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Dispatches from Bookcation: Pocket Parks, Dinner and Bikes and Food Deserts

Greetings from Bookcationland. For the record, I do want to establish, that I am writing the book. However, one must sometimes live an experience before they put it out. So what have I been doing to live my experience in the last week or so? Here goes.

First off, we had another City Market, this time, around the theme of Wheels. I am proud to have been on an early steering committee for this great community festival. Thanks to running into one friend,who was staffing the tent for charity, I ended up checking out the Boba House Vegetarian tent. I’d been there before thanks to a gift card, but found the crab amazing and the fried chicken lacking. However, what ever is in the BBQ/Teriyaki sauce is amazing and I have to say that I might give tofu a chance again every once in a while. Check out this sweet painted banner that greeted everyone at the entrance.

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Then on Saturday, I dropped by the Power to the People’s Transit event, organized by fellow local tactical urbanist Ryan Saunders. There were four great rootsy bands, a cute pocket park and a bus hanging out for people to try out. Oh and check this wooden sign out:

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Nothing says tactical urbanism right like a hand-painted, wooden billboard/white board to collect ideas and promote sponsors. There were also folks painting murals right around the corner. Unfortunately, due to the heat and the fact that I had a ton to do on Saturday, I sat here, and finished a couple of chapters of Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a great story of the first hand experience of Nigerian immigrants to the US and UK over the span of the last 15 years. 

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Meanwhile, I meandered down to Durham on Monday night to catch Dinner and Bikes with the wonderful bike advocate/book and movie making collective of Microcosm Publishing. I’d been following and tweeting both Elly Blue and Joe Biel for a while and enjoyed getting to know more about their books and watching segments of Aftermass:Bicycling in a post-Critical Mass Portland. Oh and quite a bit of the vegan food was good. I’m more of a pescatarian (still working on the protein balance) but it was good to know how to cook veggies and have them actually taste good. Check some scenes from the evening below:

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Fell ill and missed my monthly transit board meeting, but I was able to get back in the saddle yesterday (Wednesday) and attend this panel on food deserts put on by SynerG, our local organization for engaging young professionals into civic life. And yes, as several of you saw on social media, the chart below is real. The measurement is the USDA measurement of no major supermarkets, but for many of these folks, they would love to have what others in our community have, namely the supermarket on every corner of the stroad. Or even better, a supermarket in walking distance. Even more compelling was that all the panelists were under 40 and already making head-roads into fixing our food desert problem. Check out the map image below.

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And finally, about the book. I’ve gotten a couple new essays written. In addition, for those of you who just want these essays in your inbox click here. As much as I love doing the North Carolina Placebook, I know for many of you, you’d rather read something from me in a more national or universal vein. Plus, folks who join the email list now will get podcast episodes as soon as they come out, along with special goodies when the book hits the streets. Once again, sign up here for the new and improved The Black Urbanist email list.

And with that, I’m back to working on that podcast episode I owe you guys. Promise it’s coming soon!

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