It’s been a little over a year since we published Cartopia: Portland’s Food Cart Revolution. Since that time, we’ve sold almost 3,000 books in Portland, across the country, and even in Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, and Poland!

Early on, Cartopia was featured in Portland Monthly Magazine (and our introduction was written by Randy Gragg, Portland Monthly Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief). That coverage, plus our television interviews on KPTV and KGW, helped us with a successful launch of the book. Nationally, Cartopia was featured on Mobile Magazine, the online magazine for street vending, and was reviewed this month in Planning Magazine, the magazine of the American Planning Association. And even internationally, Cartopia was reviewed by the online Dutch magazine, The Pop-Up City.

What People Are Saying
From Charles Heying, author of Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy: “Kelley Roy and Kelly Rodgers take us back to the future, to the city as a local place with distinctive food, personal interaction, and lively social spaces; a place where immigrant artisans and enterprising culinary school grads gain a foothold in a rough and tumble economy; a place where the colorful, quirky, aromatic carts challenge the gray and formal structures that surround them, suggesting a new direction, a more flexible and adaptable economy that may be as close as the cart around the corner. ”

From Chris Smith, Portland Planning Commission: “…the excellent ‘Cartopia’ by Kelly Rodgers and Kelley Roy … has helped fill in my understanding of why food carts have blossomed here in Portland and what their impact on the economy is.”

From Joelle Payet of The Pop-Up City: “This small book is much more than a guide, it is also a fine introduction to the food carts phenomenon. CARTopia helped me to understand the history of food carts in Portland and their unique role in the local economy and the urban landscape.”

We’ve been honored to give dozens of presentations and tours on the subject. Food writers associated with the James Beard Foundation, the Congress for New Urbanism, the Oregon/Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association, and Japanese city managers participating in an exchange with the Toyko Foundation – these are examples of the groups of people interested in understanding how the food carts work, what lessons can be learned for other cities, and most of all, sampling the food!

We’ve had delightful conversations at readings and workshops at local bookstores Powell’s Books, Broadway Books, Land, and Barnes and Nobles.

Kelley Roy participated in a panel at Wordstock in October on the business of books. Kelly Rodgers presented at the Tactical Urbanism Salon in New York – a day of presentation and thought-provoking conversation on what short-term actions make for positive long-term change in our cities. In May, Kelley and Kelly participated in a Sociable Cities webinar hosted by The Responsible Hospitality’s Institute – this session on street vending was one of the most popular in the series. In addition to our Portland perspective, we were joined by experts on street vending from New York City, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

We were pleased to be invited to participate in TEDxConcordiaUPortland, also in May. We presented the story of the food carts in talk titled, That’s So Portland, (click for video) to a room of 400 people, who were spending the day listening to inspiring and thought-provoking presentations that the TED talks are known for.

What’s Next?
We’re looking forward to growing interest in food carts as a key ingredient in both successful cities and indie economies. Portland’s food cart landscape continues to change – literally and figuratively – as new pods open and other pods close, and as the political landscape shifts. Currently, the City of Portland has a task force to examine the impact of food carts and with it may come new regulations, which we are following with interest. And of course, for the latest scoop on the pods and carts, we recommend the FoodCartsPortland blog by Brett Burmeister.

Research on the food carts continue. Kelly is undertaking new research with faculty and students at Portland State University (Renee Bogin Curtis, Kyle Curtis, Jason King, and Jonathan Winslow) on the urban form, development, and economy of the food carts. We’ll be publishing our findings in popular, professional, and academic journals.

Kelly and Kelley are busy with their other endeavors as well. In the successful city category, Kelly is the program manager for the North American Sustainable Transportation Council, which is developing an evaluation framework and rating system for transportation plans and projects. And in the indie economy category, Kelley directs ADX, a workshop and incubator space for making, thinking, and doing.

Thanks and stay in touch!

Go top