OCEANSIDE — More than 600 people showed up at Buccaneer Park on April 23, ready to clean up their community and celebrate the planet at the city’s annual Earth Festival.
This is the first year that the Earth Festival has welcomed in-person visitors since the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the festival was held virtually.
About 600 people showed up at 9 a.m. when the event started and the community cleanup project began.
“Everyone took bags with them and went out into the community to pick up trash,” said Colleen Foster, the city’s environmental officer. “We had groups cleaning all the way from the pier and from Loma Alta to Buena Vista Creek.”
Before the pandemic, the 12-year-old festival was held downtown, drawing much larger crowds. The intention for this year’s festival was to downsize and focus on hosting a community event for local families.
“It feels more local that way,” Foster said. “Next year we may be having several small festivals in city parks instead of one massive event where people can come and clean up the neighborhood and enjoy our parks and beaches while celebrating the Earth. “
A handful of local eco-friendly nonprofits, city programs and local entrepreneurs showcased their work throughout the festival with activities and crafts for young children and families.
The Plot, a plant-based, zero-waste restaurant in Oceanside, served ceviche de la tierra, a plant-based sushi, at the festival. Much of the restaurant’s produce comes from its own garden adjoining the restaurant, and all of its “meat” products are made entirely with plants – like its spicy tuna made from chickpeas or its sausage and chorizo made from rice. wild and lentils.
“Everything is made from scratch and nothing goes to landfill,” said Jessica Waite, co-founder of The Plot.
Suzanne Hume and John Bottorff also showed up with the Sierra Club to represent their own local nonprofit, CleanEarth4Kids, which in recent years has extended its roots from Oceanside to work with people around the world in England, in Greece and beyond to defend clean air and water for all. The group strives to protect air, water, children’s health and the environment as a whole through education.
“There are a lot of smart people doing amazing work for the future,” Hume said. “We all have to get on board.”
The group plans to speak at the Oceanside City Council meeting on May 4 with demands to stop spraying pesticides, refuse chemical storage near elementary schools, stop burning wood on city beaches and more.
Oceanside’s Earth Festival is hosted by Green Oceanside, the city’s environmental services and programs that teach residents and businesses how to be good stewards of the earth through watershed protection, water efficiency water, zero waste efforts, climate action and energy conservation.
Beyond Earth Day and the Earth Festival, Foster encourages everyone to clean up the trash lying around whenever they visit a local park or beach.
“Every little bit counts,” Foster said.