Local Food as a Catalyst for Revitalization: Markets, Restaurants, and More

Learning Approach: Best Practices

| Sheraton New Orleans, Oak Alley | Posted: Tuesday, 3:30-4:14 p.m.

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Local Foods as Catalyst

Everyone has to eat, right? So why not on Main Street? Explore the role local food plays in revitalizing Main Street districts and regional farm communities. Using case studies from the Urban Food Project in Birmingham, Ala., this session will showcase successes and challenges using real-life examples. From farmers markets to corner stores, restaurants to special events, these examples can be replicated and adapted to fit the needs of Main Street districts nationwide. This session is sure to inspire alternative approaches to commercial and neighborhood revitalization by leveraging food as a catalyst for change.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn how to evaluate a district’s potential for revitalization through food and incorporate key elements into any district revitalization plan.
  2. Identify and understand the underlying issues in a district to predict success or failure.
  3. Gain a foundational understanding of how food can serve as an impetus for community revitalization, business development and job creation.
  4. Identify food-related district revitalization models to potentially adapt and implement.


For more information contact:

Taylor Clark, Main Street Birmingham
Taylor Clark is Main Street Birmingham's Market Coordinator. Dedicated to Main Street Birmingham's Urban Food Project, Taylor works to create and support food-related businesses that address a lack of access to healthy foods in Birmingham's urban "food deserts." Taylor's work includes developing new public markets through community collaboration, supporting growth and expansion of existing markets, implementing a mechanism to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits at public markets. As Market Coordinator, Taylor also collaborates with others to conceptualize and implement holistic strategies to improve the quality of life for Birmingham residents while supporting Alabama's local food economy. Prior to her food systems focus, Taylor developed, implemented and managed communications strategies as an Independent Marketing Executive. Taylor is driven to empower and equip those who need it most with the resources to become self-reliant and to create sustainable change toward physical and economic wellbeing.

Sam Crawford, Main Street Birmingham
Mr. Samuel Crawford is the Director of Business Growth for Main Street Birmingham. Samuel is a native of Birmingham and comes to Main Street from Chicago where he had over twenty-five years' experience in community planning, economic and business development and franchise business development. Mr. Crawford heads Main Street Birmingham's 'Urban Food Project' which seeks to provide access to healthy food for residents who live in 'food deserts'. In partnership with the City of Birmingham the Urban Food Projects is connecting urban consumers to local Alabama farmers and using food as a catalyst for job and business creation. Sam believes that an established network of 'public spaces' can become catalysts for further economic opportunity and where residents can work, play and access healthy foods in a safe friendly environment. Sam has optimistic prospects of changing food and public space access in Birmingham so that more consumption of healthy food will lead to improved public health. Sam holds a Master's degree in Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati.