Mosswood Park in Oakland is about to get hit with a heavy dose of youth driven freshness at this Saturday’s FreshFest 2010. Said to be a Green Festival for the people, the event is set to bring eco-sustainability and environmental awareness into an urban, community-oriented context.

A collaboration between Grind for the Green, Youth Movement Records, Livity Outernational Clothing, Global Exchange, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Oakland Green Youth Media Arts Center, and others, FreshFest is billed to be the largest youth led eco-music festival in the nation.

The FreshFest is the kick off event of the Get Fresh campaign which uses the hip-hop culture to inspire the next generation of leaders to reconnect to the earth, gain knowledge and take action to address environmental issues in their communities. The FreshFest is a unique eco-festival because it speaks directly to groups who have been traditionally left out of the mainstream eco-movement — the youth and communities of color.

According to Zakiya Harris, one of the main drivers behind Get Fresh, change begins with young people.

“Urban youth can benefit from awareness of their environment and education around sustainability issues. Get Fresh is about giving the youth access to information and knowledge about the best sustainable practices. We are lifting up solutionaries and highlighting the work of people of color across the country who are using culturally-relevant approaches to environmentalism.”

By using the ‘fresh’ aesthetic of hip-hop culture for awareness and action, and hip-hop to get the message across the youth have a new way to play an active role in creating change and being part of the solution in the environmental movement.

“We’re bringing back the old-school hip-hop concept of ‘fresh’ and adding an environmental, conscious twist to it. We’re basically saying, it’s fresh to be informed about environmental issues. Conscious lyrics are fresh, and so is organic, locally-grown produce and green fashion.”

And trust me folks, this kick off event is going to be FRESH. There’s going to be a fresh food pavilion featuring locally-grown organic produce, hands-on demonstrations, health and wellness activities, a kids zone, a hip hop competition, and a booth run by the youth of Global Exchange’s Environmental Service Learning Initiative (ESLI) which will showcase solar cooking, bike-powered smoothies and guerrilla gardening tips to green up your ‘hood.

Oh. It doesn’t stop there. There are special guests including NY hip-hop legend Pete Rock who will perform a solar-powered two hour DJ set, and West Oakland resident Boots Riley of the Coup will be hosting the show. Other beats and rhymes will be provided by local artists Erk Da Jerk, Nu Dekades, Do D.A.T., and Holly Saucy. Say word!

So, the only place to be this Saturday August 14th is at the FreshFest in Mosswood Park in Oakland from 12-6pm. Why? Because it’s fresh! And, most importantly because we are reminded that social and environmental justice begins with awareness of one’s environment. By combining eco-sustainability with conscious hip-hop, Zakiya says it

“…brings together the green world and the hip-hop world into one organic, progressive cultural movement. The hip-hop community is telling us, we’re ready to go green, and we’re not only listening, we’re helping them get there with FreshFest.”

My peoples. Believe it. Ain’t no festival as dope as this, it’s just so fresh, so green.

What: FreshFest 2010
When: August 14, 2010 12pm-6pm
Where: Mosswood Park, Oakland (MacArthur and Broadway)
$$$?: FREE

Hear Zakiya Harris speak to OaklandSeen about Grind for the Green.

“All those you teach, you change.

All those you change, change you.

The only lasting truth, is change.”

Back in June, Global Exchange familia Zakiya Harris of Grind for the Green and Get Fresh and Pandora Thomas of the Environmental Service Learning Initiative gave a TEDx talk in Denver, Colorado where they took the opportunity to share their vision of Sankofa.

The vision of Sankofa is based on the Ghanaian principle that is rooted in the belief that the past serves as the guide to the future. With the awareness that we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, Zakiya and Pandora are using the vision of Sankofa to reconnect communities of color to the earth and allowing and inspiring transformation of communities through environmental justice education.

Watch and be inspired by these powerful women as they share their stories around youth, earth, education and empowerment.

Want to hear more from these inspiring women? You can catch them at the Get Fresh FreshFest in Oakland August 14th. Dubbed the “Green Festival for urban residents”, the FreshFest will integrate “eco-awareness and eco-education with entertainment, making learning about green practices, programs, and careers fun, while promoting sustainability through recycled materials, biodegradable foodware, and organic food.” It is set to be the largest youth led eco-music festivals in the nation. Stay tuned for more updates on the ‘Fest.