You Guys, We Did It!!! It’s Official: Report From Earth Day 2014

May 7th, 2014 - filed under: Furthermore » Inspiration


Warning! Sappy sappiness and bountiful gushing are about to occur.

Starting here.

Before I even begin to launch into this celebration of a post, I have to stop, straight away, and say:


A few months ago, back in February, I put out a call for help. A fundraising effort that would allow me to bring a vegan presence to Santa Barbara’s Earth Day festival, to help people begin to make the connection between their food and the fate of our environment (for reference, here is my post from Earth Day 2013, which sparked this whole campaign).

And my goodness, you guys. You came through! The donations rolled in, some large and some small, and every single one so very much appreciated. And because of you, we were able to bring our message of “Eat Plants, Save The Planet!” to this year’s Earth Day festival. Because of your donations, we were able to: rent a booth to promote veg*nism as an integral part of environmentalism, to fill that booth with literature connecting diet to environmental impact (like this Meat’s Not Green leaflet – printed on recycled paper!), provide coloring sheet activities for kids (My Vegan Plate) along with cruelty-free crayons (most are not vegan and contain bees wax or tallow-derived stearic acid – the only widely-available vegan ones I know of are these), provide adorable vegan/cruelty-free message stickers for kids and adults alike, and allow me to print up three gorgeous, full-color, re-uasable infographic posters which clearly and concisely lay out the case for environmental veganism.

YOU made that possible. There’s no way I could have done it without you, so thank you all, from the bottom of my heart. And on behalf of the Earth and the animals. Thank you.


There’s so much to say about this event, I hardly know where to start. As you guys may remember, after the post I wrote last year, I was contacted by the director of the event (and assistant director of the Community Environmental Council (CEC), the awesome non-profit that coordinates SB Earth Day each year), and asked to come in and share my concerns with the crew. Which I did . . . with much trepidation.

But what I found was a group of people with open minds and open hearts, who were willing to listen and who were ready to make changes. Were they all going vegan? No. And that’s okay. What’s important is that they really understood that this is one piece of the puzzle – an important piece – and one that they wanted to include.

So I worked with the CEC here and there throughout the year, meeting with the assistant director, Sigrid, to offer my ideas and mull over the various issues they faced. I feel incredibly honored to have been asked to be a part of this process. I’m not quite sure what compelled Sigrid to reach out and invite me into this incredible community, but I will be forever grateful. Because the people I’ve met at the CEC, and through Earth Day, have inspired me – have lit a DAMN FIRE under my tail and in my heart – and may very well change the course of my life.

So thank you all, too.


The annual “Green Car Show” is the longest running show of its kind in the entire US, and the largest collection of efficient and alternative energy vehicles in California. Also, TESLA!

We had such an amazing time running our little booth, and I have to give a HUGE shout-out to the Santa Barbara Vegan Meet-Up group, who came through volunteering their time and (wo)manpower. Especially special thanks to Kirk, Alexandra + family, and Sam + the wunder-dog Miss Maya. It was so amazing meeting, connecting, and spending the weekend with you guys!

As for the event, there were many, many differences I saw between last year and this year. Most notably, there were no live farm animals (YAY!), and the only live animals I saw were the rescued and rehabilitated raptors over at the SB Wildlife Care Network (a great organization in its own right). There were also a few pooches up for adoption, and they enjoyed a day fully of belly-rubbin’ love. But other than that, no live animals. No animals for entertainment!

And this year, there was an event-wide standardized system for labeling concessions, from vegan to vegetarian, non-GMO to organic, and more. Every single vendor had their signage on display, clearly labeling each dish as well as offering their unique approach towards food, and the local farms that they favor. As well, every single vendor was encouraged to offer at least one vegetarian option. That was amazing!

The signs looked like this:

Those two things alone were such an enormous shift from the year before, that I could hardly believe how quickly and completely the change was made. And I wasn’t the only one who was impressed, not by a long shot. I spoke to so many people who noticed, and noted their appreciation, for the shift. Amazing!


And ooh! Ooh! Did I tell you about The Sexy Vegan??

As the year was progressing and I was working with the CEC, I floated the idea of inviting well-known/celebrity vegans to participate in the festival, since there’s multiple stages with all sorts of speakers and events going on for the full 2 days. They gave the green light, and I immediately thought of Brian Patton, AKA The Sexy Vegan, who I’d seen working his sexy vegan magic at Vida Vegan Con last year.

Long story short, I reached out to Brian, he agreed to donate his time, we had him up for a food demo/ukelele serenade, and he taught an audience of veg-curious non-vegetarians how to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet (and why our Earth would thank you for doing so). It was AWESOME, and Brian is charming and adorable and funny and did I mention charming? Plus he sings songs about bacon that make me swoon.



And now, since I know you’re wondering, about the food. If you’ll remember, last year I actually had to leave the event to get a vegan meal. But this year? DAY-UM. Behold:


Massaged kale salad with sacha inchi oil topped with veggies and raw cashew paté.

Quinoa tossed in Brazil nut oil, with raw veggies, golden berries, and sacha inchi nuts.


Fresh-pressed vegetable juice. // Organic non-GMO corn on the cob.

“Smoothie in a bowl” with orange juice + cashew milk + mango + maca, blended and topped with abundant superfood fruits and nuts.

And this wasn’t all! There was also Indian food (which we ate but none of the pics came out), artisan kombucha, superfood-spiked lemonade, locally-made gourmet popcorn, and an entirely locally-sourced beer garden! The food this year was incredible; delicious AND inspiring. Bravo!

The event was a full 2 days. 37,000 people came through. And we were there, planting seeds.

It was an incredible weekend, something that I was so proud to be a part of.


♥ These two ♥

This is Sigrid, the assistant director of the CEC and the woman who’s in charge of putting on Earth Day. And, the one who contacted me and and invited me in for a meeting, who was open to listening to some random chick on the internet, who invited me to join in the adventure that is Earth Day – invited me in with open arms. She is an amazing role model, a woman who has influenced and inspired me in ways I’m sure she doesn’t even realize. And I feel lucky to know her. Thank you Sigrid!

And now, just one final “thank you” before I’m done. To the person who I *truly*, but no really literally, could not have done this without. Jeremy is my rock, my cheerleader, my tireless worker. He is the one who sees my visions as clearly and as grandly as I see them, who always pushes to make things as amazing as they can possibly be. So thank you, my partner in adventure, in activism, and in life. Thank you for being so flippin’ awesome all the damn time. Thank you.

All three of us, bone tired but inspired, on the way home on Sunday night.

By the end of the weekend, I’ll admit it, I was physically exhausted. That was a LOT of work!

But on my insides? I am all lit up. Ignited. Ready for more.

This is only the beginning, I can feel it way down deep inside. Ya here that Earth Day 2015?! It’s just the beginning.

Let’s change the world!

♥ ♥ ♥

  • coconutandberries

    This post has me smiling ear to ear! You are such an inspiration Sayward. I know you’re thanking everyone else but YOU are the one behind all this and without you these changes wouldn’t have happened. It looks like such a fabulous event- genuine and powerful. I’m sure many many people left with seeds planted in their minds and hearts.
    Thank YOU for all you do.

  • Sonja

    wow, that’s soooo inspiring, Sayward! Thank you so much for sharing and for everything you do! You are my favorite blogger by far :-)

  • theveganchickpea

    YAY!!!! so happy to hear about the amazingness of earth day this year. all of the food looks fantastic and i wish there was a video of the sexy vegan in action! great work, lady!

  • Cara

    Congratulations on expressing your disappointment last year & following up with activism to correct the problems & improve the event for everyone. Well done! (It would be even better if those lovely meals were on non-disposable plates; even if everything is compostable, as you know, reduce is the first goal).
    That’s a minor thing, though, so great work!

  • Lynn

    Amazing!!! So proud of you!!!

  • Angie

    Congrats! What a great way to inspire and make change.

  • Angela

    Yay! I was waiting for this post. Thank you for being bold enough to discuss your concern’s about last year’s Earth Day fest and big time impact the way things were run this year :) I’m so glad the organizers were willing to listen.

  • Celena

    This is so so so amazing! Big congratulations! I live in Los Angeles and really hope to make it up there for next year. I actually just got married in SB on Monday (Cinco de Married!) so wasn’t able to make it up there the weekend before for the festival. Fair trade off, though. ;) Next year, baby!

  • vegyogini

    Congrats on such a successful event and THANK YOU for being the change you want to see in the world. Your voice, drive, and courage were the catalyst and the Earth is fortunate that the CEC heard your call. You are inspiring!

  • Bianca

    Yay!!! I’m so glad you (and all the generous donators) were able to veganize the Earth Day Fest!!!! It sounds like a great time. And all that food looks fantastic. And Brian is adorbs as always.

  • Amey

    Sayward!! CONGRATULATIONS! Good for you fore putting so much energy and thought into positive vegan activism, instead of just sitting back and complaining. I am SO impressed and moved by all your efforts!!! So many great changes in just one year! Also, I love the picture of Jeremy and Waits! adorbs!

  • Matt Ruscigno RD MPH

    Wish I could have been there!

  • Kendra

    Congrats on a great weekend! Thank you for all your hard work to promote a healthy vegan lifestyle! I can’t believe how much the event changed from last year and what a great way for you to network and hopefully help out with future events in the city to keep on promotin’!!!!

  • Lisa B.

    I’m rushing off to work, otherwise I’d try to leave you with a more thoughtful and inspired comment. But, when life gives you lemons…

    SO, what I will say is this: thank you for being an abundant source of inspiration. Posts like these, which illuminate your passion and drive, are totally contagious! I started a new job and there have not been a ton of vegan options at our lunches and in the break room (read: next to none). I’ve felt a bit less than encouraged and have had a few thoughts of “just taking a bite” to quell my hunger (damn those 13 hour work days, eh?). Reading your post reminds me of my core reasons for being vegan — it provides me with a renewed eye and greater energy to adhere to my ethical compass.

    So, thank you! Enjoy the week.

  • Katie

    Raaaaaaad Sayward! What a transformation, in so many ways. Big ups.

  • Christy Milford

    This is fantastic! Your excitement and passion are palpable and I wish I could have gone to such a great Earth Day festival here in NY. So glad you got to put your booth together and noticed such wonderful changes from last time.

  • Kelly H.

    Echoing all the previous comments. This is truly amazing, inspiring and fabulous on so many levels! Congratulations lovely lady!

  • Christie

    So Exciting! It was great to stop by and hang for a bit! I want to work on something for next year…..let’s get together and chat soon! Plus, Oliver needs some SuperVeganHero Waits time! :)

  • B M

    You are such a rock-star and inspiration. This is beyond amazing. There are no words. Oh except happy mothers day! Waits looks adorable with his new haircut :)

  • Kathi Vegana

    Sayward, you are such an inspiration! Thank you so much for everything you do!

  • ada amran

    I’m proud to be vegan…Let’s change the world!! Congratulations Sayward!!