Thursday Jun 15, 2023

Episode 5 | Sidewalk Provisions: Street Vending during the Covid-19 Pandemic, and Beyond

In this episode, Feeding City Lab's Noah Allison hosts Mohamed Attia of New York City’s Street Vendors Project (SVP) in a discussion on the resiliencies of the street vending industry. Mohamed recounts how he came to join SVP – first as a member when, as a newcomer from Egypt he sold food on the streets of midtown and the Upper East Side, and then as leader of the organization in 2019. By amplifying the voices of street vendors, organizing campaigns, and connecting vendors with small business training, housing resources, and legal services, SVP supports the work of its more than 2800 members and 20 000 vendors on New York City’s streets and sidewalks, the vast majority of whom are immigrants. The conversation offers insight into the economic, social, and cultural contributions of vendors to their local communities. Mohamed shares the challenges and successes of formalizing small food businesses: he explains how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted street vendors, bringing closures but also seeding new businesses; he recounts the 2021 local legislative victory of the “Lift the Caps” campaign to significantly boost the number of vending permits over the next decade, and he sheds light on future goals to reform the street vending industry in New York City. This interview with Feeding City Lab was recorded on January 31, 2023.

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