My second year at The Seed was a win! I spent nearly all day perusing the vendors, sampling yummy food and listening to some very inspiring people speak.
Two rooms full of booths, stages and plant-minded people would be enough to make any vegan smile!
The following is a breakdown of my favorites and brand new vegan companies I discovered.
Michelle is one of the nicest people I've met in the vegan community. She also happens to be a versatile designer. Her line, Michelle Leon Vegan encompasses a wide range of belts, bags and jewelry. Did you know that jewelry could be not vegan? I sure didn't, but there are a few ways animals are brought into the equation: the glues used by some jewelers contain animal products or the brushes used to polish the metals are made more often than not from boar hair. Weird right?
She handcrafts the luxury line of accessories in her Brooklyn studio, where no stone is left unturned- literally! She decorates the bags with jewels and sterling silver hardware in the shape of animals. To the untrained eye it looks like subtle bling but when you come closer you see that yes, the bag is topped by a giraffe. Or two monkeys. Or a cat.
Whether you want the world to know you're vegan or not, her luxe vegan leather and suede coupled with seriously cool hardware is a match made in cruelty-free chic heaven. My personal favorites are the Cheval Gray with the chain strap and horse detail, the White Giraffe with a shoulder chain and giraffe grazing on the top and the Silver Cat, a sleek clutch perfect for day or night. All are true conversation starters and functional to boot.
It's near impossible to find a quality non-leather belt that won't fall apart and (I know I'm reaching for the stars here) has class. One of the best and comfiest outfits you can wear is an oversized shirt, leggings and a belt to finish it off.
All the ladies dreaming about weddings past, present and future can drool over Michelle Leon's engagement rings. Swoon!
She also offers custom everything- if you want to design a bag or ring from the ground up she's game! You can all thank me later for just adding like 5 things to your holiday wish list.
My favorites luxe basics line Miakoda and designer Julia was at The Seed too! All the staples to get through summer and beyond are on sale right now to make room for their highly anticipated fall collection coming out this Monday! I wear my slouchy pants as a jumper all the time already, so I'm super stoked to see what else will make a great addition to my wardrobe. While there I picked up a black pair of tabi socks (all black, so New York) that I happily wear padding around the house.
Fashion forward and sweatshop free accessories line Gunas showed off their wares. It was nice to see them in person because, although headquartered in Queens, you can purchase their line exclusively online. I love me some sparkles, so it's safe to say I know which bag I'll be drooling over (hint hint scroll down). They have branched out beyond bags into faux-silk scarves which to the dismay of luxe lovers, are currently sold-out. Gunas is your go-to brand for stylish travel bags too and, for once, men can get in on the action. With most of their travel bags acting as unisex, couples can travel together with sleek non-embarrassing matching duffels.
I bought lunch from The Regal Vegan because all the food on display looked yummy! They make exquisite spreads (and sandwiches!) that are available at several stores around the country. I had the Kale Au Jus sandwich with their creamy basil and cashew Basilcotta spread.
These burgers were the hit of The Seed! Everyone couldn't stop talking about them. At an affordable $6, the combination of the burger, bun, daiya cheese and pickle on the side was delicious. So good in fact that I ate in silence and just focused on eating- that's how you know food is amazing! We're usually doing a million things while we eat (texting, watching tv, reading) but I spent 10 minutes wrapped up in burger heaven while blocking everything else out. The good news is that they were so popular that you can now get your fast food fix at Brooklyn Night Bazaar Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm-1am. Can I get an oh yeah?!
A new interesting frozen snack that holds it's own between frozen ices and ice-cream, Ortaggi is made from vegetables and herbs. It provides a cool, refreshing snack in six flavors:
- Avocado and Cucumber
- Red Pepper and Peach
- Carrot and Mandarin with Ginger
- Spinach and Kale with Celery
- Celery and Cucumber with Basil
- Beet and Tangerine
I'm not a green smoothie person so the celery and cucumber sample I tried didn't tickle my fancy but I can imagine how light and yummy this would be post-workout as an alternative to ice-cream.
These bite sized chocolate chip cookies "sprinkled with fairy dust" win for best table presentation. While I'm not personally friends with Tinkerbell I'm pretty sure she would approve as well. The tiny cookies dipped in chocolate are wildly addictive- one bag was simply not enough! They also do custom orders for anything your little fairy heart desires.
Heavenly like the Fairy Bites but in it's own rich, decadent way, the samples were beyond melt-in-your-mouth good. So much so that I literally can't pick a favorite flavor because all chocolate is good chocolate. If you must pick a flavor though, pick up their best-selling Extreme with 80% cacao. Did I mention they also sell hot chocolate? Yes, their "Drinking Chocolate" commands it's own flavor line-up with mint, 6 spice and traditional vying for your tastebuds.
Yes, I was on a chocolate high at The Seed. Yet another brand I tried was Nicobella, and I didn't just love it because half my name is in their name. Maker of nuts and chocolate snacks called "Munch" in addition to truffles like blueberry almond, ginger green tea, pumpkin chai, pure cocoa bliss, walnut flaxseed, sunflower butter banana and lime basil this company has my heart. Their munch bars are the perfect healthy snack when you're craving something sweet without the gross "I'm so full and sick of sweets now" feeling. And because we're vegans who care about the earth, their chocolate is fair trade and organic!
Non-basic water was a theme at The Seed. Maybe it's because people want a little kick to their h2o or maybe it's because they're coming down from a soda sugar high but regardless I was impressed with the innovative water vendors. Just when you think coconut water is the perfect post-workout beverage, maple water comes along and tries to steal it's crown. I personally didn't like the hint of sweetness that maple water has but it's perfect for those that are bored with plain ole water. Maple Water is made from the pure sap from maple trees, so it's truly an organic and guilt-less indulgence.
All hail vegan's version of Nutella- this "superfood fudge spread" is as creamy and sweet as you'd want it to be. Put it on toast, ice-cream or bananas- it really doesn't matter because it goes with everything! If you haven't guessed by now chocolate is a food group in my diet. Luckily, this spread is totally raw and nutritious being made from coconut oil and cacao and all.
I listened to the super nice and very persuasive Jenny Brown from Woodstock Farm Sanctuary speak about the food system, how it's broken and what we can do about it. She founded Woodstock Farm Sanctuary as a safe-haven for animals that otherwise wouldn't have a chance which is admirable by itself, but her passion and dedication to educating others is just as inspiring. Her speech was fact driven yet relatable, and while some can argue she was preaching to the choir speaking about factory farming at a veg-centered event, I think her message reached beyond the veg community as a lot of non-vegans were in attendance. Events like The Seed are the perfect way to casually inform those on the brink of making the empowering choice to eliminate animal suffering from their life. If you ever have an urge to go to upstate New York and do some good, Woodstock Farm Sanctuary has plenty of opportunities.
I can't wait for next year's Seed Expo to discover more cruelty-free and vegan products I need in my life!