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June 2017 M T W T F S S « Aug 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Whoa… pretty excited…now, it has been pointed out to me that the arrow is pointing in the wrong direction… There may be some wisdom in this. I had intended it to direct people to the entrance, around the corner, but looking at the pictures, it would have been awesome had the arrow pointed directly at the food cart. What can I say, it’s an un-drive thru: confusing and inconvenient….. ermmmmm….
First customers….. ‘Where’s the meat?’
On leaving, I did not strap the signs down to the roof of the van properly.. As we drove off, the arrow and one other sign blew off the roof and into the path of an oncoming funeral procession… Here they are receding into the distance after being treated to the sight of Trish and I stopping 3 lanes of traffic in order to retrieve the signs… which of course are huge and so had to be wrestled into submission in the middle of a windy street, while the funeral procession watched. Not sure if they saw the funny side….
note the crazed look in my eyes…
Trish tried to be angry, but she didnt mean it..
Business was steady, people stopped out of curiosity and seemed happy to stay for a while. Most people assumed I was a business, interesting.
it was too windy for my big menu board.
Interactions felt much more natural.. people came and went, they were attracted by the bright colours, had a lot of questions about the food itself and why the space in particular which gave me an opportunity to talk about the history of community gardening in the area. People talked about how bad the local kroger is ( sorry kroger) and how they had difficulty accessing fresh food. With that came some discussion of the highway system and how the area had been divided with the construction of i670. Almost everybody though had some connection to growing food, a memory of a family member, most often a grandmother, who had a garden. A couple who were stranded after running out of gas came and spent the best part of an hour with us, Rebecca ended up providing us with an excellent recipe for chicken stir fry and left with hugs when Trish offered to take them to buy some gas so they could get back on the road.
Several people asked if I would be in the same spot again. This got me thinking about revisiting spaces.. This is an excellent location, you wouldn’t think it, but it is a highly visible corner with a lot of traffic. I wonder if the owners of the lot who run June Bug’s Grown Folk’s Lounge next door would be open to letting me erect more permanent signage on the lot. Then I could hold scheduled events once a month or so, without having to carry huge cardboard signs. They actually showed up at one point and were pretty chilled about us being on their property, so maybe they would be open to something like that. The fire chief turned up too, but claimed to be ‘just killing time’ and refused to eat anything, saying he was on a diet. I checked, he was chomping on come celery and an apple, so I left him alone.
I am starting to get a sense of momentum. Several people left their information, saying they wanted to come to a future event, and also had ideas for places in their neighborhood to do it. I can’t wait for it to stop raining for longer than 5 minutes so that I can get out and do it again. Also, once the growing season gets underway, there will be plenty of lovely fresh food to cook with.
i feel like I am designing a set. set design, thats it! i missed my calling…
just so you know, that sign is 83 inches across. whoa. also WRONG DATE! FRIDAY MAY 6TH IS THE ACTUAL DATE!
persuade a friendly corner store owner to rent a patch of outside wall. Use wall to sell fresh produce.
(divert the stream of people who already frequent the corner store on their way in.)
Partner with a local community garden so that the money all stays hyper local.
demonstrate feasibility to shopkeeper of selling fresh produce.
I have spent that last few days processing Fridays event. Here’s how it went:
I fed about 5-6 people walking by and another 6-8 people in their cars. That’s right, people really like eating in their cars!
Cars were stopped at the traffic light, and that kind of provided a captive audience for long enough to run over, give a 20 second spiel and thrust a plate of food into their hands.
Also, people seemed more inclined to engage from the comfort of their vehicle… A lot of people wound down their windows to ask what we were doing. Actually, the car interaction is kind of the most interesting thing to have happened, in my opinion. But more about that later.
People were pleased and surprised to be told they could keep the plates
Passers by were less easy to engage, they had to be chased a lot of the time.
I need more signs… I had been worried about putting up signs with specific times/dates/info as to the gray area of legality and I didnt want to attract too much attention. NEXT TIME HOWEVER, SIGNS WILL BE ABUNDANT!
Amanda was a total hero for running to Lowes and busting out a quick ‘Free Lunch’ sign, which her, Nicki and Kayane took turns waving in front of passing cars and pedestrians.
The police rolled by and asked what I was selling, on hearing the magic words ‘Not selling anything, would you like some food’ they seemed satisfied and went on their way. SLightly disappointed that I did not get to feed the police.
– I got berated by an elderly homeless gentleman for not serving any meat
– A few people shared recipes
– a lot of people don’t trust a free lunch
-But, the food tasted good.
– Several positive comments along the lines of ‘Oh, I am glad you are doing something positive in this space’
– A very nice lady gave me a kiss
-neon good. Casters bad.
– I did not forget anything, I even remembered salt and sanitiser
It was really important for that I tried this ‘cold’ approach. However it certainly highlighted some of the barriers to participation that people might have. You have to make it really easy for people to engage with you. For instance, where I first set up was set back slightly from the street, and this increased the distance that people had to cross in order to come and see what was going on. After we moved the cart closer to the street, there was a noticeable rise in participation. However, it is hard to have a sustained interaction with someone in this situation, especially for me, as the person doing the cooking.
I am looking forward to April 30th when I am taking part in a larger arts event in the community garden at the Godman Guild. That will be a great opportunity to connect with people and hopefully collect recipes and maybe even persuade someone else to share and cook a recipe at a future event. At some point I would like to be able to hand off the cooking to others in order to facilitate greater exchange and investment.
In between now and then though, it is important for me to bounce off of Friday and continue with this process of learning by doing. I am intrigued by the car thing. I feel like, if people are so comfortable in their cars, then maybe I should try meeting them where they are. The next step is to create an installation that references a drive thru and serve food to people in their cars.
LOCATION- must be by a traffic light in a place where traffic gets stopped for a few minutes, in an area of high traffic and where sprawl is prevalent
FOOD- instead of catering to the eating in car habit, the food served should be food that is not designed to be gulped down while on the move. Probably something much the same as what was served on friday… And, served on real plates, with real silverware. Prepared off site.
LOOK- a fake drive thru window & menu board, myself and Trish only, wearing uniforms and headsets….
AFTER ALL THIS, I FEEL LIKE I JUST REACHED THE BEGINNING OF THE PROJECT
Big thanks to Crystal and Kayane for video/photo work.