At 11 am on a blazing hot Sunday in downtown Berkeley, a crowd of eager festival-goers had already formed a line trailing around the block. Rows of vendors packed the block, selling everything from piping hot soul food to delicate homemade candles to brightly colored crop tops. The only things these stalls had in common was their commitment to veganism. Bizerkeley is Berkeley's must-visit annual vegan festival, hosted by Erika Hazel, vegan food critic and activist, who proves once again that vegan food and lifestyle is an intersectional celebration of creativity, sustainability, and culture. The following vendors I visited each had a unique perspective on what veganism and their business meant to them.

Vegan Girl Gang

Remi Tateishi

Vegan Girl Gang is a BIPOC women-owned business that sells clothes, 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. 

The owner of the shop, 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. 

Miyoko's Creamery

Remi Tateishi

Priding itself on food artistry, Miyoko's Creamery refuses to box itself in as "vegan cheese" - instead, it is an extension of any other type of cheese, meant as a delicious complement 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 agriculture and flavorful taste. It hopes to inspire consumers to switch to plant dairy and butter, thus paving the way for more sustainable agriculture, through their well-crafted products.

#Spoontip: Try their two types of vegan Mozzarella! Their liquid mozzarella goes great on top of pizza, and the cashew milk mozzarella is a game-changer in your caprese salads

Hooray foods

Remi Tateishi

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 in your closest Whole Foods. Hooray's mission is to spread joy through food and to show you can still enjoy the foods you love without sacrificing your health, the environment, or animal lives.

Erika Hazel's goal to connect vegan vendors with hungry consumers has created an event that celebrates diversity in veganism and highlights small businesses in the local community. Every vendor she selected was passionate, innovative, and talented. Wherever you may fall on the plant-based eating spectrum, Bizerkeley is sure to surprise you at how far veganism has come.