climate in crisis

San Francisco's Earth Day Festival is Back in Person

After a two-year hiatus during the pandemic, San Francisco's Earth Day Festival is back in the Mission District.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Valencia Street in San Francisco is blocked off from 19th and 20th Streets for the city's Earth Day Festival which is back after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. The event lasts from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is expected to draw in thousands of visitors.

Co-producer MonaLisa Wallace explained the festival is a volunteer-led street festival that's gone on for about 10 years.

"It’s really important especially here in San Francisco because as you know all the politicians here speak the rhetoric," Wallace said. "They’re all speaking the rhetoric of climate change. But what are we actually doing about it?”

This year, Wallace explained, the festival is going entirely vegan for the first time. She is hoping that attendees get a chance to see how tasty --and impactful-- plant-based foods can be.

“By being vegan for a day or even a meal it can really impact the earth, so that's what we’re really educating on today,” she said.

One of the vendors at the festival is the company Nixta. Gabriel Ventura is with Nixta and explained that all the food he makes, including pupusas, are vegan. He also makes vegan nacho cheese using ingredients like potatoes and carrots.

"It's a beautiful day and it's a great opportunity for people to know us," Ventura said.

Kids attending the festival told NBC Bay Area they are excited about all the food options. But many also shared that they are anxious about the planet.

“When I think about climate change I feel that, this is something that needs a lot of work,” said 11-year-old Haraldaur Johnson of Oakland.

Johnson said that being at the festival is one small thing he can do to express his care for the Earth.

"And doing stuff little by little, it helps," he said. "All the little things build up into something big.”

9-year-old Paul Mapa of San Francisco shared that he's anxious about the future when he thinks about how many people are littering.

“For Earth Day, I want you guys to not pollute the ocean, and really take care of your earth because Mother Earth is the only planet we got right now," Mapa said.

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