FIRST QUARTER MOON - Dec. 1-7, 2014

(March 21 to April 19)

The week starts with an unusual sense of melancholy. The First Quarter Moon in Pisces shows you the challenges you'll face in order to learn the teachings of the month. It’s a lesson of independence and an exploration of new territories. The downside may be a sense of loss and loneliness. Many born in the sign recently had important decisions to make about a relationship, and are returning from a temporary separation or even a final break.

TEMPO: allegretto solitario

(April 20 to May 20)

This week will teach you a lot about yourself. In the workplace, contacts increase and it will be important to indulge a little in your social life. Yours is a sign that loves to stay on its own, but these days it is important to be attentive to others. An open circle of friends and acquaintances can be very important. You may even find yourself in love, and it will be a wonderful discovery.

TEMPO: andante con fiducia

(May 21 to June 21)

The others are a mirror in which to see your own image more clearly. Through your relationships and your professional collaborations you will discover a lot about yourself. In the workplace, you may need to more carefully choose your allies, and better discern the people who do and don’t deserve your loyalty. We must learn to work together and delegate to others.

TEMPO: allegro non troppo

(June 22 to July 22)

A week characterized by a dilemma. On the one hand the routine is getting too narrow, on the other hand there is a certain fear to let go toward the new. For some, the dilemma concerns work, where perhaps some compromise begins to be a burden. It may involve a troubled relationship with colleagues, or more likely a partner or collaborator whose intentions are not entirely clear. Follow your intuition.

TEMPO: marcetta dubbiosa

(July 23 to August 22)

There is a will to share, and to avenge the past two years, weighed down by the burden of Saturn. The climate is still uncertain: one day things seem to be going again in the right direction, while the day after there are new delays slowing you down. The desire to take a shortcut and risk everything is strong. But with respect to those who are close to you, play your cards right. And make good use of your charm, which right now is through the roof.

TEMPO: vivace strategico

(August 23 to September 22)

This week starts with a few small clouds of anxiety. Maybe your love partner is uncooperative, and disrespectful of your efforts. Or it might be a colleague not taking responsibility, and hoisting loads of work on your shoulders. In any case, it is a week that sees you combative. These energies — used in a constructive way — can help you restore the balance between what you do for others and what is right to expect in return. Used in a destructive way, a husband may wind up tossed out the window!

TEMPO: andante con grinta

(September 23 to October 23)

Week of possible twists on the job front. Maybe a proposal, perhaps an old project that is just starting back up. Be ready. Finances are still a concern, and organization of your life is far from perfect. Try to bring order. For many born in the second decan, there may be a new love in the air ... so why are you putting up resistance?

TEMPO: andante deciso

(October 24 to November 20)

Some possible uncertainty about who you are and what you're worth really can restrain the spontaneous expression of your feelings and your emotions. In professional relationships, you can be determined and glowing, but when it comes to letting yourself go a bit, something blocks you. What scares you? Your time in the company of Saturn is almost over, and it's time to breathe a sigh of relief and regain a bit of confidence.

TEMPO: adagio indeciso

(November 21 to December 22)

A new image is emerging. Day after day it is defined, strengthens and tries to express itself. It is an image that could shake those around you, from family to friends of long standing. They could make it hard for you to recognize yourself as you really are. There is a desire to broaden your horizons and to conquer new territories, even if this were to result in a small "betrayal" of your heritage, or traditions, or what you have always been. Take all the doubt, guilt, and preoccupations, and throw them away!

TEMPO: velocissimo conquistatore

(December 23 to January 20)

Your week will pose some difficulties of communication and personal expression. Do not stand there in the corner brooding. What worries you? Sometimes there is a feeling that things are finally taking off, especially in the professional field. On the other hand there are constant, unexpected delays. One step forward, two steps back. But this cycle will pass! Do not let a few setbacks take away your confidence and self-esteem.

TEMPO: marcia furiosa

(January 21 to February 21)

The pace of things will accelerate, a Giant Slalom between commitments and tasks to achieve. There is a growing amount of work and the rewards will grow as well. A bit of stress is inevitable. All your attention is required to deal with this tsunami of opportunities and contacts. Keep hold of your priorities, and if something does not convince you, there is no reason not to say "no" and focus your energy on what really matters. Sentimentally, a friend might become something more.

TEMPO: crescendo agitato

(February 22 to March 20)

A great period of planetary concentration in career and professional success continues. Promotions, awards and recognition are in the air! The challenge launched by the first-quarter Moon is this: If you can get in the game, do so with determination and confidence in your abilities, and it will pay off. Transits are quite favorable, but we need your active participation to trigger their formidable power.

TEMPO: andante sicuro

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food / travel

The Food Truck, A Sign That The White And Wealthy Are Moving In

In San Diego, California, a researcher tracked how in the city's low-income neighborhoods that have traditionally lacked dining options, when interesting eateries arrive the gentrification of white, affluent and college-educated people has begun.

Balboa Park Spring Fling Food Truck festival

San Diego Food Trucks via Facebook
Pascale Joassart-Marcelli

SAN DIEGO — Everybody, it seems, welcomes the arrival of new restaurants, cafés, food trucks and farmers markets.

What could be the downside of fresh veggies, homemade empanadas and a pop-up restaurant specializing in banh mis?

But when they appear in unexpected places – think inner-city areas populated by immigrants – they're often the first salvo in a broader effort to rebrand and remake the community. As a result, these neighborhoods can quickly become unaffordable and unrecognizable to longtime residents.

An appetite for gentrification

I live in San Diego, where I teach courses on urban and food geographies and conduct research on the relationship between food and ethnicity in urban contexts.

In recent years, I started to notice a pattern playing out in the city's low-income neighborhoods that have traditionally lacked food options. More ethnic restaurants, street vendors, community gardens and farmers markets were cropping up. These, in turn, spurred growing numbers of white, affluent and college-educated people to venture into areas they had long avoided.

This observation inspired me to write a book, titled The $16 Taco, about how food – including what's seen as "ethnic," "authentic" or "alternative" – often serves as a spearhead for gentrification.

Take City Heights, a large multi-ethnic San Diego neighborhood where successive waves of refugees from places as far away as Vietnam and Somalia have resettled. In 2016, a dusty vacant lot on the busiest boulevard was converted into an outdoor international marketplace called Fair@44. There, food vendors gather in semi-permanent stalls to sell pupusas, lechon (roasted pig), single-sourced cold-brewed coffee, cupcakes and tamarind raspado (crushed ice) to neighborhood residents, along with tourists and visitors from other parts of the city.

Informal street vendors are casualties.

A public-private partnership called the City Heights Community Development Corporation, together with several nonprofits, launched the initiative to increase "access to healthy and culturally appropriate food" and serve as "a business incubator for local micro-entrepreneurs," including immigrants and refugees who live in the neighborhood.

On paper, this all sounds great.

But just a few blocks outside the gates, informal street vendors – who have long sold goods such as fruit, tamales and ice cream to residents who can't easily access supermarkets – now face heightened harassment. They've become causalities in a citywide crackdown on sidewalk vending spurred by complaints from business owners and residents in more affluent areas.

This isn't just happening in San Diego. The same tensions have been playing out in rapidly gentrifying areas like Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood, Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, New York's Queens borough and East Austin, Texas.

In all of these places, because "ethnic," "authentic" and "exotic" foods are seen as cultural assets, they've become magnets for development.

Food vendor at outdoor international marketplace called Fair@44.

Fairat44 via Instagram

A call for food justice

Cities and neighborhoods have long sought to attract educated and affluent residents – people whom sociologist Richard Florida dubbed "the creative class." The thinking goes that these newcomers will spend their dollars and presumably contribute to economic growth and job creation.

Food, it seems, has become the perfect lure.

It's uncontroversial and has broad appeal. It taps into the American Dream and appeals to the multicultural values of many educated, wealthy foodies. Small food businesses, with their relatively low cost of entry, have been a cornerstone of ethnic entrepreneurship in American cities. And initiatives like farmers markets and street fairs don't require much in the way of public investment; instead, they rely on entrepreneurs and community-based organizations to do the heavy lifting.

In City Heights, the Community Development Corporation hosted its first annual City Heights Street Food Festival in 2019 to "get people together around table and food stalls to celebrate another year of community building." Other recent events have included African Restaurant Week, Dia de Los Muertos, New Year Lunar Festival, Soul Food Fest and Brazilian Carnival, all of which rely on food and drink to attract visitors and support local businesses.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as the New Roots Community Farm and the City Heights Farmers' Market have been launched by nonprofits with philanthropic support in the name of "food justice," with the goal of reducing racial disparities in access to healthy food and empowering residents – projects that are particularly appealing to highly educated people who value diversity and democracy.

Upending an existing foodscape

In media coverage of changing foodscapes in low-income neighborhoods like City Heights, you'll rarely find any complaints.

San Diego Magazine's neighborhood guide for City Heights, for example, emphasizes its "claim to authentic international eats, along with live music venues, craft beer, coffee, and outdoor fun." It recommends several ethnic restaurants and warns readers not to be fooled by appearances.

Longtime residents find themselves forced to compete against the "urban food machine"

But that doesn't mean objections don't exist.

Many longtime residents and small-business owners – mostly people of color and immigrants – have, for decades, lived, worked and struggled to feed their families in these neighborhoods. To do so, they've run convenience stores, opened ethnic restaurants, sold food in parks and alleys and created spaces to grow their own food.

All represent strategies to meet community needs in a place mostly ignored by mainstream retailers.

So what happens when new competitors come to town?

Food vendor at outdoor international marketplace called Fair@44.

Fairat44 via Instagram

Starting at a disadvantage

As I document in my book, these ethnic food businesses, because of a lack of financial and technical support, often struggle to compete with new enterprises that feature fresh façades, celebrity chefs, flashy marketing, bogus claims of authenticity and disproportionate media attention. Furthermore, following the arrival of more-affluent residents, existing ones find it increasingly difficult to stay.

My analysis of real estate ads for properties listed in City Heights and other gentrifying San Diego neighborhoods found that access to restaurants, cafés, farmers markets and outdoor dining is a common selling point. The listings I studied from 2019 often enticed potential buyers with lines like "shop at the local farmers' market," "join food truck festivals" and "participate in community food drives!"

San Diego Magazine's home buyer guide for the same year identified City Heights as an "up-and-coming neighborhood," attributing its appeal to its diverse population and eclectic "culinary landscape," including several restaurants and Fair@44.

When I see that City Heights' home prices rose 58% over the past three years, I'm not surprised.

Going up against the urban food machine

Longtime residents find themselves forced to compete against what I call the "urban food machine," a play on sociologist Harvey Molotch's "urban growth machine" – a term he coined more than 50 years ago to explain how cities were being shaped by a loose coalition of powerful elites who sought to profit off urban growth.

I argue that investors and developers use food as a tool for achieving the same ends.

When their work is done, what's left is a rather insipid and tasteless neighborhood, where foodscapes become more of a marketable mishmash of cultures than an ethnic enclave that's evolved organically to meet the needs of residents. The distinctions of time and place start to blur: An "ethnic food district" in San Diego looks no different than one in Chicago or Austin.

Meanwhile, the routines and rhythms of everyday life have changed so much that longtime residents no longer feel like they belong. Their stories and culture reduced to a selling point, they're forced to either recede to the shadows or leave altogether.

It's hard to see how that's a form of inclusion or empowerment.The Conversation


Pascale Joassart-Marcelli is a Professor of Geography and Director, Urban Studies and Food Studies Programs at San Diego State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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