NYC’s Plant People Serves Up Serious Chill

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If SIXTY had its way, you’d be drinking a cold, CBD cocktail at our Make Believe lounge right now. Unfortunately, the powers that be (aka the Department of Health) have put the buzz on hold for the time being. The trendy ingredient—a won’t-get-you-high, will-keep-you-chill derivative of cannabis—is A-OK with the FDA, but not on the up-and-up according to the DEA. Rules vary from state to state, though you can buy it on the internet wherever you are. Confusion abounds. And so, here we are.

When CBD eventually gets the green light, you can be sure we’ll be making a beeline for Plant People, one of New York City’s finest purveyors of high-performance CBD supplements. Founders Gabe Kennedy and Hudson Gaines-Ross formed the company on the belief that conventional Western medicine is too often prescribed as an aggressive cure-all. Plant People seeks to provide plant-based solutions to our various modern ailments. Their products won’t regrow missing limbs, but they will help manage your stress, soothe sore muscles, optimize your cognitive functioning, and more. Why reach for the pill bottle when something natural will do?

Below, SIXTY chats to Gabe Kennedy and Hudson Gaines-Ross about mindful agricultural practices, non-negotiable triple tests, and the perils of Midtown Manhattan.

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What was your first experience with alternative or plant-based medicine:

GK: I grew up in a house where my mother was an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, and my father was a chiropractor and acupuncturist. My memory of alternative medicine started at a very young age. Whether I had a stomach ache or just “seemed off,” the alternative medicine was there to help. It wasn’t until I got severely injured in a ski race that I started getting treated on a regular basis, which helped me beyond belief.

HGR: When I was younger, I never ate vegetables. Never. It wasn’t until college that I started eating veggies. Because it was so new to my body, I really felt the nutrition and its impact on my health, physically and mentally. I started doubling down on plant- based everything from there and got so excited about the plant-based movement, I started ventures in the plant-based industry, from supplements to coffee.

Why go plant-based?

GK: For the health of your body and the planet. There is no doubt that eating more plants than animals is beneficial for one’s well-being and the environment. Now, I must say that I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, nor am I gluten-free or in ketosis. I don’t eat within any specific dietary restrictions, but I do eat mindfully. For me, this means understanding what the implications of my food choices are. I have found that the more I cook, the healthier and more mindfully I can eat!

Hudson Gaines-Ross, co-founder of Plant People.

How do you make sure the ingredients Plant People uses are quality?

GK: As a chef, I am rooted in the philosophy that good food (or a good product) is good agriculture. As the hemp industry is exploding (in a good way) it is imperative that we scale with sustainable, regenerative practices in mind. For us, this means that the agriculture practices follow organic and regenerative methods, and that the extraction methods are clean, safe, tested, and environmentally friendly. To ensure these systems, I spent the last two years working through our supply chain, meeting with farmers and extractors to ensure that we were investing in the systems we see imperative to the future.

HGR: We only work with the farms and manufacturers that have the utmost practices in their industry. We also triple test our ingredients and finished products. Non-negotiable.

Favorite Plant People product right now:

GK: Stay Sharp is our new blend of CBD with nootropics and adaptogens. It is great. Gives me a boost in the morning and carries my through the day. A fundamental benefit of CBD is neuro-protection, and this product doubles down on it. It helps in the long term formation of memories, focus, recall, circulation, and development of dendrites. I think it is important to invest in the health of your brain, and this does just that.

HGR: Without a doubt, our Stay Sharp capsules for daily brain performance. Helps me stay laser-focused on priorities without the stress.

Go-to website for CBD recipes:

GK: I would have to do a shameless plug to GabeKennedy.com. I write a bunch of recipes, and CBD can easily be added to all of them. Other than that, I love Missgrass. They are dear friends and always have incredible content.

Place in New York City you feel the most chill:

GK: My apartment. There is nothing like the comforts of home. Candles, meditation pillows, lots of tea to choose from…

HGR: Home. Period. It’s my oasis.

Place where you feel the least chill:

GK: Midtown subway stations. I just feel too integrated into “the system.” Pretty wild experience, but def not chill.

HGR: Midtown. I can’t stand that area. My stress levels are visibly higher.

A range of products from Plant People.

Place you go to escape outside of New York?

GK: I love making it to the beach out east, but I even enjoy a day-trip to Rockaway or Tilden. I also have a love for the Hudson Valley—always an incredible escape. The Catskills are magic and it always feels great to get some fresh air and mountain energy. Scribner’s Lodge or a friend’s house is always preferred. I guess I have a lot of favorites.

HGR: I’m grateful that my family has a home upstate. Always great to get out of the city and do nothing.

How do you see CBD growing in the next five years?

GK: I believe we are on the precipice of changing the face of agriculture, textiles, and medicine. The opportunities are endless. I think that with CBD, we are only scratching the surface of what cannabis and other plants have to offer. In a sense, I would almost consider CBD as a “gateway” to cannabis. I believe the landscape will be radically different. States will have legalized cannabis and hemp; there will be a plethora of products, in the packaged-good space, as well as medicine and other functional spaces like fashion and materials. It is an exciting time. I do feel passionately that it is important for us to recognize the history that this plant holds, and there are still people and communities that have been negatively impacted by the government’s position and systemic laws. As the space evolves, it is our responsibility to advocate for social justice, sustainable systems, and mindfulness, which creates an industry of equality and opportunity without compromising the well-being of people and the planet.

HGR: It’s not about the compound (CBD); it’s about cannabis. CBD alone will be a $22 billion-sized market by 2020. There’s CBG, CBN, THC, THCA, TCHV… so much to explore with the plant. People are also really investing time and resources into research around all plants. It’s a great time to be a plant… it’s their time to shine!

Photos by Atisha Paulson for SIXTY Hotels

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