See.. Eat.. Hear.. FEEL VEGAN. The first ever Seed Experience is coming up this weekend in New York City! For the veg curious, veg skeptical and longtime vegheads alike, on June 16 and 17, prepare to be completely immersed in everything vegan! This is an event that promises to be complete with a vast array of cruelty-free products and services, amazing vegan fare, world-renowned speakers, and award-winning films (and the chance to speak to their directors). Interested in going? Enter to win a pair of tickets at the end of this post! But first, read on…We were lucky enough to pin Harvey Fung, one of the co-founders of The Seed down for an interview during this very busy week:
Vegan Mainstream: Can you give a summary of what The Seed is?
Harvey Fung: The Seed is two full days of vegan immersion. There will be something for everyone as we invite the vegan-curious, vegan-skeptical, and vegan choir to explore what veganism has to offer in today’s world. The attendees will be able to experience and discover why veganism is such a fast-growing trend, and why so many trendsetters and celebrities are embracing the vegan lifestyle.
The Seed will take place on June 16 and 17,
VM: Where did the idea for the event come from?
HF: In my little spare time, I practice Muay Thai, and that is where I met Erin Red, the co-founder of The Seed. One day, she invited everyone from the gym out for a dinner and movie. The movie happened to be Forks Over Knives and was followed by dinner at a vegan restaurant, Puck. I was very surprised by the interesting menu and how tasty the dishes were. It far exceeded my expectations! The film was so fascinating and shocking that for months I kept thinking about it. This opened my eyes to a whole new world that I wasn’t aware of, or never before considered. I knew that there are many people like me out there who want to live a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate life, but couldn’t quite wrap their heads around veganism. This is when I approached Red, as we call her, to join me in creating The Seed. And now we are just days away from actually having our first event.
VM: Who is the target audience for this event, and what are you hoping people will take away?
HF: I believe there are many people out there just like me who are not yet aware of what veganism is really about, or has to offer. The two-day event is a vegan experience for anyone who wants to live a conscious, healthy, sustainable, and compassionate life. First and foremost I would like to invite vegan skeptics, and the curious, as the program was designed to give everyone a well-rounded experience. Of course even long-time vegans will be thrilled to see so much veganism in one weekend, and explore new companies, foods, and products. Our speaker lineup is well-rounded – everything from nutrition to activism – so there is literally something for everyone.
Just as I walked away amazed by a world that I had had no idea about, I hope to be able to create with The Seed an eye-opening experience that shows people that there are different and better alternatives than what is currently considered “the norm”.
VM: How many people are you hoping will attend this event? Is there a limit on attendance?
HF: The location of The Seed is a premier event space, 82Mercer, in the heart of trendy SoHo, offering over 25,000 square feet. This ample space will allow us to comfortably host between 2,000 and 3,000 guests over the two weekend days.
VM: Can you talk about some of the highlights attendees can look forward to?
HF: I personally am looking forward to hearing the presentation from Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who is one of the country’s leading voices on how to optimize your health through what you eat – his work has opened my eyes (not to mention tastebuds) about the healthfulness of veganism. I’ve heard and read so much about Dr. Fuhrman and I’m excited to see him in person. In total, we have 17 amazing presenters – the best of the best – so I’m sure I will learn a ton. Another highlight is that we will have the first public screening in New York of the award-winning movie Lunch Hour, followed by a Q&A session with the director, James Costa. And, of course, no event like this is complete without fabulous food. Lucky for us, the food will all be absolutely delectable. I, for one, will show up hungry.
VM: Can you talk more about the food?
HF: As the idea for The Seed was planted over dinner and a movie, food is a very important part of the event. Therefore, we will have over a dozen of NYC’s best vegan restaurants sampling tasty bites. For example, among our vendors will be upscale eatery Blossom, and high-end raw dining establishment Pure Foods and Wine, as well as Brooklyn hipster hangout, Foodswings. There will also be several cooking demos, including one from Juan Pablo Chavez of Whole Foods’ “The Wellness Club.” In addition, many of our exhibitors are food and beverage merchants, such as BluePrintCleanse cleansing juices, and “Faux Gras” paté from The Regal Vegan. They, too, will be providing samples to the guests. Therefore, I would be very surprised if anyone left feeling hungry. But I do hope they leave hungry to further their exploration of veganism.
VM: Is this a one-off event, or something you are planning to repeat?
HF: [Even though this is The Seed’s first event,] the response has been so positive that The Seed’s team is already planning our next one! We don’t have a date yet, but it will be sometime in the winter. Who knows what The Seed will ultimately grow to be, but I’m positive it will change and touch many people’s lives. There is so much awareness to raise about veganism, and I want The Seed to be a big part of making that happen.
VM: Why did you decide to use this type of event to reach out to people about veganism?
HF: I guess one has to experience things first to be able to understand them, and to be aware of the issues that underlie them, such as veganism. I think my story, my “vegan awakening,” is a perfect example. That is why I chose to create an event where people can mingle, and experience first-hand the many aspects of the vegan lifestyle – from food to fashion – and begin to understand the pertinent issues and benefits for adopting this kind of lifestyle. Attendees will be able to use all their senses; they will see, hear, feel, eat, and be able to shop vegan too. It is, without question, a vegan immersion.
VM: Why did you choose NYC as the venue, and why now?
HF: I live in NYC, and I believe it is the perfect city to launch such an event. The city is filled with so many trendsetters and open-minded individuals, so to achieve the best possible reach and impact, it made perfect sense to do it here. As to why we chose now for The Seed, there are two reasons: I didn’t know enough about veganism before to understand its importance and potential, so there’s no time like the present to plant the seed, as it were, in other people’s minds! And secondly, veganism is growing very rapidly, and we wanted to do all we could to help it bloom. There are so many indicators showing that this movement is more than just a trend. According to The Vegetarian Resource Group, in 2011, the number of U.S. adults who identify as vegan leaped to 2.5 percent, from under 1 percent in 2008. Also, the number of vegan items available in stores is constantly increasing, just like the number of new vegan restaurants opening, and the influx of vegan options on all sorts of menus, including airlines. And let’s not forget the many celebrities, top athletes, and public figures who are all changing their lifestyles to be more plant-based. It’s an incredible time to be supporting vegan companies and organizations.
VM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
HF: The entire team at The Seed are big fans of what Vegan Mainstream does to increase awareness about the importance of adopting a vegan lifestyle and existence. I wish we would have more time and more space for our upcoming event, as there is still so much we would love to share with everyone. I feel like every day I’m discovering something new in the vegan world. It’s mind-blowing! I guess we will just have to incorporate everything into the next show. Gives us something to look forward to! We hope that with The Seed, we will indeed blossom, and there will be more and more – events, awareness, and ultimately, vegans!
We look forward to hearing about how The Seed goes, and wish co-founders Harvey Fung and Erin Red the best of luck with this fabulous undertaking! For more information about The Seed check out the following links:
Event Tickets: http://theseedexperience.com/purchase-tickets/
Event Schedule: http://theseedexperience.com/schedule/