If you're into all things Instagram, you might be familiar with Mela Torres. Known as compassionately.mela on IG, the 21-year-old vegan boasts a following of more than 50,000. Plants and positivity are her jam, and she serves as host of a series of local plant-based bike crawls that help introduce folks to Miami's veg scene.
Mela's February 4 crawl — which supports Lotus House — is all about the Wynwood Yard. Instead of biking from one spot to another, participants will stay onsite for food samples from Della Test Kitchen, Yoko Matcha, Radiate, and Mr. Bing.
A minimum $5 donation to Lotus House is required to join the fun, and guests should pay online in advance. Or attendees can purchase a $5 raffle ticket and get free admission.
The event will also feature a clothing drive to benefit Lotus House, a local nonprofit that helps homeless women and children. All funds raised at the event — through the raffle, admission, and drive — will be used to help purchase 36 iPads to help Lotus House kids with their education.
Raffle prizes will include a gift card from Bunnie Cakes, tickets to Seed Food & Wine Festival, reiki healing with Raven Marie, a membership to Innergy Meditation Studio, a wellness coaching session with Dr. Francesca Vazquez, and lots of other goodies.
Torres was inspired to start the crawls thanks to Action Club, a goal-oriented social group. "I had been talking about ways I wanted to share the amazing plant-foods scene in Miami and other places I visit, and they helped me come up with the idea for plant-based crawls! I’ve been vegan for a year, and every time people find out, the first thing they say is 'It must be hard to eat out,' but actually it's quite convenient. You just have to know where to go or what to order!"
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The Wynwood Yard came up as a venue idea when Torres was working on an interview about Della Test Kitchen for her Instagram account and newsletter. "While we were in contact, I was planning on my next crawl, so I figured I’d ask if Della Test Kitchen might be interested," Torres says. "Next thing I know, [Trina Sargalski of Pinzur PR] is naming off all the amazing plant-based options on the menus at the Yard, and I was like, 'Let’s just do this crawl at the Yard!'"
So who would be into this event? In Torres' words: "Anyone who can appreciate the beauty of their community, who wants to support people in need, and who loves good food."
People are encouraged to donate funds via the Lotus House website. Volunteers are also welcome and can call 704-883-6783 for more information.
Plant Foods Crawl for Lotus House
Noon Saturay, February 4, at the Wynwood Yard, 56 NW 29th St., Miami. Admission is a $5 minimum donation that can be made via lotushouse.org or at the event. Follow the event details on Facebook.