UP FOOD & CULTURE
Selma chefs & servers working with
volunteers from the Local Restaurant Co-op on their inaugural 2019 Chef & a Show series.
Supporting New Economies in Food + Culture
the Local Restaraunt Cooperative was one of two co-ops, along with the Local Farm Cooperative, started in 2018 as an experiment in building a local economy rooted in equity & cooperative economics. For the Local Restaurant, this has involved exploring three inter-related projects...
First, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Local Restaraunt held five pop-up food + culture events (concerts, live storytelling, & chef events) aimed at building solidarity & a different economy. Second, we also started a project of envisioning what might be possible if there was a space where these types of mash-ups of food & culture could happen regularly--this led to a book of architectural drawings, done in partnership with Tuskegee Univ. & Auburn Univ., of exactly that: a food & cultural center. Third, all throughout this time, we were also considering ways to use technology to bolster these economic projects, specifically through the idea of a cooperative food delivery app, owned by the drivers & restaurants--opposed to corporate executives in Silicon Valley.
The future of these three projects is uncertain at this point, but the rag-tag group of folks
involved have been seeing them through to their natural end-points--& regardless, we hope they fuel
other experiments in alternative, more equitable economies.
See more on these three efforts below...
Food + Culture
A scene from our Chef & a Show series, this one with Chef Callie Greer telling a story behind one of her famous dishes.
Find out more about the Rotating Chef & a Show Series here, where you can also see any other past events for the Local Restaurant Cooperative.
Our Cooperative Book
As it happens, even this book was a cooperative effort--architecture students from Tuskegee University and Auburn University (the only two architecture programs in AL) worked with the Local Restaurant Co-op for a semester to envision a community restaurant for Selma in the historic Sullivan Building. The book includes professional architectural drawings, but also sums the history up well, including key connections it has to Black history in Selma, from the Courageous 8 and Amelia and Samuel Boynton, to Dr. Bernard Lafayette and SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee).
See the book below (or in a larger window here) that the Local hopes the community might bring to life at some point--our plan (disrupted by COVID-19 up till now) has been to have participatory input sessions for the community, to see what they envision for this building. We extend our deep gratitude to Dr. Kwesi Daniels, Dept. Head of Architecture at Tuskegee, and Prof. Kevin Moore, Chair of Interior Architecture at Auburn--and their amazing students!--for partnering with us on this ongoing project.
the App Project
We had a contract with Radiate Consulting NC: A Tech Cooperative to develop a version of a cooperatively-owned food delivery app. It was a heavy lift and the project stalled due to funding and app limitations, but we learned a lot. Many thanks go out to a solid crew of volunteer software developers who helped get this to the point of the Radiate contract--Sara, Tyler, Jason, and Matt, SO many thanks.
Feel free to reach out to us using the contact info below if you would like to discuss any of this more!