National vendor conference coming!

15 Feb 2010

With random towns like Roanoke, Virginia proposing to legalize hot dog carts, street vending fever is sweeping the nation. In most cities, however, vendors are not yet organized, which means we get emails like this, from a woman looking for a vendor support group in Minneapolis. We discussed this issue on the Village Voice food blog last week.

Until now, there hasn't been much we can do -- we don't know anybody in Minneapolis! But, on May 14 and 15th, SVP is co-sponsoring "Contesting the Streets" the first-ever vendor conference in the U.S., at UCLA. We're trying to find  vendor groups around the country to attend. Here's a flyer in English and Spanish. Please help circulate!

UPDATE: Here's an interesting article on the Street Vendors Association of Chicago. We're hoping they can send someone to the conference.

3 Responses to “National vendor conference coming!”

  1. Cuisine Bonne Femme February 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    I’m curious about how many vendors you’ll be getting from cities where food carts as an industry are still rather divergent and disorganized.

    For example, in Portland, Oregon, a small city in comparison, we have over 400 food carts but there is no vendor association or even vendor group.

    I think a big issue is really that the cities that don’t have organized vendor groups are the ones that need them the most. Being the founder of Food Carts Portland, a very active website about food carts in, you guessed it – Portland, I would suggest doing direct outreach to individual food cart owners. We have many vendors that read food carts portland. We’d also be more than happy to post something from you all about this.

    I think the other issue of getting vendors to the conference is funding. As we know, street vendors generally do not have the budgets or time to go to out of state conferences. Thus, what worries me about this conference is the economic exclusion for many vendors whom I’m certain would love to attend – and could greatly benefit from and enhance the conference overall.

    Would love to talk to you about it as there might be funding available for some cart vendors to attend from Portland.

    We have a thriving and growing cart scene in Portland. In an unusual twist, the City government is actually very supportive of the carts, rather than against them. Even to the point of having a City food cart advisory committee (which includes actual cart owners), offering clear and central permitting, and offering city sponsored public grant and funding, often administered through immigrant micro-economic development programs (such as Mercy Corps NW). I think other vendors and cities could learn a lot from Portland, but I think Portland can also learn a lot from other cities – especially when it comes to vendor run organizations.

    I’m also working with the City of Cleveland, Ohio on something similar. I’d love to share my knowledge. Let us know how we at Food Carts Portland can participate.

  2. Andrea Marx March 1, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Dear Cuisine Bonne Femme,
    I am in the process of trying to establish a stationary outdoor food court as you have with your various stalls in Portland here in Denver CO. The city ordinances prohibit any mobile carts/trucks in Denver County except for the city owned carts on the street corners, where food is only allowed when purchased through their providers. My concept is to bring the “Cadillac” of exterior stationary carts offering cuisine that represents some of the fab Colorado products.

    Getting some up front pointers would be so very valuable. Could I organize a phone appointment before I meet wit the Business Development Dept. I had a 2 hour session with a SCORE counselor last week which was most helpful. You seem to be the predominant trail blazer in Cartology west of Texas and I would welcome talking. I have read the Rethinking Urban Spaces.

    Andrea Marx

  3. Used Tires March 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    That food cart actually looks pretty good 🙂

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