Cartlandia: Making a Documentary

What is the economic and cultural significance of the mobile food movement?

Project Abstract

Throughout the Portland metropolitan area, more than 700 food carts offer low cost, high quality foods from around the world.  Nestled in “pods” in virtually all parts of the city, from downtown to Clackamas, vendors compete for customers at all times of the day and night, rain or shine.  Restauranteurs, bakers, chefs, recent immigrants, enthusiasts, and amateurs intermingle in the food cart scene, as experimentation and low stakes gambles offer freedom in culinary expression.  Some proprietors and food cart entrepreneurs aspire to translate their success into a more permanent, stationary restaurant.  Others with established culinary pedigrees revel in the newly-found mobility and flexibility afforded by “meals on wheels” after years in the restaurant business.  Still others are budding “Cartrepreneurs,” eager to franchise their food cart into an regional and national chain.  Immigrants from Peru, Ireland, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, and all parts of the world share family recipes while bringing diverse flavor to hungry customers.  Cartlandia explores this dynamic culture, examining the people and flavors that contribute to the most dynamic mobile food culture in the world.

More about this project

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