Congrats to Julian Agyeman, Caitlin Matthews, and Hannah Sobel for pulling together the great new edited volume called Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice: From Loncheras to Lobsta Love, published by MIT Press. Here's an overview from the publisher's page:
The food truck on the corner could be a brightly painted old-style lonchera offering tacos or an upscale mobile vendor serving lobster rolls. Customers range from gastro-tourists to construction workers, all eager for food that is delicious, authentic, and relatively inexpensive. Although some cities that host food trucks encourage their proliferation, others throw up regulatory roadblocks. This book examines the food truck phenomenon in North American cities from Los Angeles to Montreal, taking a novel perspective: social justice. It considers the motivating factors behind a city’s promotion or restriction of mobile food vending, and how these motivations might connect to or impede broad goals of social justice.
The contributors investigate the discriminatory implementation of rules, with gentrified hipsters often receiving preferential treatment over traditional immigrants; food trucks as part of community economic development; and food trucks’ role in cultural identity formation. They describe, among other things, mobile food vending in Portland, Oregon, where relaxed permitting encourages street food; the criminalization of food trucks by Los Angeles and New York City health codes; food as cultural currency in Montreal; social and spatial bifurcation of food trucks in Chicago and Durham, North Carolina; and food trucks as a part of Vancouver, Canada’s, self-branding as the “Greenest City.
I collaborated with my colleague Matthew Gebhardt and former Master's of Urban Studies student Alex Novie on a chapter in it called "Is it Local... or Authentic and Exotic? Ethnic Food Carts and Gastropolitian Habitus on Portland's Eastside", based on Alex's thesis research. Here's a post-print version of our chapter, but better yet, pick up a copy of the book to read about food trucks not just in Portland, but also in LA, NYC, Montreal, Vancouver, and beyond!
I'm proud to announce that several of my students past and present, have exciting news!
Erin Goodling successfully defended her dissertation! It's called "Grassroots Resistance in the Sustainable City: Portland Harbor Superfund Site Contamination, Cleanup, and Collective Action".
Melanie Malone also just successfully defended her dissertation, entitled "Using Critical Physical Geography to Map the Unintended Consequences of Conservation Management Programs". She's headed off to a faculty position with a liberal arts undergraduate program called The Oregon Extension.
Dillon Mahmoudi has accepted a tenure-track position in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he'll be rocking the spatial analysis and geovisualization worlds with his cutting edge contributions to critical GIS... he successfully defended his thesis a few weeks ago, entitled "Making Software, Making Regions".
Congrats, Drs. Goodling, Malone, and Mahmoudi !!!
And there's more...
Mike Simpson, now a PhD candidate in geography at UBC, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to spend next year in the Department of Geography at the University of Minnesota, where he'll be working on his dissertation research on indigeneity, and pipelines. His project is entitled: "Capillaries of Capital: Neoliberal Natures, Leaky Sovereignties, and Poltical Ecologies of Pipelines".
And last but not least, Diana Denham received a prestigious Grassroots Development Field Research Fellowship from the Inter-American Foundation, which will fund her dissertation research in Oaxaca. Her project is entitled: "The Persistence of Indigenous Markets in Mexico’s “Supermarket Revolution".
Congrats to all! You make me really proud!
PSU-led food policy research to explore link between urban gardens and gentrification
Author: Laura Gleim, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Posted: December 10, 2015
It’s no secret that urban farms and gardens are core to Portland’s identity as one of the most sustainable cities in the world. What’s maybe lesser known is that those young patches of kale and cabbage are often entangled in processes of gentrification and displacement.
With a $249,978 grant from the National Science Foundation, a binational research team led by Nathan McClintock, Portland State University assistant professor of urban studies and planning, will examine the complex relationship between urban agriculture and gentrification in two ultra-green North American cities: Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The three-year study, “Urban agriculture, policy making, and sustainability,” aims to shed light on how urban agriculture policy-making practices both contribute to and resist inequitable access to resources and features that make a neighborhood more sustainable—such as affordable housing, parks, healthy food, and transportation options.
“When we look at urban renewal and gentrification issues, urban agriculture can be part of the problem and part of the solution,” McClintock said. “Gardens offer so many benefits to communities, but what we see is that an increase
in gardens often indicates that an area is gentrifying and that longtime residents are getting priced out of their neighborhoods. Often, the gardens themselves ultimately get bulldozed for condo construction.”
But McClintock says many urban agriculture practitioners are aware of how it contributes to gentrification and are getting involved in equity policy and planning efforts. "We’re interested in how engagement with urban agriculture and food policy differ between various demographic groups and city to city,” he said.
McClintock and his co-investigators Eugene McCann and Christiana Miewald, professors of geography at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, will also look at how the motivations for gardening differ across race, class, and gender lines, which McClintock says can have implications for the type of outreach and language policy makers and city planners use when deploying resources that support people in a more equitable way to grow their own food.
The study builds upon McClintock’s previous work funded by the PSU Institute for Sustainable Solutions that mapped urban gardens in Portland and revealed that gardens often crop up in neighborhoods experiencing gentrification.
McClintock has also done comparative research on urban agriculture policy and practice in Montreal, Canada, and last September led a binational field course that explored issues of urban gardens, community activism, and gentrification. The course was composed of graduate students from both Portland and Montreal, and was funded by PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions and the Government of Québec’s Ministry of International Relations.
Keep up with McClintock and his work on his website, urbanfood.org.
I'm a little behind in posting about UrbanFood in the news...
Back in July, I was interviewed by the online news magazine OZY . They wanted my opinion a capital-intensive, high-tech hydroponic contraption. In addition to the article, part of their series called The Good Sh*t, they made a little video about the story which you can watch here. I got to be the crotchety academic who rhetorically asks: “But who actually has access to these resources?”
Today, the Portland Tribune posted a story about our Agriculture MTL-PDX field course. Here's a snippet:
Graduate students at Portland State University recently gave their counterparts from Montreal, Canada, a grand tour of the city — not of the food scene, but the urban gardens, which both cities are famous for. Eight PSU graduate students took eight Canadian graduate students to meetings and site visits at some of Portland’s best-kept secrets: urban gardens that have sprouted in recent years to help fight hunger, empower low-income residents, educate children, and give youth and adults access to healthy food right in their backyard or neighborhood. It’s fascinating stuff for planners, since it is a byproduct of gentrification in hot spots like Portland, says Nate McClintock, the PSU assistant professor who spearheaded the student exchange. “Essentially, urban agriculture arises where there’s vacant land, cheap land, a low market rate or wherever food justice activity pops up,” McClintock says. “So many of these projects produce food to address the so-called food desert.” The aim of the exchange, he says, was for students to understand “how entangled urban agriculture is with processes and change and gentrification.”
Don't forget to visit the class website if you haven't already!
Nathan McClintock is a geographer and professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University.