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Have Food, Will Travel

"Dinner and Bikes" tour comes to town, plus Memphis Food Truck Association forms.



Are you one of those avid reader, eater, and cyclist types? If so, "Dinner and Bikes," an event Thursday night at Shelby Farms, is just the kind of thing you've been looking for.

Three West Coast travelers — Chef Joshua Ploeg, independent publisher Joe Biel, and cycling enthusiast and author Elly Blue — will be swinging into town to share a vegan feast, show off some books and zines, and talk cycling with Memphians. The event is part of a month-long tour of the Southeastern United States dedicated to sharing vegan food and cycling inspiration.

While we can't wait to learn more about bicycle transportation in a city that was recently selected by the Bikes Belong Foundation to receive new and improved bike lanes, we're a little more interested in what will be going on our plates.

Not surprisingly, Chef Ploeg is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-bike kind of guy. Matt Farr of Shelby Farms tells us when he asked Ploeg what ingredients to purchase for the vegan dinner, he responded, "I don't know. Go crazy."

And so it seems the element of surprise is as real to us as it is to Chef Ploeg. One thing we do know is that all of the food will be locally sourced and provided by the Farm-to-Fork Fellowship program in the Greenline Gardens at Shelby Farms Park as well as Urban Farms in Binghampton.

The vegan dinner bell rings Thursday, May 3rd, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased on the Memphis Hightailers website ( or by calling 767-7275.

Shelby Farms, 500 North Pine Lake (767-7275)

Since the food-truck ordinance passed last spring, the health department has certified nearly 45 food trucks for operation. Still, the scatter plot of food trucks on Memphis streets seems less like a food-truck scene than, well, a scatter plot.

Taylor Berger of YoLo fame is working to fix that by bringing local food truckers together as members of the Memphis Food Truck Association.

"When I learned that there were 45 trucks on the road that were certified, I realized I only know about four of them," Berger says. "I started looking around, and other cities have food-truck associations and a good website that shows where everybody is in real time and a calendar of where everybody is planning to be for the next few weeks."

Berger hopes the organization will bring as many food trucks into the fold as possible to encourage food trucking in Memphis. He's already planning a Downtown Lunch Food Truck Rodeo on May 10th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Court Square, and another one on June 2nd at Overton Park for the opening of the dog park.

As for the association's long-term goals, Berger envisions weekly food-truck rodeos, increased social-media presence, cooperation with city and local property owners to find more places for food trucks to operate, and increased communication between food truckers.

"A lot of folks may be amazing cooks but could use help with social media and promoting themselves. We could all share best practices with each other," Berger says. "There are so many of us, I feel like if we all came together we could make the food-truck scene awesome."

An informational meeting is set for Monday, May 7th, at 11 p.m. at a still-to-be-determined location on Broad. For more information, call (561) 704-8196, email, or check out the Memphis Food Truckers page on Facebook.

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