Thanks to the lovely article published in last week’s The Stranger about my 30 Favorite POC-Owned and Operated Eateries, The Foodways Project has had an influx of traffic. When I published the map a month ago I never expected it to reach such a wide audience, which goes to show how vital it is to create intentional spaces for communities of color.
Up to this point, I’ve tried to lay low with personal identifiers on the website largely for privacy and safety reasons, which kind of fell to the wayside once my cheesy mug was printed in the paper. With wider visibility and some fantastic feedback from the community about the limitations of my food map (which I truly appreciate!), I wanted to give a little more BTS (behind the scenes) with an FAQ about myself and the project. I’m hoping this provides more context for the history and future of my work on The Foodways Project.
- The Foodways Project is 10 months old. I started this project after years of frustration with the lack of race/oppression consciousness in my field and a lifelong love for the exploration of food and story. The work of TFP is still very much in its infancy. As my consciousness deepens and radicalizes, so will TFP, but that also requires a community to challenges us and hold both of us accountable.
- Running TFP is not my full time gig and it is not a source of income. It’s truly a labor of love. I have visions of building this project out into something physical and tangible, but at this point, I struggle with even balancing TFP with my daytime gig. Admittedly, I’m spread a little thin.
- As of now, there is only one person behind TFP, which is largely due to my incapacity to dedicate my time to expanding the project. I am hyper aware of how singular the narrative is in the project and would love to find ways to grow the movement (while still maintaining some semblance of self-care).
- I don’t know everything. That should be pretty obvious (especially for those who know me personally and have experienced my absent-mindedness). But just in case, I want assert that I don’t ever, ever, ever want to come off as the expert on this. I want to acknowledge that I hold privilege and experience oppression that shapes my lens and filters every piece of TFP content. As such, I need your help to hold me and TFP accountable to the mission through feedback and dialogue.
- I created TFP to celebrate the beautiful parts of our communities and identities that are rooted in food. I’ve had both destructive and constructive relationships with food, which has led to a fascination with the dichotomous power of food. I started TFP because I see so much beauty and power in connecting to our foodways, in reclaiming our identities through food. I want this project to be an ongoing exploration of the energy and liberation food can provide, while acknowledging the systems and agents that use food to oppress.
With a little more background on where The Foodways Project came from and where I hope to take it, I wanted to announce two exciting bits of news!
First, I’m looking to expand this movement by bringing more voices and wisdom to TFP! As I mentioned above, The Foodways Project needs more voices, experiences, narratives, and wisdom in order to be a more inclusive and representative movement. In an exploration of how to grow the scope of the project I’m looking for content contributors to add new dimensions. If you’re interested, go check out how to Join the Movement!
Second, I’m building out the popular restaurant map with a crowdsourced directory! As suggestions and amendments for my original map came pouring I realized 1) the limitations of my map, 2) the need for a more inclusive, objective resource. The directory will give POC-owned/operated eateries to self-identify and be listed and to serve as a more comprehensive source of information for folks who want to move money towards economies of color. This is a big undertaking with our already limited capacity, but we’re excited to make this happen!