a week, if not completely.
It lowers one’s carbon footprint, reduces pollution, and saves energy and water.
One of the exhibitors will be Remuera New World supermarket, which carries organic fruit and vegetables on its shelves at similar prices to the conventional produce next to it.
Owner operator Adrian Barkla says sales have taken off, averaging $30,000 a week up from $1000 a year ago.
“I’m a bit of an organic nutter. I’ve always been interested in organics and I now have the ability to influence the market by giving growers demand to grow to and the confidence to grow a wider range of organic produce,” Barkla says.
He says making organic produce the norm rather than the exception will help New Zealand to improve on its clean green image.
“A lot of people go to their GP and get put on antidepressants.”
It also creates a larger market for organics, making it better for growers.
The supermarket will show a sample of its range of more than 400 organic grocery items and fresh organic produce, as well as serving up fruit, vegetable and wheat grass juice shots.
It will also sell a sample of Musical Knives takehome salads made by chef Peter Chaplin, who will be demonstrating ‘In the Raw’ at 1pm Saturday at the show’s live demo kitchen.
Throughout the two days of the Green Living Expo there will be free talks and demonstrations from designers, doctors, architects, chefs and other professionals.
General practitioner Helen Smith from the Auckland Holistic Centre will speak at noon on Saturday on natural options for women’s health.
“A lot of people go to their GP and get put on antidepressants. I look at ways to improve their mood and try to look underneath what’s happening. Are they missing any nutrients, and what do their blood tests say,” Smith says.
“I try to get people to eat whole foods, fruit and vegetables, and to look at the underlying nutritional factors. New Zealand soils are low in minerals like magnesium, zinc and selenium, and supplements may be needed.”
She’s been taking this approach for a decade, after tiring on the standard GP approach of reaching for the prescription pad after a quick consult.
The biggest decisions you are likely to make around sustainability and energy efficiency will be in what you do around your house.
The Ecobuild section of the Green Living show will include the latest in sustainable and natural products, services and technologies.
Whether you are renovating or building new, there are options to look at for solar panels, green roofs, insulation, double glazing, ventilation, composting systems and more.
One of the exhibitors, Nathan Edmondston from Hamilton-based MOAA Architects, says although there is a lot of information available, people may need dedicated professionals to filter the helpful from the hype.
“A lot of stuff people say is green may just have a green or eco name, and not actually deliver what it says,” he says.
MOAA is promoting the adoption of the German Passiv Haus standard, and is the only New Zealand practice to have completed and certified a house to the standard.
Edmonston says while not all clients will want to go for the full package, using the principles can cut a home’s heating requirements by up to 90 per cent.
“We try to design ultra-low energy buildings. We specify materials we think are the best available for the climate and the location.” The key to the Passiv Haus is airtight buildings, so heat is not lost through the cracks.
“It doesn’t mean you can’t still have the New Zealand house design with its porches and decks and indoor-outdoor flow.”
Edmonston says the result is a house that is warmer, drier and healthier to live in, without necessarily a huge cost.
“One we did in Raglan came in at just over $2000 a square metre.”
A challenge for the firm is working with councils to understand what they are trying to do. “New Zealand building codes are all about minimum standards, and we try to go beyond that. That is something we battle with. We are always pushing for improvements in what a building offers.”
BioGro will celebrate its 30th birthday at the Green Living Expo, making it one of the earliest organic certifiers still around.
Chief executive Dr Michelle Glogau says the mark was set up to help growers know what they had to do to be considered organic.
“The original standard was two pages. Now it’s a 10-volume book,” she explains.
“It’s one thing to say something is organic, but what does that mean in terms of the nitty gritty? To support it there has to be standards and certification in place to protect consumers and growers.”
The standard has changed immensely over the past 30 years. When it was set up most of the users were primary producers. Now people producing things to put outside the body, like lotions and potions, seek certification.
“There is no regulation about organic health and body care products, so increasingly manufacturers want certification to support their claims and give customers confidence.”
In other areas like viticulture it is going mainstream, with major producers like Villa Maria shifting to organic methods and seeking certification for specific vineyards.
That means Millton Wines, which holds BioGro trademark 99, is no longer a voice in the wilderness.
BioGro is a member of IFOAM, the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements.
Because there is no one international organic standard, BioGro accredits to several international standards bodies so its clients can export widely.