Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice
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.”
Julian Agyeman, Sean Basinski, Jennifer Clark, Ana Croegaert, Kathleen Dunn, Renia Ehrenfeucht, Emma French, Matthew Gebhardt, Phoebe Godfrey, Amy Hanser, Robert Lemon, Nina Martin, Caitlin Matthews, Nathan McClintock, Alfonso Morales, Alan Nash, Katherine Alexandra Newman, Lenore Lauri Newman, Alex Novie, Matthew Shapiro, Hannah Sobel, Mark Vallianatos, Ginette Wessel, Edward Whittall, Mackenzie Wood
About the Editors
Julian Agyeman is Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. He is the coeditor of Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press) and other books.
Caitlin Matthews holds master’s degrees in Urban and Environmental Policy and in Agriculture, Food, and Environment at Tufts University.
Hannah Sobel holds a Master of Arts in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and a Master of Science in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from Tufts University