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What I Seed at the Seed NYC

By the time I got to The Seed: A Vegan Experience at 2pm (5 hours before closing) on Saturday, almost all of everybody’s free food samples had run out. So I guess they got a lot more people than certain vendors were expecting! Hopefully they will overcompensate for Sunday and those of you going will get to totally pig out.

You can get some pretty rad food without even going in. Parked outside is The Cinnamon Snail (pretty much the best vegan restaurant in NYC these days), and for those who prefer shorter lines, Mac’n, “Miami’s original vegan food truck”. Mac’n has some pretty darned tasty mac’n'cheese and battered-tofu sandwiches. They say they plan to stick around NYC a few months, so hopefully you’ll all get to try their tasty fare even if you can’t stop by the Seed on Sunday.

One of the best things about the Seed is that it’s big and varied enough that everyone will like something there. I happily ignored all the yoga and “nutritional” cleansing booths, but if you like that stuff there’s plenty (and you can ignore all the tables with free chocolate). The space at 82Mercer is really nice. Classic giant Soho loft with nice big windows and fancy amenities. It was plenty lively but never overwhelmingly crowded … surely one of the benefits of the $25 ticket price.

I’m going to keep this post as positive as I can—only focus on calling out stuff I liked. But I do have to include one big honkin’ putrid-grapes negative. The first booth I get to when I walk in is Yelp’s. An inevitably boring table, but whatever—they were a big sponsor so they get a prime table. They had some freebies out … ball-point pens (sure, I’ll take one), lip balm (what?! free vegan lip balm! Go Yelp!!) and one last remaining tin of mints. So I take a look at the Yelpstick, curious which brand of lipbalm they were rebranding, and read the ingredients and, whaddyaknow: beeswax! It’s not vegan after all. So, fuck you, Yelp, for distributing oodles of free non-vegan lip balm at the first table in the door at an event aimed at veg-curious and new vegans. (And I guess I took that as a warning that maybe the Seed organizers weren’t trying too hard, but I know that most vendors were there specifically to be vegan, and Yelp’s careless stupidity was likely an anomaly.) Oh, and the mints had calcium stearate, so maybe vegan, maybe not.

OK, back to the positive! I’m omitting many worthy exhibitors (genuinely too many to list), but also all the bad ones, so it’s worth it. Consider this a rundown of some stuff that I happened to get decent photos of.

It was great to see Herbivore Clothing Company, always nice when they make it over here to the East Coast. They’ve long had the best collection of vegan and pro-animal graphic tees. But now they have some serious competition on that front from the Connecticut-based Compassion Company. Here’s Compassion Co’s Andy with some of their hot gear:

Oh, and Yelp totally made me buy Compassion Company’s “Honey belongs to bees” badge.

Not to be confused with Compassion Company, Compassion Couture set up shop in a big way. They say they’ve been getting a lot of requests to start carrying menswear—I’m looking forward to that! Meanwhile, look at their overflowing ladyswear:

All the seats were full for this cooking demo and all the other presentations, too. I didn’t make it to any of the presentations, panels, or films. There were certainly some good ones, though, and there’s more on Sunday. I managed to keep plenty busy with tables and socializing.

Kopali Chocolates do a great job coating various things (banana, mulberries, cacao nibs, goji berries, espresso beans) in single-origin organic fair-trade Peruvian chocolate. My only request to them is to take a lesson from Life Savers and offer a variety pack—why should we have to choose just one of these flavors?

Dan Mims of CLLCTV keeps hydrated in between bouts of explaining how to pronounce the name of his exciting new local deals site (where you could’ve, for example, scored some cheap tickets to the Seed!).

The Vitamix table was seriously mobbed. People really want to see those cashews get puréed by a $500 blender.

These raw pizza wedges from Gingersnap’s Organic tasted excellent:

In related raw-food sample news, One Lucky Duck‘s macaroons were perfectly delightful.

I think it’s genuinely great that the Seed thought to include some art and live music, but it felt like an afterthought with just three artists total. Maybe they can get a few more next time. I suspect there’s literally hundreds of worthy vegan artists in the NYC area. Here’s Emily Pavacic‘s seed (hah!) drawings and creepy sculpture, and Elizabeth Glushko playing her loopy cello.

Sea Shepherd‘s table looked really great. They’re doing a superb job with the merch.

MooShoes‘s table looked real nice, too. They’re not selling shoes there (well, except for a few special models), though many are on display. They were selling lots of bags, which I neglected to photograph.

Here’s Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart of Vaute Couture. I’m jonesing for one of her waxed canvas coats:

Regal Vegan‘s new Basilicotta was friggin’ delicious. The best thing I ate at the whole Seed. Look for it in stores whenever it gets there. Seriously delicious, and safe for those of you confused/upset by the name of their flagship Faux Gras.

Will Vegan Bodega ever open a permanent store? They’ve gotten so good at surfing these pop-ups, maybe they don’t need to.

There was a show-within-a-show of 20-some tables doing an all-vegan version of the Bust Craftacular. A lot of it was totally nice little jewelry, but I wasn’t in a jewelry mood. I was more in the mood for the spectacle of the Bat Owl + Kookla = Spooky Fruits booth or the pattern overload the batik-inspired Djuna Shay.

Lovebug Kitchen was in the Bust zone too. They’d sold out of everything but the bacon-chocolate milkshake, so I enjoyed one of those! Also, in Bustland, Viridis Aurum makes totally delicious Sicilin-style olives.

On the way out, it was nice to catch up with Jill and John from Vegan Cuts. Do you like buying vegan stuff online? If you do and you’re not subscribed to Vegan Cuts, you’re doing it wrong.

9 Comments

  1. Comment by

    Amelia

    on #

    Hey! Great blog! I live in the midwest, and though I did hear about the seed, I couldn’t make it. Thanks for the great post, and the reviews for online products!
    Amelia

  2. Comment by

    Erin Red

    on #

    Hey Jason! Thank you so much for the write up. I had NO idea about Yelp’s douchebaggery and am SERIOUSLY pissed off about it. It was in EVERY vendors contract that all items at the show must be 100% vegan – we spelled it out for them in no uncertain terms, and beeswax/honey were mentioned specifically. I will absolutely follow up on this and really appreciate your calling them out! Hope to see you soon! xoxo

  3. Comment by

    Andrea

    on #

    Yay, Jason! The Natural Products Association Marketplace was pretty terrible, AND in Las Vegas, so you win!

  4. Comment by

    Amber

    on #

    This was a really great event and the lineup of speakers they had was a vegan dream! It was nice that even after their presentation and Q&A time was over, some speakers lingered to answer in depth questions like Colleen Partirck Goudreau and Brendan Brazier. The organizers did a good job of bringing a diverse group of likeminded people together for us.

  5. Comment by

    Dan

    on #

    Say it with me now: “collective” :-)

    Great write-up, Jason.

  6. Comment by

    Tammy

    on #

    Awesome re-cap, Jason! We’re glad you could stop by the Lovebug Kitchen table for a chocolate-maple-”bacon” shake. If you can come by the Queens County Market on June 30, would love for you to try more of our goods…vegan Frito pie, anyone?! Keep up the fab work & thorough reporting!

  7. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    Thanks for the comments, all!

    @Erin: Glad to hear your pissed! :) I hope they get it, at least a little bit!! And, wow, wonderful job pulling this thing off.

  8. Comment by

    korn

    on #

    Wait! No one is pissed that an event that would/could, in theory inspire other people to go vegan, costs 25 dollars entrance fee???

  9. Comment by

    Cheryl Fyfe

    on #

    Will anything like this happening in Sept?

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