The conscious community from all over the country came out to play last week in Miami at the fourth annual Seed, Food and Wine Week. The five day long event kicked-off with a conference of innovative leaders in the field of conscious, vegan, sustainable living– Food Forward– on Wednesday November 1, 2017 at Miami Dade College. Seed Summit, two days of workshops and panels with vegan entrepreneurs, social media personalities, and influencers, followed on Thursday and Friday, November 2nd and 3rd at the American Airlines Arena. I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Seed Summit, the Plant-Based Burger Battle at Jungle Plaza in the Design District, and the Seed Festival + Tasting Village at Manna Wynwood.
The Seed Summit was two action packed days of networking, presentations and panels. The buffet breakfasts and lunches were amazing. I am still craving a vegan egg breakfast burrito from Follow Your Heart since Friday. Who made them? If anyone knows, please tell me in the comments below.
Plant-based or vegan? was the question of the day at the Seed Summit, where conversations brewed around the topic of correct nomenclature for conscious eating as the coffee poured from Nutpods’ bicycle fueled expresso machine. After telling audiences about the healing effects of petting her cows, Miyoko Schinner, the founder and CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, proudly proclaimed herself as a vegan, as seen in the video below, gaining cheers from the audience. “I’m a sixty year old lady. I do not have a single tattoo she said, but I’m planning to get a Phenomenally Vegan tattoo (the new tag line for her delicious cheese and butter company).”
Others aren’t too fond of labels. Local chef Pamela Wasabi presented a great talk in which she discussed her perception of the problem with labels like vegan, and why she now refers to herself as plant-based.
She also discussed her path towards becoming a conscious culinary artist. Her journey included a thyroid condition that was interfering with her pregnancy. The doctor told her she would need artificial hormones and would not be able to breast feed or have a home birth, as she planned. After going on a vegan diet, she was able to healthily deliver her baby as she wished and feed her from her body, as nature intended.
Whether it’s personal health, animal welfare, the environment or a combination of all three, one’s reasons for being vegan or plant-based, whichever term one prefers, shouldnt’ be judged.
Some say to-may-to, others say to-mah-to. Or as Miyoko said in her presentation: “if you’re an opera singer, why call yourself a toodeler of high notes.” A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. Apparently, the only aspect used to distinguish restaurants as plant-based or vegan is the use of honey.
Overall, we’re all striving towards the same mission, a plant-based sustainable world, nourished on the life-giving fuel of Mother Nature’s earth-stemmed seeds. We all want respect towards all living beings. We all want to make vegan food the norm, and eventually it will be. It is the future.
Yet, respect for living beings goes beyond how we nourish ourselves.
Asanyah Davidson, the Chairperson of the Miami Fashion Institute at Miami Dade, and a proud vegan for over four years co-led a presentation on Conscious Fashion with Colleen Coughlin (@doublefancy), founder of closet editing service, TheFullEdit. They gave cool tips for how to be chic and conscious. They also recommended several documentaries about the effects of uninformed consumerism on people, the environment and animals. Check them out!
And, there was a conscious fashion show at The Sacred Space. Pics to come!
The Seed Summit was a great place to network and make friends. The Brooklyn based beverage company Kombrewcha provided a fun, relaxed and friendly atmosphere at their roof-top lounge. They hosted happy-hour and speed-dating events to keep everyone smiling and laughing. Their refreshing drinks are at the high end of the fermented tea’s alcohol level, giving one the sensation of having a light beer. With delicious flavors like Royal Ginger, Lemongrass Lime, and Berry Hibiscus, they have something to fit everyone’s taste buds. These light, healthy, and delicious brews are a great alternative to the alcoholic drinks often served at venues. We need these at cafes and bars here in Miami, so as their tag line goes, we can Socialize without Compromise. Conscious is the future, and we need to party without destroying ourselves in order to get make it! Thanks to the team at Kombrewcha for brining fun to the Summit!
Plant Based Burger Battle
On Thursday evening, celebrity judges voted on the Best Plant-based Burger in America and the honor went to Austin based Arlo’s. There was a huge line to get to try their Bac’ n Cheeze Burger. The delicious and juicy melt-in-your-mouth burger reminded me of a fast-food comfort burger, and I felt like a needed a side of greasy fries and mylk shake to go with it.
Rikoads Photo Gallery:
The popular vote went to Greenbar and Kitchen from Ft.Laudy. Their coconut infused patty on a charcoal and gold plated bun is pictured below. It was a delight.
European Vegan Protein Company Oumph! Along with its Founder “The Duck” also had a major presence at the event. We need their bites in the US!! Check out a live video taste test at the Seed Festival below!
The French Horn provided some tunes.
Check out a live video replay of the award ceremony! Watch the crowd go wild when the festival founders Alison Burgos and her wife Michelle Gaber announce the winner.
Seed Festival + Tasting Village
Check out our micro-interviews at the Saturday festival and tasting village with a few of the faces behind our favorite new products on the market Crumbleberry, artisan cashew cheese, Oumph!, one of the leading plant-based proteins in Europe, coming soon to the states, Florida’s own Expressed Juice, NutraMilk, an amazing new machine for nut butters and milks, and Unleash Life, a fresh juice delivery service. They speak for themselves, and watch a taste test with “The Duck.” Wow, those bites were good.
Aside from all the amazing new products out on the market, many well-known names, the tried and the true, came out to share their goodies. We caught up with Mariana Cortez, founder of Bunnie Cakes, who just got a contract with Starbucks to sell their vegan and gluten free mini cupcakes at 13 locations in Miami. Finally, a sweet to go with coffee and tea to please our vegan palates.
There were amazing talks and presentations including one about food addictions and how to have a healthy relationship with food as well as non- vegan family members from author of This Cheese is Nuts Julie Piatt and her parter Rich Roll. Julie collaborated with Love Life Cafe at the burger battle. Her cheese was the added to last year’s judge’s favorite giving it a new touch. She also hosted an intimate dinner along with her husband at the Wynwood vegan hotspot, also the home of a multi-purpose wellness center that runs a detox and recovery program. As a recovering alcoholic, Rich described how a plant-based conscious lifestyle and vegan nourishment were part of his path to overall health.
Check out a segment of their engaging and packed talk at the festival.
We, photographer Irian Córdoba and I️, also just caught-up for friendly chit chat with down to earth and inspirational vegan Instagram personality @badassvegan. We asked him what he thought about the festival.
these vegan pioneers! Thank you on behalf of ourselves, the animals, and the environment. The conscious community would have not gotten this far without your courage and determination. We love you.
Enjoy a photo gallery of the Seed Festival + Tasting Village Day courtesy of Abranel Productions>