The Bodega Manifesto
Neighborhood grocers and grocery stores do more than sell food. In communities across the country, grocers are bankers, psychiatrists, gossips, fences, storytellers, and parents. Their stores act as save havens, nuisance spaces, and community anchors. Regardless of the role they play, no community is complete without one.
Define terms | This project examines the intersection of grocery and the many fields of interest that are intertwined with it. Food. Politics. Culture. Music. Business. The urban grocery store adds the distinctive and unpredictable elements only cities bring. BC uses the term bodega, which are culturally both NYC and Latino in derivation, as a descriptor for this grocery type. When we use the term bodega, it embodies something much greater than any individual store, it’s a collective experience.
Remove the veil | Bodega Chronicles will peek into the lives of grocery store owners, managers, and staff to get the scoop on how machine actually runs. We’ll dispel the misconceptions and highlight the various complexities of the grocery business.
No value judgments | It’s Bodega Chronicles for a reason. We explore, learn, and examine through the lens of the food market, but no stones in this glass house.
Showcase the movement | Food has been hot for the past decade. Grocery – access to, quality and affordability of, occupies the zeitgeist currently. In the midst of all of this are the million stories of grocers, communities, advocates, and everyday people who engage the food movement. Their stories are here.
Provide levity | As a project of Urbane Development, Bodega Chronicles will showcase the work of the firm and its clients, partners, and compatriots in advancing social entrepreneurship, food justice, urban sustainability, and any other sexy term we want to use for community development. Think of Bodega Chronicles as the cooler, alter-ego of Urbane Development. Justice with wink and a smile.
The Bodega Chronicles is an attempt to capture these moments from the most complex, kinetic, and enthralling people (entrepreneurs), places (cities), and things (food) we have in life. We recast the bodega beyond the pejorative to a transcendent space that encapsulates the culture, commerce, spirit, struggle, and sustenance of urban spaces worldwide.