I am currently strapped into an airline seat, soaring farther above the earth than I want to overthink. But it means that I finally have time to get you caught up on recent happenings. Hello May, you snuck up on me.
Where did we leave off? I think I meant to give you a heads up about the media blitz that happened in March and early April after Seed20. Apparently all of that pitch practice paid off and I’m getting some local media attention, all bunched up together. Kinda wish we could streeeeetch it out a little but with any luck and a whole lot of work from our emerging village there will be many more stories to tell.
I have to tell you this though… on Wednesday March 21st I showed up for a meeting at 7th Street Market and came face to face with ME on the cover of Creative Loafing. We were wearing the same outfit right down to the accessories. Covergirl Me was asking In the Flesh Me if I was hungry. At that moment I was not. In fact it was just about enough to make me a day drinker. Or to whip out my cloak of invisibility, which I must have left a home with my wig and sunglasses.
After I got over myself and actually read the amazing article by Keia Mastriani, I learned that I am leaving the Atherton Market. I did a little soul searching to determine whether this might be divine intervention and permission to move on a little sooner than I planned, but ultimately I let Kathleen Purvis at the Observer share the news that I am not in fact leaving. Yet. But all of the other stuff in the CL article is in fact true, and has been a great exercise for me in learning to take a compliment.
Natural Awakenings also published a generous and very factual (I know because I wrote it) interview in their April issue, along with my very favorite Seed20 picture. This girl is rocking the J.T. Posh boutique find, which I also incidentally wore for my Seed20 pitch. Dresses like that don’t come along very often. And those boots. Which I wore just for you, Charlie.
So what’s really happening? Here it is in a nutshell. We had a first stakeholder meeting two weeks ago, to bring together potential partners in building the district components. Working groups evolved and the results of the human centered design exercises will help drive three things: the food assessment, the next steps toward tangible successes, and business model canvasses for the food hub, the culinary incubator, and education around urban agriculture.
Meetings to procure funding for the assessment and planning process are underway, and with any luck through interactions with my friends in Portland and other interested parties in our fair city we’ll take a giant step toward being ready for action on that before summer begins.
This trip to Portland is to spend some time with people from other cities and our friends at the Knight Foundation looking at how Portland integrates local businesses and public spaces into great community gathering spaces. How do we do that in Charlotte? I’d put the Atherton Market and 7th Street out there as examples. As well as the food truck rallies, microbreweries, and some of our parks. But those destinations and events lack at least one glaring thing. Cultural diversity.
We’re about to land. Stay tuned for my report of what happened in Portland and what could happen in Charlotte as a result. Simon sez we are about to take two giant steps forward.