San Diego EarthFest celebrates Earth Day with vegan meals, animal rights

Letitia Denham

On the on the inaugural EarthFest at Balboa Park Saturday, a vegan chef defined strategies for cooking tofu, distributors bought plant-based delicacies and animal rescue teams provided cats and canines for adoption.

In a altering of the guard for San Diego’s main Earth Day celebration, the corporate Vegan Meals Popup took on the Balboa Park occasion after the equally named San Diego EarthFair closed out its greater than 30-year run final 12 months.

“For the previous 31 years, San Diego EarthFair has utterly taken over Balboa Park,” mentioned Michelle Might, occasion director for the brand new pageant. “That ended final 12 months, so I had the chance to carry a unique occasion.”

The brand new pageant maintained an emphasis on sustainability, however with a unique scale and scope than the unique occasion. Since 1990, EarthFair took over practically all of Balboa Park and attracted greater than 50,000 guests with an annual parade and displays on zero-emission automobiles, environmentally themed artwork and methods to reuse and restore shopper items. That occasion was canceled attributable to price will increase, based on San Diego EarthWorks, which hosted the occasion.

“The important thing purpose is that current dramatic will increase in manufacturing prices (some attributable to COVID) have been greater than we may elevate in exhibitor charges and sponsorships,” the group’s web site acknowledged.

Thomas Sternsdorf, front, relaxes on a blanket as he and other people take advantage of the tree's shade during EarthFest.

Thomas Sternsdorf, entrance, relaxes on a blanket as he and different folks benefit from the tree’s shade throughout EarthFest at Balboa Park on Saturday.

(Hayne Palmour IV/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

This 12 months’s occasion drew an estimated 5,000 guests to a extra concentrated space on President’s Manner Garden throughout from the Air and Area Museum, with 120 distributors providing vegan delicacies, pure trend and sweetness merchandise and animal rights messages.

“We’re attempting to rejoice Earth Day with the zero-waste ethic, doing the least hurt as potential to the Earth,” Might mentioned.

She enlisted the nonprofit “Sustainability is Horny” to information distributors towards sources for sustainable plates, cups and utensils. The group will do a waste audit to calculate how a lot materials went to the landfill, in comparison with the quantity despatched to compost or recycling services, founder Liz Murphy mentioned.

Distributors within the packed meals court docket bought plant-based meals starting from vegan pastries and ice cream to Thai meals and falafel.

Brenda Avalos of Riverside attended the occasion with a good friend from San Diego, and sampled a platter of Kenyan meals together with greens, rice and veggies.

“There’s loads of meals I’ve by no means tried earlier than, vegan or in any other case,” she mentioned. “I do suppose the area is crowded.”

The crowding prolonged to parking services as properly, and a few guests spent hours attempting to exit the car parking zone reverse the garden later within the afternoon. San Diego Police responded to not less than one battle as drivers grew agitated through the wait.

Activists with the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Commerce shared data on their protests in opposition to using fur within the trend business, whereas Matt Lieurance, govt director of the Farm Animal Refuge in Campo invited EarthFest contributors to go to their facility, which homes rescued cows, pigs, goats, sheep, hen and turkeys.

“Lots of people have by no means met animals which might be meals animals,” Lieurance mentioned. “We would like folks to return on the market and meet a pig and rub its stomach and hopefully make some moral meals decisions after they depart.”

Some guests lamented the tip of EarthFair, in addition to the extra compact area the pageant occupied this 12 months.

“I’m disenchanted that Earth Day is just not as massive because it was, to draw extra of most of the people,” animal rights activist Ellen Erickson mentioned.

Kym Prince, chapter coordinator for Sea Shepherd San Diego, mentioned she thought is was an excellent begin for the brand new occasion.

“The hope is that this turns into larger and we will scale up,” Prince mentioned.

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