As lifelong foodies, Alison Burgos and her wife Michelle Gaber's decision to switch to a plant-based diet wasn't easy. Most of the food and drink events the couple loved to attend revolved around meat, dairy, and eggs.
So what were they to do? Create their own festival, of course.
Thus was born Seed Food + Wine Week — a five-day extravaganza of plant-based food and drinks packed with events, celebrities, and swanky dinners à la the South Beach Wine & Food Festival but 100 percent vegan.
Now in its fourth year, the fest continues to grow. For this year's edition, which took place the first week of November, the team added a cruelty-free fashion show, held a 5K run hosted by former Miami Heat great Ray Allen, and organized a blogger summit for hundreds of vegan-friendly content creators from across the country. And while Seed is all about eating delicious food and hanging with veggie-loving celebs, it's also dedicated to the bigger picture — a move toward a more conscious, sustainable lifestyle for all.
"I think what excites Michelle and me is just the growth and excitement around this movement," Burgos says.
As the festival has blossomed, so has South Florida's plant-based community — and Burgos has become a leader in that movement. For the first time, Miami this year was named one of the top ten cities for vegans in the nation by VegNews. Burgos says she's humbled to see a growing group of locals sharing that journey with her.
"Four or five years ago, you wouldn't have believed this is where we would be as a community and a society," Burgos says. "And I don't think this is an anomaly here in South Florida. People are really starting to connect to the power of food and how those choices can really transform our health and our planet."
The community has evolved, Seed has burgeoned, and Gaber's and Burgos' lives have changed along the way.
"I think we all search for opportunities to live a life where you wake up really excited, and Michelle and I get to do that," Burgos says. "I'm not going to lie: It's superhard and there's a tremendous amount of sacrifice individually and as a family. There are times when it's been very stressful and very scary, but to have an opportunity to be a part of a collective and be part of something bigger than yourself, it's very powerful. We feel so grateful to have that opportunity."