Festivals, Concerts, & Events

Here at Autonomie Project, we are gearing up for a really exciting festival. The GreenLife Eco-Fest is a two-day weekend festival nestled in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Foothills in Northern California (about 2.5 hours from San Francisco).  We are especially excited about this one, as a lot of big names are attached to speak and one of our founders, Gina, hails from the foothills.  Having this big of a festival in the small, but quaint town of Grass Valley is really great, especially since it is a zero waste celebration of all things green! 

As we mentioned, there are some big name speakers coming that we can’t wait to hear. Some we are most looking forward to include John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution, Michael A Bedar  producer of the film, Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days, Allison Cook of the Story of Stuff, and Dr. Kevin Danaher co-founder of Global Exchange/Green Festivals and writer of Building the Green Economy : Success Stories From the Grassroots. And on top of these lovely speakers and more, there is some absolutely great workshops, such as: Growing Mushrooms, Biodynamic Gardening, Natural Building, Green Energy, and Reading GMO Labels.

If that wasn’t enough of a reason to hike up to the foothills, there will also be FREE bike tune-ups given by People Powered Alliance, a clothing swap, and the Haute Trash Fashion Show which is fashion made out of “trash.”  If you love shopping there will also be about 120 green and eco vendors, including yours truly.  And don’t forget about awesome healthy food vendors and music. Really, this festival sounds like one big green party, but not the political kind.

If you are in the area or would like to take a beautiful drive/train ride through the California foothills, come stop by! If you come to our booth, you can check out our NEW products such as eco-friendly, Fair Trade dog toys and leashes! We promise you won’t regret it. Hope to see you there!

When: Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd & 24th. 10am-7pm with music until 9pm on Saturday

Where: North Star House, Old Auburn Road, Grass Valley, CA

Cost: Free! $5.00 for workshops and $20 for all day speaker pass

Why: Because it’s going to rock!

It is rare that a day unites activists, environmentalists, consumers, farmers, and workers all over the globe. However, a day such as this will commence this Saturday, May 8th. World Fair Trade Day is celebrated every year on the second Saturday in May and always carries a theme. This year’s theme is titled A BIG DAY FOR THE PLANET, in hopes of melding the ideas of Fair Trade with sustainability. The founders hope this day will draw attention to Fair Trade and hopefully people will begin to ask questions about who makes their products, where they are made, and how they are made.  Fair Trade is a viable ethical alternative to conventional products that might not pass the ethics test of the previous questions.

World Fair Trade Day events are occurring all over the world and we are really excited about this year! This year we have conquered a milestone in Boston. Our Fair Trade Boston coalition, of which Autonomie Project serves on the committee, is very close to declaring Boston an official Fair Trade City! Yesterday, May 5th, Boston City Council passed an official Fair Trade Resolution!!! This is groundbreaking and historical for our little city on a hill and we are not only excited and inspired, but proud to be directly involved in the efforts. However, we still have a little more work to do, as we need only 40 more institutions providing Fair Trade products to meet the Fair Trade Towns criteria. We are on a race to beat New York, and hope to accomplish it! If you your church, organization, school, or hospital has Fair Trade products, please contact us directly or Fair Trade Boston!

On top of this wonderful achievement with the Boston City Council, here in Boston we have a pretty exciting event planned. Fair Trade Boston is hosting a Fair Trade Crawl! Businesses all over Boston are holding separate events including some with live music, henna tattoos, Fair Trade giveaways, and scavenger hunts. There is a Fair Trade Crawl card highlighting all the participating businesses and each business you visit, you get a punch on your card. If you get four or more punches you receive a gift of discounts and are automatically entered into a raffle where you have the chance to win amazing prizes donated by Equal Exchange, Ben & Jerry’s, and of course AP!

To no one’s surprise Autonomie Project is participating in the crawl. We have partnered with Ben & Jerry’s on 174 Newbury Street. There will be live music, Fair Trade ice cream samples, and if you buy a pair of our NEW Fair Trade Flip Flops you will receive a free Fair Trade ice cream cone! We are really excited, so if you are in the Boston area, please stop by from 10-3.

So what if you are not in Boston? Don’t worry there are plenty of local events happening all over the country and world. You can find an event in your neck of the woods on the World Fair Trade Day site. Whether you are in Boston or not, we hope that you are able to participate in the 2010 World Fair Trade Day! It is important to bring awareness to the standards and ideas of Fair Trade as well show the world the demand for such products! As consumers we have the power to make sure our choices are better for the people and for the world. Together, we can do it!

The earth is what we all have in common,” once stated the famed writer and farmer, Wendell Berry. And he is completely right. Historically speaking, humans and animals have found reasons to become intolerant and draw lines, but one thing we cannot deny is our commonality of Mother Earth. This message is imperative during these trying times of increasing Climate Change and after years of manmade pollution has plagued our planet. Today marks a particular day of importance for our planet, Earth Day and in particular Earth Day is celebrating its 40th year!

The very first Earth Day was planned by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 as a national teach-in for students and the country to call attention to the environmental movement and as a protest against current policies.  The idea sure stuck, as students around the country, some 20 million, gathered together to draw attention to the environment, mainly focusing on the pollution of air and water. Since that fateful day in the year of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Jimi Hendrix’s death, and the Kent State Shootings, Earth Day has continued to grow. In fact, many people point to this day as the onset of the modern environmentalist movement. The original Earth Day and the proceeding public outcry led the federal government to create the Environmental Protection Agency  that same year and influenced the passage of groundbreaking acts such as the Clean Air, Clean Water, an Endangered Species Act. It would be an understatement to call the first Earth Day a success. In fact, it is often highlighted that the original Earth Day gained the support of almost all Americans, something an issue can rarely do, from young to old, Democrats to Republicans, the rich and the well, not so rich…you get the point. It was one of those rare opportunities for the country to pull together.

Over the years Earth Day has grown into almost a national holiday with celebrations and promotions taking place all over the country.  It may have lost its ability to bring commonality to polar opposites, as it is often looked at as a “Hippie Day.” However, Earth Day still meets its original goal of educating the people and drawing awareness to environmental issues. But it doesn’t have to lose the weight it once held with politicos. In this world of human pollution denial, environmental policy drawn on party lines, and growing evidence of climate change, Earth Day and its message are even more urgent.

Today should be utilized, as it always has, to continue to bring attention to the environmental issues our world faces, but also to remind ourselves the importance of our environment everyday. Let Earth Day serve as a reminder to live an eco-friendly life and to continue to support positive environmental policy. You can begin by celebrating Earth Day in a number of ways. Please see last year’s post on How to Celebrate Earth Day for ideas and check the Earth Resource Network for a local event near you. As for us, we will be celebrating in New York City’s Earthfair outside Grand Central Station! If you are nearby, come say hello.

Today, this week, this month, this year, and the rest of our lives should continue with the world on our minds. We owe it to ourselves, our future generations, the animals, and of course our Mother Earth. Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth day and it is time we allow it to get back to its roots; to bring our nation and world together in a common goal: protecting the world around us. Just as Berry stated, the Earth really is the one thing we really have in common, so let us use Earth Day to bridge the gaps between us. As the old adage says “we are all in this together,” so let’s work at it together.

-Gina Williams

Cupcakes, cookies, cakes, galore! Yes, you read that right. There is a all vegan world bake sale coming to a neighborhood near you! April 24th through May 2nd is the 2nd annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. You may be asking, what exactly is the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale? It is a two week vegan baked goods extravaganza that raises money for a variety of causes in the vegan world sponsored by Compassion for Animals. The first year it was put on, 2009, they were able to raise over $25,000 and were voted “Veg Event of the Year” by VegNews Magazine.

The best thing about this event is it is completely DIY. Anyone, that means even you, can participate! You do not have to belong to an organization or non-profit to hold a sale. The producers of the event invite all people to join in and raise money! What a great way to expose people to the delights of vegan baking as well as raise money for animal rights. There are only two rules to Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale, first rule, don’t talk about Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale….ok, ok that was too easy, but we just had to throw in a Fight Club joke. But really there are two simple rules to abide by:

1) ALL baked goods must be Vegan (learn more about Vegan baking)

2) Nothing sold or given out at the sale should directly promote the harm of animals.

Herbivore Clothing Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale Tee

Seems pretty simple! There are already great events lined up all over the world including Europe, Australia, Brazil, Finland, Singapore, and the US. Find out if any sales are happening in your area. If not, plan an event yourself! All you have to do is lock down your details and fill out this simple form. Your event will be posted on the website and promoted worldwide. If you aren’t sure exactly how to plan a sale, take a look at these handy Bake Sale Tips. And if you want to make your event official or if you just want to promote this awesome event, Herbivore Clothing has released a pretty cute official Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale Shirt, a portion of the sales go to various animal sanctuaries and vegan organizations.

Even if you can not plan an event, please check your local area to attend an event and add them on Facebook. This is an exciting, inclusive event which will help educate the mainstream, as well as introduce people to the tasty and satisfying world of vegan baked goods. And to top it off, it raises money to fund animal rights and vegan organizations. We can’t find a single thing wrong with this event and look forward to attending some in our neck of the woods. Happy vegan baking or consuming! :)

What better way to spend your Halloween Day and All Saints Day than to indulge in countless vegetarian food items and vegan goods? The FREE 14th Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival has extended to 2 days this year! One of the largest and most popular vegetarian festivals, Boston’s annual veggie get down is occurring this weekend , October 31st and November 1st. We are really excited to be a part of the festival again this year and are SUPER excited they have decided to expanded the festival to 2 days.

The event is chalk full of free vegetarian food samples, including many up and coming products, vegan clothing and footwear, vegetarian books and other gifts. Since this year’s festival is two days long, there are even more great speakers and cooking demos including a holiday cooking demo from a Vegan Culinary Arts professor, a comedy hour, a Vegetarian 101 panel, and so much more! We of course will be there selling our vegan sneakers, t shirts, handbags, and now our NEWEST line of Organic, Fair Trade, and Vegan Children’s and Baby line. So come on down and fill your belly with veggie snacks before celebrating Halloween and be sure to get some early ethical holiday shopping in! Just please be sure and stop by the Autonomie Project table and say hello to Anne and Gina :)

2009 Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

WHEN: Saturday, October 31, 2009, 10 AM – 6 PM and Sunday, November 1, 2009, 10 AM – 4 PM

WHERE: Reggie Lewis Athletic Center: 1350 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts

Roxbury Orange Line T Stop across the street and Free Parking

One of the United States’ most exciting alternative-energy events, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, is about to kick off in Washington DC!  Starting October 9th (and ending the 18th), 20 teams of college and university students, hailing from such diverse corners as Kentucky and Germany, will be competing to design, build and operate their very own solar-powered houses.  The goal is to make them as energy-efficient as possible while still being aesthetically pleasing and practical to live in. In fact, one of our very own at Autonomie Project is down in DC competing himself. Kevin will be representing Boston Architectural College and Tufts University through designing and constructing the Curio House.

The Decathlon is split into three phases: first, the teams put their collective brains together to design their homes using high-tech solutions in unique ways, and then raise the funds and coordinate with contractors to build them.  Next, each team must disassemble their house, transport it to the national Mall in DC and reassemble it.  Finally, the competition begins as each team and home is evalutaed in ten different areas: architecture, market viability, engineering, lighting design, communications, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment and net metering (reading how much energy the home consumes over the course of the competition). The juries assessing each area are compromised of scholars and working professionals at the head of their particular field.

This is the fourth Decathlon, the others having occurred previously at intervals of two years.  The contest is always growing, involving more students and universities, and the event brings more than 100,000 people out each time to walk among and interact with the teams and their homes. This is a very special chance to venture into a world that may very well reflect the needs and hopes of a future in crisis. If you have the chance, we highly recommend you take it and go get lost in the solar village!  All of the above information and much more can be found on the event website. We want to send our special thanks to the members of the Curio House and we wish Kevin and the rest the best of luck!


Mark Twain once said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”  Twain has graced us with many wisdoms, including the importance of fashion on who we are in society. This week (09/25/09 to 10/02/09) is Boston Fashion Week, where local Boston designers and fashionistas debut their designs. This year, our very own Anne O’Loughlin was asked to speak on the panel of the Boston Fashion Week Style Summit. 

Join us for a one-of-a-kind discussion: Learn how certain local leaders shifted gears, and have mapped out a place for themselves on some of the new frontiers in fashion such as Green, Vintage, and Fair Trade Fashion. Moderated by Jay Calderin, the Founder & Executive Director of Boston Fashion Week.

Panelists Include:

Anne O’Loughlin, Autonomie Project– Fair Trade

Meredith Byam, Poor Little Rich Girl – Re-purposed Fashion

Shana Yansen, Jute & Jackfruit – The Environment

Nicole Kanner, All Heart Public Relations – Virtual Networking

Melissa O’Shea, Hello Stiletto

WHEN: Monday, September 28th 6-8pm

WHERE: Boston Center for Adult Education   122 Arlington Street, Boston, MA

PRICE:  $35 (BCAE Members $30)

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