We are excited to be carrying Plant People products in the shop now. We wanted to learn a bit more about who was behind this emerging brand out of New York, so we sent some questions to Plant People co-founder Gabe Kennedy to get the scoop.
1. Tell us about the infamous “hike” that led you both to start Plant People.
Hudson, my co-founder and I, were just friends at the time. We were both upstate in the Catskills getting away from the city during the winter. Our mutual friend was hosting a nature retreat, so we spent the weekend crawling around and connecting to the land. We connected over the fact that we both had back surgeries and how we dealt with our respective trauma differently. We agreed that alternatives to traditional pharmaceuticals were the path forward. It was an ah-ha moment about the opportunity to share these solutions we had both found so helpful.
2. Can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds?
Both our backgrounds are in organic foods and plant-based products. I am a chef by trade, and have always found inspiration in plants and their ability to heal people and the planet. After going to Culinary school I went to Cornell hotel school, which lit my entrepreneurial spark. Since then I have been in and out of kitchens but also involved with organic food brands, media.
Hudson has always been in plant-based start-ups, from food and wine at Gilt Group to launching Aloha, then Rise coffee, and Crosby a branding firm, his experience is rooted in an entrepreneurial spirit.
We have such different skill sets, with the shared love of building things. We are incredible friends and business partners.
3. What are some of your favorite Plant People products? How are they different from other CBD products on the market?
My favorite is our Be Calm blend - it has the power of CBD, but also demonstrates the beauty of other herbs. The synergy of these adaptogens, tonics, nervines with CBD are a perfect solution for the residual stress and anxiety that comes with living a fast-paced life in a wild city. I really enjoy the capsules, because they celebrate the power that all plants have, not just cannabis.
4. You just released a new product, your ‘Stay Sharp’ capsules. Can you tell us a bit about these capsules and what their intended use is?
CBD has phenomenal benefits for neuroprotection. We felt this fundamental benefit was not being explored enough, so we paired the CBD with other herbs from eastern and western medicine and nootropics for a formula that is aimed at optimizing the brain. Some highlight ingredients include gotu kola, bacopa, ginkgo and rosemary. These herbs support the formation of neurons, as well as support the formation of long term and short term memories while enhancing focus. This product is here as an investment into brain health for now and later.
5. Education is king in this industry, we see that you guys are a part of a lot of local events. Why is it important for you to be out front and a face to your brand?
There is so much opportunity in this industry to change the planet - there is also so much stigma. We are working with a crop that has the potential to change the face of medicine, agriculture, textiles and more. Our goal is to get out there, pound the pavement and advocate for an equitable, industry that allows everyone to participate.
6. We love that you donate a percentage of your sales to the non-profit American Forests. Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose them and what they do?
For every product that we sell we plant one tree with American Forests. This is a token of our appreciation for the planet in which we inhabit and investment in supporting the ecological systems that give us so much. Climate change and coal mining have seriously impacted essential ecosystems, and as a plant-based brand we feel it is our responsibility to actively rebuild these environments. A pillar of our brand is ‘regeneration’ - for us this is regeneration of people and the planet. Regenerative agriculture is about investing in the whole ecosystem, increasing biodiversity, enriching soil and watersheds. How we source and the investment into forestries is part of our DNA.
7. The last question is a fun one. Can you give us a quick and easy recipe using your CBD Olive Oil?
Wintertime calls for some roasted yams and spice. This is one of my favorites.
Charred Chili Yams with Hazelnuts and Currants
Yams - 6 Each
Sherry Vinegar - 1 1/2 cup
Fresno Chiles - 5 each
Honey - 1/2 cup
Currants - 1/2 cup
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes or Aleppo - 1 tbsp
Hazelnuts - 1/2 cup toasted and crushed
Plant People EVOO - ¼ cup
Bake yams whole at 375 ℉ F till tender but still have a bite. While yams are baking bring the vinegar, honey, currants, chiles to a boil and let it reduce to a syrup, reserve. Check yams and cut them into 1/2'' thick rounds. Lay on oiled baking sheet and drizzle with more oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush 1/2 the honey mixture onto the yams. Bake at 375 ℉ till they start to caramelize, then flip them over and caramelize again. Place on platter and spoon remaining honey on top. Finish with chopped toasted hazelnuts and drizzle with CBD olive oil.