Green Gifts Fair slated for Nov. 17

Do It Green! Minnesota's upcoming Green Gifts Fair will feature demonstrations and educational activities on topics such as recycling and energy conservation. Photo courtesy Do It Green! Minnesota

The nonprofit Do It Green! Minnesota will hold its 13th annual Green Gifts Fair from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Nov. 17 at Midtown Global Market.

The fair will feature over 85 vendors offering local and sustainably crafted products such as Native American art and eco-friendly clothing. There will also be a silent auction, musical performers, family activities and educational demonstrations from organizations such as the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Recycling Association of Minnesota.

A $1 donation per person will be accepted at the door.

This year’s fair theme is “My Green Journey,” which Do It Green! Minnesota says was born out of a desire to empower fairgoers to embrace where they are in their “journey toward living more sustainably.” The organization also said it wants to give fairgoers an opportunity to find the next step for reducing their impacts.

Annika Bergen, Do It Green! Minnesota’s promotions and outreach coordinator, said the organization is trying to help people share stories about how different aspects of their lives have been influenced by becoming more sustainable.

“Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by how much information is out there,” Bergen said, noting that learning from someone or seeing something in person can make a bigger impression than reading something online.

She said the organization is trying to acknowledge not only that there are people doing sustainable things but also to show fairgoers ways they can lessen their impacts.

As part of the fair, the vendors had to write short summaries of their own green journeys, which can be found on Do It Green! Minnesota’s website ( The organization has also been asking people to share aspects of their green journeys, tips for going green and their favorite aspects of sustainability in the Twin Cities. Artist Lisa Troutman will take those stories and create a mural out of them during the event.

Educational presenters at the fair will include City Pages, which will be helping people create non-toxic cleaners, and Xcel Energy, which will have information on energy conservation and electric vehicles. Other educational presenters will feature information on topics such as pollinators, home solar, recycling, composting and bicycle repair.

Do It Green! Minnesota started the Green Gifts Fair to encourage Minnesotans to purchase durable, locally made gifts and to educate them on tips to reduce waste over the holidays, according to Bergen. The organization also works with hundreds of authors who have written more than 850 educational articles for its website and magazine.

The organization’s founder, Ami Voeltz, started Do It Green! Minnesota after returning from a stint living in Japan in the late ’90s, according to Bergen. Voeltz had noticed substantial packaging, clothing and electronic waste due to the lack of second-hand and reuse stores in Tokyo and began researching sustainable living. That led to the creation of publication of The Twin Cities Green Guide in 2000 and, eventually, the start of Do It Green! Minnesota, an all-volunteer organization.