New Hope Network and The Organic Center partners to create the Organic Park at final Expo East show in Philadelphia

The final Natural Products Expo East show hosted by New Hope Network featured the Organic Park for the second year in a row. This year, in partnership with The Organic Center, the Organic Park showcased a smattering of science-fair-type exhibits for visitors to engage with as they meandered through the indoor park-like setting.  

At the heart of the park sat an interactive soil health display with live plants growing in glass terrariums that allowed visitors to observe how root growth and soil life differs with the diversification of above-ground plants. Guests had the opportunity to plant their “messages to the land,” with their intentions written on seed-paper and placed in soil. This display was thoughtfully and masterfully created by local Philadelphia-based Chef Laquanda Dobson and her team. 

Shading the walkways of the Park were trees built by local artist Kate Dodd, who used recovered plastic to create 12-foot-tall trees that resembled lungs and airways. The trees were designed to initiate a conversation about Covid-19 and the role that plastic plays in public health. The Organic Center’s Organic Confluences Conference 2023 focused on the reduction of plastic in the organic supply chain as organic leads the conversation about the need to reduce plastic from our agricultural and food streams.  

LIVE BEES were brought to the Organic Park by the generous Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, whose members took shifts to manage the bees in their observation hive and share information with onlookers who were curious to learn more about beekeeping and how to protect honeybees in our gardens and agriculture. It’s no surprise that organic practices can boost honeybee health and immunity when harmful sprays are removed from the equation, and when farmers plant a diverse array of crops and non-crop flowers to offer bees a diverse and healthy diet.  

Organic Voices exhibited material from their award-winning advertising campaign "Skip the Chemicals" that cleverly demonstrates just how many chemicals are allowed in conventional food and farming (there are a lot- over 700 actually!) One can skip all those chemicals-- reading them, saying them, writing them out in cake icing, etc. if they just go with organic. 

The science-fair exhibits featured a handful of ongoing and past research projects that The Organic Center has facilitated and communication products like reports and informational videos that are used to communicate science-backed benefits of organic to consumers. A happy hour with food and drinks took place halfway through the show and a scavenger hunt with big prizes encouraged visitors to engage with the science exhibits and sponsoring brand booths to learn more about the benefits that organic has to offer.