I arrived bright and early (hey, noon is pretty early on a Saturday) to the Seed‘s second annual “vegan experience” today, and what an experience it was. Many of the usual suspects were there, including Vitamix, Tasty Bite, Sea Shepherd, Mercy For Animals, and Rescue Chocolate. However, many of last year’s local vendors didn’t make an appearance this time around, such as Compassion Co., the Regal Vegan, Terri and MooShoes (you were not missed, Yelp booth). You know who was at The Seed this year, though? Herstyler! That’s right, after stuffing your face with Dandies and Treeline Cheese, you could get your hair curled for free. Mostly, the Herstyler booth just annoyed me because they were clearly just trying to capitalize on the high concentration of women at the event. Regardless, day one of the Seed wasn’t all that bad.
After stuffing my face with the Cinnamon Snail, the lone food truck parked in front of the Seed (which surprisingly had a pretty short line), I headed upstairs for even more food, speakers and vegan product sampling. Unlike the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival or other similar vegan product expos around the country, the Seed is, well, merely a seed in comparison. If they want to hang with the big kids, they have a lot of growing to do.
There were two primary rooms with about 80 different vendors this year, and if you weren’t planning on listening to speakers or doing yoga, you could probably experience everything in about an hour. Probably not worth the $20 door price, or whatever you happened to pay for your ticket (there were numerous discounts available), especially considering the lack of free samples this year. I know, you actually had to buy food if you wanted something to eat.
But I did, and my favorite new vendor by far was NYC-based Alchemy Creamery, which sells push pops (aka “Magic Wands,” which makes me think of something else entirely) that put the Flintstones Push-Ups of my childhood to shame. They’re essentially ice cream treats with a cake layer. I tried the cherry pie flavor, which was a tart, sweet cherry ice cream with a crumbly topping that I had to throw back like a shot before eating the ice cream. I’ll admit the treat wasn’t very big for $5, but it was a nice splurge. Alchemy Creamery is a fairly new company with a few kinks to work out (they push up mechanism kind of fell apart in my hands), but offer an inventive product that’s very, very tasty. Definitely a company to keep an eye on.
Other yummy foodstuffs included Vegan Bodega, which has now become a regular staple in the NYC vegan shop-up circuit, who were selling hard to find (in physical stores, at least) edibles such as Bee-Free Honee and the Vegg, and Balasia, an underground supper cub from Eastern PA, who were selling plates of wholesome looking raw eats.
Two non-food vendors that caught my interest were local companies Splice Photography, a vegan-owned business that employs vegan photographers and offers non-leather, eco-friendly photo albums, and Salon Champu, a vegan salon in the East Village that provided the hair styling for Vaute Couture’s NYFW debut.
When it came to the speakers, nothing really jumped out at me today. I will say that most of the speakers seemed to be gearing their talks to omnivores, the veg-curious and vegetarians, rather than seasoned vegans.
Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House offered an overzealous pep talk about their vegan journey and how going vegan really isn’t that hard. While they offered the crowd a heaping dose of positivity, I would have rather heard more about their organization and what they’re doing to further the animal rights movement.
I stopped by the demo area for chef Chloe Coscarelli‘s (the woman who made moms hip to veganism after she won Cupcake Wars on the Food Network) Q&A, but she was a no show. I wanted to stay and watch Micahel Weber, of FARM, discuss vegan advocacy, but after I overheard an attendee ask Cornelia Guest what the different between vegetarianism and veganism is, I decided it was time to call it a day.
Here’s hoping day two of The Seed is more inspiring, and has more free samples.