Photos: Josh Withers; Jack Gorlin; Outside Lands 2018
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It’s that time of year again! An outstanding local and global audience is soon to descend on a transformed Golden Gate Park to partake in another epic Outside Lands weekend; a veritable tasting menu with food, wine, beer, cocktails and cannabis from some of Northern California’s best and brightest purveyors. Not to mention the 75 acts taking the stage to perform, including headliners Blink 182, Twenty One Pilots, Childish Gambino, Paul Simon and more. This year come for the music, stay for the green…

Over the next 10 years, Outside Lands is determined to deliver a zero-waste, carbon-neutral and environmentally low-impact experience. Located inside the Outside Lands grounds, Eco Lands embodies this spirit of consciousness, community and sustainability. It’s a place where you can discover great nonprofit organizations, learn more about the importance of locally-sourced flowers in Flower Lands and support family farms with healthy snacks at the Farmers Market. Stop by August 9-11 to learn how you can make a difference.

Photo: Andrew Jorgensen; Outside Lands

You’d have a hard time finding someone who knows Eco Lands better than Morgan Fitzgibbons. As the Director of Sustainability and Community Engagement, he’s played an important role in making Outside Lands an industry leader in environmental awareness and sustainability. Here, we learn more about Eco Lands, Flower Lands and what makes Outside Lands special.

For those who haven’t experienced it before, what is Eco Lands?

Morgan Fitzgibbons: Eco Lands is the part of the festival that has the most direct focus on sustainability and community. The foundation of Eco Lands is our nearly 20 amazing nonprofit partners that each produce an experience at a booth around the Panhandle stage. On top of that foundation, we’re extending our mission through other programming like Sober Lands, Flower Lands, a group bike ride to and from the festival each day, and introducing a community-focused scavenger hunt last year, Ranger Dave’s Junior Ranger Training Program.

Photo: Josh Withers; Outside Lands

How do you choose the organizations that set up shop in Hellman Hollow?

MF: We have a strong focus on organizations that are unique to San Francisco and the rich tradition of environmental advocacy and social change here in the Bay Area. For an organization to be invited into Eco Lands, they have to a) do amazing work in the world, and b) produce a fun, dynamic experience at Outside Lands. We’re not interested in organizations that just want to sit behind a table and have you sign up to their email list.

Flower Lands is a relatively new experience in Eco Lands. Why is it important to buy local flowers?

MF: Most people don’t realize that the vast majority of flowers sold in the United States are imported from abroad. Over 75% of flowers sold in the U.S. come from Colombia alone. So it’s a hugely global industry and the system required to get a stem cut from the savannah outside of Bogotá to your kitchen counter before the flower wilts is incredibly energy intensive. Not to mention the ills of the lax labor and environmental regulations abroad. Meanwhile, we’ve had a whole floral industry here in the U.S. decimated in the 25 years since the passage of the global trade deals that facilitated this shift. People maybe think about trying to buy their food locally, but buying local flowers hasn’t really penetrated. There are some wonderful local growers that we work with through the North Bay Flower Collective who grow beautiful flowers and are amazing designers. Support your local flower grower!

Photo: Ryan Mastro; Outside Lands

You could say Flower Lands has really blossomed over the years. (Pun intended.) How will it continue to grow in 2019?

MF: Outside Lands has always been at the forefront of sustainability on the festival scene, but, as we get into our second decade, we’re really looking to double down and become the unquestioned global leader in large-scale event sustainability. That involves looking at every element of the festival and a lot of long-term thinking, but, for 2019, we’re uniquely positioned to highlight the value of sourcing flowers locally. Flowers have always been an important and powerful motif for Outside Lands, and we’re looking to emphasize that even more by empowering our Flower Lands team to extend their design talents and floral touches beyond the confines of the Flower Lands area in Eco Lands.

Check out the complete Outside Lands interview with Morgan Fitzgibbons at https://www.sfoutsidelands.com/news/inside-eco-lands-with-morgan-fitzgibbons/.Additional Photos: Tom Tomkinson; Jeremy Cohen; Virginia Cortland; Ryan Mastro; Outside Lands

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June is when we find ourselves at the tail end of WOOD’s spring fever and tantalizingly close to the start of summer and FIRE’s heat and chutzpah.  Adventure this time of year includes all kinds of outdoor activities, ranging from soft and sublime to bold and potentially punishing.

Nowadays, many sophisticated travelers seek heart-racing action on their trips – from whitewater rafting to mountain biking to scuba diving with sharks. Pushing one’s physical limits not only recharges the personal batteries, but also comes complete with drop-dead-gorgeous scenery, new friends and memories to last a lifetime. Luckily, when it comes to all of the above, Africa’s cup runneth over.

Photo: 2018 Serengeti Girls’ Run; Singita

Which is why we are thrilled to hear that eco-elegant outfit Singita has just announced that entries for the 2019 Serengeti Girls Run are officially open! The exclusive, purpose-driven experience is aimed at raising funds for empowerment programs for girls and women in Tanzania that are focused on providing opportunities for women to become leaders in conservation.

Taking place October 25-30, 2019, the philanthropic adventure includes five all-inclusive days at Singita Sabora Tented Camp and a run that will see participants complete 13 miles daily over three days, traversing some of the most iconic wilderness areas in Africa. The multi-stage event invites runners of all levels to cross the vast plains in Singita’s private concession in the western corridor of the Serengeti, where they’ll encounter an abundance of wildlife and breathtaking scenery at every turn.

Photo: 2018 Serengeti Girls’ Run; Singita

Known as a dedicated conservation brand, Singita has been preserving African wilderness for the past 25 years, with 14 luxury, award-winning lodges and camps across five regions. Its Singita Sabora Tented Camp is an intimate 1920s-inspired explorers camp that embodies the magic of a bygone era. Featuring opulent chandeliers, Persian rugs and bowls filled with fresh roses, it provides a space for the runners to rest and recuperate at the end of every day.

Photo: 2018 Serengeti Girls’ Run; Singita

The all-women Serengeti Girls Run is part of Singita’s signature collection of conservation safaris called “Safaris with a Purpose,” and is held in partnership with the Grumeti Fund to support the empowerment of girls and women in rural Tanzania. Each runner’s participation includes a donation designed to assist in funding numerous nonprofit initiatives, including scholarships for local girls in secondary school, vocational studies and university; training girl mentors and providing life skills and internships; as well as enterprise development training for women and environmental education for girls from local secondary schools.

Photo: Singita Sabora Tented Camp; Singita

Runners are accompanied by expertly trained, experienced anti-poaching scouts from the Grumeti Fund, who’ll keep an eye out for curious animals, while a support team in a shadow vehicle will be on hand to take care of their safety and comfort. The Grumeti Fund is a nonprofit organization carrying out wildlife conservation and community development work in the western corridor of the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania. 

More than just luxury by night and the run of a lifetime during the day, the Serengeti Girls Run offers participants various opportunities to engage with the women who benefit from these programs. The day after their arrival, guests can join girls from the local community on a short 2-mile fun run, followed by a career fair where they can share their own inspiring stories with hundreds of girls from neighboring villages.

Photo: 2018 Serengeti Girls’ Run; Singita

During the five-night itinerary, the participants will also visit the Grumeti Fund’s Environmental Education Center, which hosts week-long courses for local students on conservation and minimizing our impact on the Earth, as well as an opportunity to meet the Fund’s anti-poaching team to find out how they preserve and protect the region’s critical ecosystem.
This year’s event will take place from October 25-30, 2019. To book your place, email Katherine Cunliffe, info@grumetifund.org or visit: https://spark.adobe.com/page/Vjz62315LRb1I/.

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