For Foodprint LA, we added two new events in addition to our regular program: an afternoon foodscape-mapping walk that gave us an inside look at downtown LA’s cold storage infrastructure, caffeine artisans, and future food market, followed by a food map presentation over happy hour drinks. The walking tour took place from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday, December 8, and the party followed on immediately afterward, from 5 to 7pm.
The Downtown Los Angeles Arts District was, until recently, known as the Warehouse District, and it is still a major food processing and cold storage hub directly connected by rail to the Port of Los Angeles. However, thanks to the peculiarities of its zoning and building stock, the neighborhood has become home to artists’ live-work studios, and, increasingly, to a new wave of creative food-based businesses.
Our group had the opportunity to see both the old and the new first hand, and hear directly from the business owners, entrepreneurs, developers, and city officials involved. En route, we checked out the roasting equipment at LA’s celebrated Handsome Coffee, explored the inside of West Central Produce’s state-of-the-art banana ripening facilities, previewed a future Ferry Building-style food market, and more.
We were thrilled to have a special guest guide, Alissa Walker, leading the tour alongside Foodprint Project co-founders Sarah Rich and Nicola Twilley. We also collectively mapped the foodscape as we saw it, using our cellphones, in a participatory cartographic activity led by civic media and gaming researcher, Benjamin Stokes.
When the sun went down, we ended up at Villains Tavern, where all were welcome to join us to talk food, cities, and design. We had a reserved space from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the upper level of the bar, where we reviewed and discussed the food maps we made during the day. You can see our photographs from the day’s exploration, as well as the map we made, on Flickr.