Shop 20+ Vegan Brands at Summer Market Series

Reyes Tamales is one local Tex-Mex restaurant that will be on-site selling a selection of vegan tamales. Check them out on Facebook.

Writer: Karla Walsh

Each of the metro’s many farmers markets is packed with plants, true. But a new monthly market series is the epitome of plant-based: Every vendor at the monthly Vegan Summer Market showcases animal product-free items, from produce to protein powder and cinnamon rolls to cruelty-free lotions.

Before the pandemic, the nonprofit group VegLife Des Moines hosted a yearly indoor event called Des Moines VeganFest. (Read more about it and the organization’s president, Amy Luebbert, here.)

“From 2017 to 2019 [VeganFest] had grown from a small, humble event to a bustling day where 4,000 attendees were able to sample and shop from 50 vendors,” Luebbert says. “As the pandemic continued on, we knew we couldn’t go back to hosting a large indoor event.”

So in the spring of 2021, they decided to shape-shift that once-a-year indoor gathering to a monthly seasonal outdoor summer market. It launched last July, and is back for year two with monthly Sunday markets through September from noon to 3 p.m. at Cowles Commons (221 Walnut St.). Since it’s Sunday, street parking is free, and your next chance to attend is just days away—Sunday, June 26. Then mark your calendars for July 17, Aug. 14 and Sept. 18, the remaining 2022 vegan market dates. Each month, the commons will play host to a new lineup of makers, bakers and farmers, and an on-site fundraiser will benefit a handful of local causes focused on social justice, food access and more.

“People choose vegan items for a variety of reasons including their health, the environment or the rights of animals. Our market is perfect for a casual and leisurely shopping experience,” Luebbert says. Plus, she adds, “Cowles Commons has a wonderful fountain for splashing around in to keep cool.”

The complete list of June vendors include:

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