Wade on Birmingham

The Future of Birmingham: Food


Video: Ike Pigott reflects on the food movement in Birmingham.

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By Ike Pigott

[Note: video transcript]

The future of Birmingham is food.

The Future of BirminghamSo what do I mean by that?

We’re not going to become this agrarian paradise. We’re not going to have urban farming everywhere.

But food is going to be the thing that changes Birmingham and alters its future for the better.

If you think about it, that simple picture I took at the food truck has represented something, for me anyway. It’s one of the areas of the city where you are inclined to see about a third laborers, a third hipsters and a third businesspeople. It’s one of the most egalitarian areas that you’re going to come across in the city.

Every little food truck is like its own little Railroad Park in Birmingham, having just the right mix of people, having a good diverse group of people and having a group of people getting along and communing around something.

It’s been that way for a long time.

And I’m going to take that from the present, and I’m going to go back to the past.

More on the Taqueria Guzman Taco Truck.

The images of segregation in Birmingham, the images of segregation in the city, often very violent. But the ones that stand out are the ones that seem so innocuous: the restrooms, the lunch counters, where people could be eating together but were prevented from doing so. And that in and of itself was part of the abomination.

But then you look to the future, and I see a future for downtown, I see a downtown that has been trying to grow and trying to build its culture and try to bring people for a very long time.

And what’s the piece that is the linchpin that is really going to spur a renaissance in downtown Birmingham in bringing people in? It’s the Publix — it’s the grocery store, it’s food. You put the kind of food in there that brings people together, and people can’t help but be together.

So there’s your answer: It’s food.

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Ike PigottIke Pigott is a veteran communicator based in Birmingham who got out of television news and back into life. Now working for Alabama Power, he specializes in corporate communications, but has interests that are all over the place.

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The Future of BirminghamEssays from other contributors are available in the free ebook, “The Future of Birmingham.”

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Read more essays in our special 10th anniversary series, The Future of Birmingham.

Taqueria Guzman Taco Truck

Photo: Ike Pigott (reprinted with permission)

The First Avenue North gas station lot is a gathering place for
fans of the Taqueria Guzman taco truck. Food can be the basis
of a coming together in a city long divided.

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