Thousands Gather at Balboa Park for Earth Day

Photo Courtesy:

Cassidy Bartolo, Staff Writer

The city of San Diego united for its 29th Annual Earth Day celebration at Balboa Park on April 22 providing opportunities to everyone to learn about all things sustainability.

The park was filled with festival attendees, vendors and also protestors sharing ideas all about coming together for good causes- despite the protesters of course who riled up the crowd with their divergent views from the rest of attendees.   

Beer gardens to vegan burritos to cannabis village, there was something for everyone taste buds. As for rest of the festival, it was lined with organizations and businesses raising awareness for their cause. Animal preservation groups, herbal medicine, nudist associations, species restoration, natural products, recycled food and many diverse causes joined together to educate the public.  

Aryanne Mustafa with Soul Much Cookies gave out free samples of their recycled cookies to people while explaining their brand.   

“Our goal is to reduce food waste so we partner with local juice bars to make our product,” Mustafa said.

The company uses leftover juice pulp and  excess grains for flour to produce recycled food cookies that are tasty and good for the environment. One cookie from Soul Much is one pound of diverted food waste.   

Jamie Mckeown with Wishgarden Herbal Remedies proudly explained the female and family owned business that strives to bring herbal medicine to the mainstream public. Their goal is to have people replace their over-the-counter medications with natural remedies for things like allergies, headaches, sinus pressure and much more. Mckeown explained that “plants were put here by nature so we must use them.”

More unique groups like the American Association for Nudist Recreation welcomed people to learn more about nudism and “getting back into nature” as 50-year-old member Claudia Kellersch stated. Hot springs, skinny dipping, nature walks and organized events is how the members stay active and are have the upcoming Nude Bike Ride in Los Angeles.

The Nudist Association also stands by liberating diverse women to break free of their social barriers. “Nudity is an equalizer to take down artificial barriers so we can’t see social class physically,” Kellersch said.   

Cannabis Village was bustling with people making friends, trying free samples and getting involved in their local businesses. There were CBD infused animal treat companies, tea, beer and of course medicinal and recreational marijuana businesses. Flow Kana was one of those companies who thrived on their mission to provide customers with a “seed to sale” service so buyers from the start know where their weed is coming from and exactly what kind and how much they’re receiving.   

23-year-old attendee Katie Metcalfe said , “I like the eco-friendly and natural products, but I’m really looking forward to the cannabis village.”  

While the village was staying busy, so were the protestors nearby who came to proclaim their religious views drawing much attention from upset and shocked attendees. Peter Chan, an annual earth day attendee, said that they protesters added “juxtapose.” The crowd was still able to poke their fun and continue on with their busy earth day.  

Peter Chan who did his part in sustainability by selling his car years ago and biking everywhere he goes, including the festival. “I come here every year, but everyday is Earth day to me,” Chan said.  

Balboa Park also had two stages for local artists to perform with one of them being dedicated to children and earth day education. In addition to local businesses filling the walkways, many conservational organizations and people were teaching the public about how they can do their part and learn about causes affecting the planet that they hadn’t been aware of. The crowd was diverse in its people, ages and interests but everyone came together for one thing- our planet!