The Seed: The Verdict on my Vegan Experience
To me, critiquing the Seed is like critiquing a religious outing. If I had come into the whole thing, “deciding on whether to become” vegan then I might have an objective view to share. So keep in mind that I am speaking from within the cult, not as an outside observer of said-cult (I mean lifestyle). There was so much to take in so I will continue to discuss over the next few days. Here’s a quick conclusion on this monumental (told you it wouldn’t be objective) event.
While several angry vegans were irritated at the fact that they got in 20 minutes late (because of the long line) I think it was very well put together. I was a bit annoyed at the fact that I, an early bird paid 30 dollars for a two day pass, while most used a groupon and were admitted for 10 bucks a day. The speakers were introduced clearly, there was signage, and it was everything an event should be. I also think there was a balanced representation of the various vegan camps including, athletes, anti-animal cruelty, alternative energy, restaurants/food, medical experts, and cruelty-free fashion. If it were my event, I may not have put the Vitamix guy next to the main stage. Those things are noisy (the Vitamix machine was also noisy).
I saw a friend from a vegan meetup group I belong to who agreed with me that there was a surprisingly small amount of food for purchase. I came hungry and walked right past the Cinnamon Snail (which was parked in front of the venue). For the amount of people there, to buy a taco or sandwich you had like four options (including The Regal Vegan, Food Swings and the Love Bug). Those few venders must have made mucho bucks. There were plenty of restaurants represented but they where only giving out samples. The V-spot and Wild ginger had great samples but they were not meals.
The collection of restaurant and vegan products was impressive. I was especially fond with the Vegan Bodega’s olive dips, Lucky Duck’s raw macaroons, and Blossom’s Cordon Bleu. It was a great opportunity to see these folks shine. I think everyone would agree that there was too much chocolate at this event.
There were also a lot of nutritional supplements and bars. Protein was a controversial topic at The Seed. Some of the offered protein solutions were called unnecessary and even dangerous by some of the medical professionals at the event. Conflict!
Many products were being sold by speakers from the event. For example Dr. Fuhrman has a line of nutrient-rich soups and Professional Athlete Brendan Brazier owns of the Plant Power/Vega protein powders and smoothies.
You have your morality vegan and your dietary vegan. I was concerned that these groups might not mix and even fight. Well, I was wrong. Everyone played nicely together. There were various animal sanctuaries, shelters, charities and groups like PETA (although I don’t think I saw PETA). There is a lot of cross over within the vegan world. Some buy food based on production methods and if they happen to give to animal groups. Obviously being vegan alone is an animal-kind gesture. Other activists included alternative energy sources and tables on politics.
Because Bust Magazine sponsored the event, there was a “Craftacular” portion of the event. Craft not Craptacular. There was a great offering of cruelty-free purses, jewelry and clothing. It was not my thing, but it seems a lot of folks liked it.
Yoga Local was giving classes. I only mention it because I am really into yoga right now. I did not partake because of my tight jeans. I tried to grab a cashew milk they were handing out but it was only for yoga participants. I was not happy with that, Yoga Local. I missed the Yoga and the milk.
There were plenty of cooking demos representing books that were on sale. In addition there were several panels on anything from travel to blogging. Good stuff, all of it. The Vitamix guy had a demo going every 15 minutes. I didn’t buy one but like I said, that cashew ice cream was unbelievable and he appeared to make it in less than 5 minutes.
Attendance was great. It was a packed house. There were good vibrations all around. I had several very nice conversations with people about various vegan issues. I think there was enough room for everything. Even at its most crowded, I still managed. The crowd was about 80% women. I’m not sure why. I met someone who said it was because generally, men don’t take care of themselves. They provide. They hunt. It really wasn’t meant to be a slam on men.
Several vegan classics were shown including everyone’s favorites “Forks Over Knives” and “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” Most people I had talked to had already seen both of them. Perhaps some smaller vegan movies could have been shown. I was happy to see “Vegucated” playing with a Q&A from director Marisa Miller Wolfson. Vegucated is a great mixture of all the parts of being vegan. It was a perfect place to show it even though it was a little preaching to the choir. I wanted to interview Marisa for the blog but she was so busy talking to people. Good for her.
I’ll talk about most of the speakers individually in later posts. To me, the speakers are the meat or should I say vegetable of the conference. I pessimistically thought they would choose all doctors or all animal rights. The truth is everyone was represented and I learned a lot. I was most interested in the nutritional talks and thought it was interesting that the speakers did not often agree with one another. Conflict! There was a great mix of perspectives. I kind of wish they had gotten a movie, television or rock celebrity. Doesn’t Alec Baldwin live down the street? What about Ted Leo? Alicia Silverstone?
A success! Next year Julia must come. I missed her and each night, we talked about my experiences for hours on the telephone. There was too much vegan junk food but hey, what’s a carnival without fried foods and sugar. I went to be motivated to stay vegan. I wanted to see that I was not alone, that I had mass amount of people, medical professional, athletes, restaurants and retailers that supported and lived the vegan life. I came out of it exhausted from information overload. I also walked out, pleased with my vegan decision.