Seed Food & Wine Week, the nation's first plant-based food and wine fest and a signature Miami event, just marked a milestone: year five.
The festival, named one of the top three wine festival in the U.S. by USA Today, has grown exponentially since its inception, expanding to include an LA edition too.
In honor of the fifth year of this plant-based smorgasbord, here are five memorable moments from the weeklong celebration:
1. A local eatery won Best Veggie Burger in America. For the fourth year in a row, chefs and eateries traveled from across the country to compete for the coveted title of Best Veggie Burger in America. Fort Lauderdale's Green Bar & Kitchen, led by chef Charlie Grippo, teamed up with Field Roast culinary master Tommy McDonald to create the BAD (Breakfast All Day) burger. It featured a Field Roast patty topped with Just Egg, a hash brown, and maple "bacon" atop a locally made L'Artisane Creative Bakery croissant. As far as crowd faves, Denver's Meta Burger won the top spot followed by Green Bar and Planta South Beach.
2. There was a public proposal. Right after winning the burger battle, Green Bar & Kitchen co-owner Charlie Grippo publicly proposed to partner Elena Pezzo. It also happened to be her birthday. Pezzo literally swooned (nearly fainting) in excitement, and the crowd went wild.
3. Celebs were all over the place. A-list vegan all-stars were roaming around Seed all weekend, making art, doing cooking demos, speaking on panels, hosting dinners, posing for photos, and chatting with fans. The list included bodybuilder Torre Washington (recent New Times cover model), chef Chloe Coscarelli, Bad Ass Vegan John Lewis, cookbook authors Caitlin Shoemaker (From My Bowl) and Jackie Sobon (Vegan Yack Attack), chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, and many more.
4. Vegan artist Constantin LeFou debuted a new installation. The street artist, who's famous for his Vegan Club creations starring celebrities, rolled out a new series of installations at Seed events. The "missing" posters featured the likeness of different animals, from baby turkeys to chickens to cows. The turkey piece, for example, reads "Missing Baby Turkey, last seen on
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5. Seed aimed for a zero-carbon footprint. This year, the festival partnered with volunteer students and a whole host of organizations in order to cut back on waste and reduce the event's environmental impact. There were recycling and composting bins, no plastic straws on
And, of course, there was the food. From two sold-out, chef-hosted dinners to an all-you-can-eat burger battle to a festival day with over 100 vendors, the week featured a massive quantity of plant-based eats. Donuts with edible glitter, chili cheese dogs, barbecue burgers, pepperoni pizzas, pitaya bowls, crab cake benedict, japchae noodles, churros with chocolate sauce, spicy tuna rolls, beet ceviche, jackfruit ropa vieja, and countless other options made it clear that vegans need never sacrifice on variety.
Seed cofounder Alison Burgos told New Times she was pleased with the success of this year's festival. "We're really in gratitude right now and feeling really proud of how the community came out and celebrated a plant-based lifestyle. From local artisan brands to national companies and everyone in between. From people who are vegans of 20 years to people who are just learning about eating a more whole food plant forward lifestyle, I saw kindness and connection and joy at the heart of each event, and we're so thankful for that."