I should preface this blog by saying, I absolutely adore Atlanta. It is a testimony to everything multi-generational progress can manifest in the South. A living, thriving city bursting with creativity and integrity. My first expedition in the city was a e-car tour around the city, hosted by Victoria Lightfoot, my coordinator for this stop. Victoria is a PR genius with a deep understanding and respect for Atlanta. While we laughed, cruised the city, and talked over the wins, I fell even more enamoured with a city I already have so much love for.
While Atlanta is still struggling to relocate the Peachtree Station and expand some Marta services, they are trying to strategically building their city. The neighborhoods overshadowed by the belt line are seeing a resurgence and I really enjoyed my time there. The large array of transit, housing, preservation, and human rights advocates have a very tangible presence in the city.
One thing that set my time with Victoria apart, was her itinerary. We actually spent a great deal of time together eating, exploring, and educating. It was really nice to have someone show me what they loved about their city as opposed to discovering it for myself. We went to two different food halls, Ponce and Krog.
I’m a huge fan of the food hall, it can reduce overhead for food entrepreneurs while allowing patrons with different tastes or dietary needs to have more access to a variety of options. Sharing communal dining space allows so much more flexible interactions and reduces the boundaries created in a lot of fine dining establishments.
We worked our way through a number of vendors offering everything from spicy vegan dumplings to Mac n cheese topped with hot fried chicken skins to cold brew coconut ice cream. I would absolutely recommend both food halls as well as the trail that winds through town between the two. Accessible by bike, scooter, rollerblade, or mobility assistance, its a nice well paved path showing off work by lots of local artists in a large mix of mediums. A nice place to explore while letting your food settle.
Another great thing I want to highlight about Atlanta is the MARTA Fresh Market. Operating within four different stations, this Market is an affordable solution for people who experience issues related to food desert and food scarcity and urbanized environments. Not only do they offer twice the retail value in food stamps credit, what I witnessed was a surprisingly large variety of fresh produce. The team there is Unified in supplying as much organic and locally-sourced produce as they can. I found it to be really comforting to know that it was possible to acquire good quality fresh food in transit.
While there are definitely ways MARTA can improve, and accessibility can increase Atlanta as a whole is very aware of where they are and what their future looks like. A City full of diversity, art, and history I was thankful for my time there and look forward to returning.