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Cartopia: Portland's Food Cart Revolutionby Kelly Rodgers and Kelley Roy
We Portlanders love our small neighborhoods of quirky livability, and the indie food carts exemplify some of that charm. Cartopia highlights some of the major pods (a cluster of three or more carts) and delves into the wellbeing of the food-cart realm. Every visitor or newcomer to Portland should get a copy of Cartopia as an introduction to the city, not just so that they can find some good eats, but so that they can understand the heart of the PDX spirit.
Synopses & Reviews
Portland has over 500 food carts, some clustered into "pods" in parking lots and others staking their solitary claim on the sidewalk. Artisanal, quirky, independent, and an exceptional value, these food carts are the perfect symbol of what Portland is all about. As authors Kelly Rodgers and Kelley Roy explore the factors that have placed Portland in the street food spotlight, they also document the personality and character of the Portland carts, and by extension, Portland itself. With photography by Andrew Burdick, Cartopia is a visual feast and celebration of food, architecture, creative entrepreneurship, and civic spirit.
"There are, of course, lots of... factors fertilizing Portland's food cart flowering," says Randy Gragg, Editor-in-Chief of Portland Monthly magazine. "And in their book Cartopia: Portland's Food Cart Revolution, Kelley Roy and Kelly Rodgers have discovered just about all of them, from the rise of Portland's increasingly internationally-renowned food movement to the normally rule-happy city regulators' surprising ambivalence about the carts. But the beauty of this book...is that they not only explain the 'why' of food carts, but, indirectly, the larger 'why' of Portland."
Street food has existed all over the country for decades in the form of hot-dog vendors, taco trucks, and the like. What makes Portland's street food scene so distinctive and appealing is the way vendors continually push the genre's traditional boundaries so that today, entire food cart villages have laid down roots and offer increasingly sophisticated and varied cuisine. After all, how many other places can you sample white truffle sea-salted fries, salmon fettuccini, perfectly seasoned Pad Thai, and the city's best espresso — all from a street vendor selling out of a bicycle, a truck, or even a World War II military mobile kitchen? It's fair to say that the food carts both stem from Portland's famed livability and contribute to it, forming another virtuous cycle of sorts.
A book documenting — through stories and photography — the perfect storm of Portland’s independent culture, artisan economy, and foodie scene that created the street food revolution.
About the Author
Kelly Rodgers and Kelley Roy have been collaborating on projects since they first met in 2001. Their bond runs deep: sometimes they complete each others' sentences and communicate via ESP. Kelly without the second E can be spotted riding around Portland on her trusty bicycle and Kelley with the E can be seen zipping around on her scooter Petunia. They both emerged from the world of urban planning relatively unscathed and now are making it their life mission to make cool stuff happen in Portland. Kelly without the E is an ideas person and often waves her hands around in wild gesticulation to draw an "air picture" of her thoughts. Although undiagnosed, Kelley with the E suffers from a disorder that does not allow her to do just one thing at a time; she suspects the extra E in her name may be responsible.
and now for the official story…
Kelly Rodgers is the principal of Confluence Planning. Since moving to Portland in 1995, Kelly has worked in a variety of areas to support the development of a sustainable city, including neighborhood planning, green infrastructure, community design, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation. In other words, she has been working to create cities where people know their neighbors, where resources are used efficiently, where people don't have to get in the car to meet their basic needs, and where it's possible to work collaboratively on creative energy, food, and housing solutions. Kelly's relationship with food carts began simply as a cartivore, but her interest was piqued further by their rapid growth and their increasingly elaborate street presence. She has grown to appreciate food carts not only for their architectural personality and contribution to street life, but also for their role in the artisan economy.
Kelley Roy curates DEPARTMENT, a collaborative art and design space in the heart of Portland's Central Eastside Industrial District, and provides business and marketing consulting services for Portland's homegrown creative industries through her firm Sassafras Consulting. She thoroughly enjoys working with creative Portlanders who want to make a living doing what they love, and whole-heartedly believes that the term "starving artist" needs to removed from our cultural mindset. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, Kelley's love affair with Portland began over 15 years ago and shows no sign of stopping. She even tried to leave twice, both times relocating to great cities (Austin and NYC), but Portland lured her back with its authentic, independent, and infinitely innovative approach to food, music, community, and life in general. Her hope is to curate a boxed set about Portland culture, with Cartopia being the first of many. For more information about Kelley see artdeptpdx.com and sassafraspdx.com
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