I had the distinct pleasure of attending The Seed: A Vegan Experience this past weekend. As you might remember, earlier this year I attended the Vegetarian Food Festival, which was fantastic. However, the idea of an entirely VEGAN expo really tickled me. I must say, a lot of my excitement came from the fantastic job that the organizers did in building anticipation via different social media outlets. They really exemplified prime use of social media in order to promote their event. In the days and weeks leading up to the event, they announced vendors, speakers, movie screenings and more and it really built up the anticipation. Well done.
The main draw for me to this event was that Colleen Patrick-Goudreau would be speaking. She is from the West Coast, and produces a podcast that I love called Vegetarian Food For Thought. She presents veganism in such a positive, inspiring way that it often is very re-affirming and helpful to have a listen, particularly when I’m feeling down and/or defeated. She didn’t let me down, either. Her talk left me feeling great! Afterwards, I was able to get her to sign my copy of Vegan’s Daily Companion as well as snap a photo together.
Another great speaker, one that always moves me (and I quite often refer to like being at vegan church), was my friend Jenny Brown, co-founder of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Both she and Kathy Stevens (of Catskill Animal Sanctuary) told personal stories of these animals as individuals. They are all sentient beings, with personality quirks and preferences, and hearing some personal anecdotes was so wonderful. Jenny’s talk, however, took it a step further and was exactly what this conference needed — someone who isn’t afraid to address the issue of what actually happens to these animals in this industry. Sure, the talks about all the health benefits are great, and people skirt around the topic or gently word what actually happens to these animals, but Jenny was the only one to put it out there, right in front of you and told you what it is for what it is. I believe this is necessary. One of the biggest reasons why so many vegans become vegans IS because of the animals. Yet for some reason, people want to shy away from the truth of it, they’re either afraid to offend, to alienate, to frighten. Yes, it is graphic. Yes, it is upsetting. But it is the reality for the over 300 billion farmed animals in this world. I always think of the now infamous Gretchen Wyler quote – “We must not refuse to see with our eyes what they must endure with their bodies.” Thank you, Jenny, for being brave and sharing the truth.
There was a great panel on effective vegan blogging, moderated by friend of WFAS and Jersey City Vegan, JL Fields. Her fantastic blog, JL Goes Vegan, is such a source of inspiration for me. I related to her experience as a blogger the most, her story of the how and the why she got into it, and that it ended up leading to more opportunities for her. She is a great blogging role model and I am grateful for her contributions to the vegan community.
The food at this event was also of the highest quality. While most were ones I was familiar with, I was introduced for the first time to Foodswings who have a restaurant in Brooklyn. They were selling these delectable vegan chickun wings – complete with hot sauce AND bleu cheeze! Talk about yum to the tenth power! I coulda had several more of these things, but refrained due to the fact that they were deep fried. Another new yum? All the way from Miami came the Mac’n Food Truck. They were parked outside along with The Cinnamon Snail (whom I LOVE!) and are up in NYC for the summer. Since the Snail had lines pretty much out to Chicago, and partly because we’ve had the Snail many of times, we decided to give Mac’n a try. Oh boy. Ohhhh boy. Well, let’s just show you what the food looked like…
Holy vegan gods can you please send me to vegan food truck heaven?! Between these two food trucks, I could eat well for the rest of my life. The mac n cheeze was creamy and delicious. The breaded tofu spicy sammie (served on a killer wrap, cause they ran out of buns) is probably in my top three vegan sandwiches that I’ve ever had. I loved it so much, I had it the second day of the festival as well (and served on that wrap, even though they had buns!). Other notable foodstuffs from this event? Ella, The Regal Vegan herself (of Faux Gras fame!), shared her new spread called Basilicotta, a cashew-based ricotta-like creamy spread. They were selling vegan banh-mi made with the Faux Gras and oh man was that good. Anyone who knows anything about banh-mi knows that traditionally, it is made with pate. There has not been a vegan version of that kind of banh-mi – until now! A round of applause for Ella and her vegan pate and creamy spread.
The second day of the festival I was lucky enough to be able to table for the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. If I ever had an opportunity to gush all day long about my beloved friends there, this was it! All day long I talked about Star, my chicken buddies, the sweet piggies, everyone. I was all talked out by the end of the day. But it was a blast and I look forward to more opportunities to do this for them.
All in all, I think most were in consensus that this event was superb. I raise my glass to the founders of the event, the organizers, the volunteers and anyone who made it possible. My only suggestion? More please!!!