Food as a Driver for Development

Last month, I wrote about Provo’s culinary renaissance, pointing out that as in LA, Provo’s expanding restaurant scene is driving revitalization in downtown. Then, earlier this week, The New York Times reported that something similar is happening in Nashville:

[…] Nashville is one of several midsize cities whose food sensibilities (and hipster quotient) are growing as people leave the dog-eat-dog cities on the coasts in search of more affordable, pleasant places to live and eat.

As is the case in LA, the food scene in Nashville is considerably more developed than in Provo (though I’d be interested to know if it’s as walkable). But the point here is that food is serving to bring attention and people  — especially mobile workers who might otherwise choose bigger metropolises — to the city.

Positive press and innovative people are both things that Provo could use as well, so the big lesson here is that a strong food scene is something a city needs to cultivate. People go where there are jobs, of course, but they also go where they believe they can find high quality of life. Good restaurants, it turns out, are a major factor in perceptions about quality of life.

A row of restaurants in downtown Provo.

Other lessons include the importance of diversity — which is the most apparent focus of the article — and the fact that cultivating a strong scene takes time. In Nashville, for example, one culinary pioneer has been toiling for years:

Like all good food revolutions, it didn’t just happen overnight. Margot McCormack is the East Nashville urban pioneer, opening Margot Café a decade ago in a 1930s building that used to house a service station.

The article goes on to detail how “things got good” for McCormack five years ago, how she is also on the board for the local farmer’s market, and how she feels a sense of responsibility.

The point is that the current state of food in Nashville is the product of years of hard work and dedication. The same could be said for the current state of affairs in Provo, and hopefully the future will hold even better developments. And as this article suggests, the growth of a restaurant scene can lead to general growth and prosperity in a city.

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1 Comment

Filed under Development, economics, restaurant

One response to “Food as a Driver for Development

  1. Pingback: A True Food Scene | (pro(vo)cation)

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