By 11 a.m. on a scorching Sunday in downtown Berkeley, a crowd of eager festival-goers had already formed a line around the block. Rows of vendors filled the block, selling everything from soul-scorching food to delicate homemade candles to brightly colored crop tops. The one thing these booths had in common was their commitment to veganism. Bizerkeley is Berkeley’s unmissable annual vegan festival, hosted by vegan food critic and activist Erika Hazel, which once again proves that vegan food and lifestyle is an intersectional celebration of creativity, sustainability and of the culture. The following vendors I visited each had a unique perspective on what veganism and their business meant to them.
Vegan girl gang
Vegan Girl Gang is a BIPOC women-owned business that sells clothing, accessories, and more. Inspired by y2k fashion and 2000s icons such as Hillary Duff and Lizzie McGuire, Vegan Girl Gang aims to show you can be vegan without sacrificing your fashion or culture. Promoting intersectionality in veganism, Vegan Girl Gang aims to encompass both human rights and animal rights.
Shop owner Tyra hopes their shop demonstrates that veganism doesn’t mean conforming to certain foods or styles – it’s also important to recreate elements and stay true to yourself.
Priding itself on the art of cooking, Miyoko’s Creamery refuses to advertise itself as “vegan cheese” – rather, it’s an extension of any other type of cheese, intended as a delicious addition to every table, vegan or non-vegan.
Miyoko’s Creamery’s European-style butter has been featured in collaborations with Michelin chefs such as Dominique Crenn, and has extended its products to restaurants and wineries, combining sustainable farming with great taste. He hopes to inspire consumers to switch to plant-based dairy and butter, paving the way for more sustainable agriculture, through their well-designed products.
#SpoonTip: Try their two types of Vegan Mozzarella! Their liquid mozzarella goes great on pizza, and the cashew milk mozzarella is a game-changer in your caprese salads.
Long live the food
Hooray’s only product is vegan bacon – but it makes vegan bacon like no other. Crispy, salty and chewy, this bacon is the perfect addition to any BLT and can be found at your nearest Whole Foods. Hooray’s mission is to spread joy through food and show that you can still enjoy the foods you love without sacrificing your health, the environment, or the lives of animals.
Erika Hazel’s goal of connecting vegan vendors with hungry consumers has created an event that celebrates the diversity of veganism and spotlights small businesses in the local community. Every supplier she selected was passionate, innovative and talented. Wherever you find yourself on the plant-based eating spectrum, Bizerkeley is sure to surprise you with how far veganism has come.