The Coast News Group
Michelle May, president and founder of Vegan Food Popup and Seva Foods. Courtesy photo
Michelle May, president and founder of Vegan Food Popup and Seva Foods. Courtesy photo
ColumnsSoul on Fire

Are you vegan curious?

Many people look into a plant-based diet because of health issues, and others have compassion for animals. A vegan lifestyle creates less environmental damage and consumes fewer resources.

Factory farming has devastating effects on water, air pollution, deforestation and gas emissions and is not sustainable because it uses so much water and land.

Going vegan immediately cuts your CO2 emissions in half and spares countless animals a lifetime of suffering on factory farms.

So if we are going to make a change, we need to be the change.

Curious how and needing to know where to start? Have you looked into a Vegan Food Popup?

One San Diegan has been contributing to the plant-based and vegan movement for decades.

Michelle May, a born and raised vegetarian and full vegan since 2011, has created delicious vegan food for countless homes in North County and is the founder of Seva Foods, an innovative, freeze-dried, dairy-free vegan ice cream.

Before founding Seva Foods in 2017, she was a recipe developer and provided community cooking classes, nutrition workshops and private chef services.

“It is my joy to share my passion for the healing properties of food with others,” May says.   

Being a vegan in a non-vegetarian world caused May to become experimental as she extrapolated from various menus to find sustainable, plant-based choices. She knew she was on to something as the demand became too great for her services and there were only so many hours in the day.

Wanting to reach more people, in 2019, the first North County Vegan Food Popup came to Encinitas in the old Seaside Bazaar lot on 101.

Promoting other passionate businesses that were thoroughly sustainable, plant-based and vegan was met with solid support from the public, with over 1,000 people attending this exciting food festival. It was an instant success … until COVID-19.

Rebirthing in a big way, Michelle has been on a mission to educate the public with diverse, experiential dining, and her pop-up events have been gaining in popularity since their inception.

The Vista Vegan Food Popup, hosted the first Friday of the month, 5-9 p.m., is the only nighttime event. Close, free parking and a casual, laid-back, family- and dog-friendly atmosphere.

Dozens of food vendors line the walkway with tantalizing treats ranging from Thai food to donuts and everything in between. The Local Roots Boochyard brewery shares the patio area and offers heaters and fire pits.

“Most people would never realize the food is vegan, as these vendors offer incredible taste, creative offerings and affordability to our visitors,” May says proudly. May has curated each of these vendors, mainly from Southern California, and has carefully vetted each one.

“Everyone involved enjoys creating with food and knows the power each of us has to introduce healthy, pleasurable and nutritional items for people to discover. It has become a way of life, and veganism is really a worldview in that everything is connected. We can protect ourselves and protect our planet by taking steps to bring more plant-based foods into our households and our bodies.”

The North Park Vegan Food Popup has been a community hit, with record crowds attending even in a rain shower last week. Popping up every other Saturday from noon to p.m., this event also offers an array of sustainable vendors with crafts and services to explore while munching on the fantastic offerings of the dozens of vegan food vendors.

I am excited to report that this spring, May is also picking up the reins to bring Earth Day back to Balboa Park on Saturday, April 22.

Described as “a pop-up on steroids,” this festival is shaping up to have a vast diversity in the types of vendors, healthy food and ethnic offerings, with over 125 vendors and several stages of all-day entertainment.

Be sure to sign up for Michelle’s newsletter when you visit and so you can stay informed of the many gatherings she has planned throughout the year and experience food and fun in a festival setting.

Take your curiosity to the next level and check out one or all of these amazing events that showcase the best plant-based food in one place.

Then take those ideas and employ them at home with your own family so that we can help the planet be a better place for all inhabitants with the food choices we make.