Adrian Miller

Adrian Miller

Adrian and I spoke sometime in 2020. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I felt like reaching out to him while the sky was falling around us. I’m sure that I was still in deep denial about how long COVID would be around. I’d watched his work with a lot of interest. As a foodie, I paid attention to his work and finally after seeing Adrian on the show Somewhere South, I knew it was time for a conversation. In listening to the episode I wish I would have asked questions like: How do you think the pandemic is impacting the experience of food? And what will our food story be coming out of this time? Luckily, Adrian ended up on a new show that captured my imagination and touched on those questions. You can see him as a historical expert on “High on the Hog” a 4 part series on Netflix about the African-American contribution to American food. It’s a must watch.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Travel Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site.

Show Resource

Are you planning your next Colorado road trip? Or, are you looking to support Colorado local businesses and want to stay within budget? Qube Money is a digital envelope app that is FDIC insured and pairs with a debit card. For the past 4 months I’ve tested out Qube Money and have become a huge fan of it. If you’re trying to keep your money organized, Qube Money is a great resource to use.

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Show Notes

  • Colorado native Adrian Miller “The Soul Food Scholar” Dropping Knowledge Like Hot Biscuits!
  • His side-hustle is writing books about food.
  • How on earth did Adrian become a self-taught food scholar especially coming from Colorado that didn’t have an innovative food culture.
  • His parents were a part of the great migration of African-Americans moving out of the South to other parts of the US. That influenced his food experience.
  • John Egerton’s comment about never having seen a preeminent book on the history of Black food
  • I ask about how he’s experienced the changing food scene in Colorado.
  • Difficulty growing and cultivating food may have been a barrier to establishing a Colorado food scene.
  • Denver Food Security Council here in Denver and we’re becoming a lot more conscious about the conversation around advocating for folks and keeping them feed.
  • I ask the quintessential Colorado question for people who grew up here.
  • Adrian shares what it’s like to go out in the world as a Black Coloradan
  • 1860’s a group of Black men fought for the right to vote in Colorado
  • Gentrification in Denver is an issue for Colorado cultural identity
  • Black people are everywhere LOL!
  • Robert Smith, the Billionaire is from Denver.
  • Pueblo Chili vs. Hatch Chili-Why doesn’t the Pueblo Chili get as much love. Pueblo does host the Pueblo Chili and Frijoles Festival and it’s happening September 24-26, 2021
  • I ask Adrian the following question in two different ways.
    • What would you tell someone who is looking to move here?
    • What would you tell a POC who is looking to move here?
  • We talk about the City of Aurora-it has an incredible food scene. You can get almost any type of food that you can think of.
  • What Adrian’s top 3 bbq places in Denver right now (do you agree)
    • Owl Bear
    • Boney’s
    • Roaming Buffalo

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Blackpackers Founder Patricia Cameron

Blackpackers with Patricia Cameron

It may surprise you but there is a large segment of Coloradans who don’t enjoy the outdoors on a regular basis. In fact, there is a large number of people (including myself) who learned how to ski as adults because they couldn’t afford to learn to ski as kids. For families of color, in particular, not only is access to the outdoors a frustrating mix of safety concerns and transportation challenges. There’s also the often forgotten conversation related to the cost of equipment needed to enjoy a majority of activities outdoors. If you want to camp, thruhike, climb you need good equipment in order to enjoy these activities. The following conversation discusses this issue and my hope is that it broadens your awareness of the ongoing issues related to accessibility and the outdoors.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Travel Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site.

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Show Notes

  • Patricia Cameron the founder and Executive Director of Blackpackers introduces herself
  • What is Blackpackers and the mission?
  • The impact of finances on access to outdoor spaces. How Blackpackers is working through barriers to entry
  • Patricia shares a hilarious 1st time backpacking story and every time I think about it I laugh. What wasn’t funny is the fact that she had to work overtime in order to afford the equipment.
  • I wonder why backpacking called to Patricia as an activity to enjoy.
  • I ask about what was scary about backpacking for the first time.
  • What about backpacking continued to attract her after the hilarious first trip?
  • She shares the amazing “buy in” to her non-profit. If you build it they will come.
  • How can we support Blackpackers?
    • Money!
    • Spread the word
  • If I’m looking to use Blackpackers, how does it work?
    • Sign up for the email list or join the Facebook group
  • I wonder if it’s possible to access the gear outside of the regular events?
  • Patricia was preparing to do the Colorado Trail at the time that we recorded this interview. I ask why she’s decided to do it? She shares her love of the state in her comments.
  • Suburus and Chacos (Sweet Jesus)
  • Why is it important for people of color to experience the outdoors?
    • Generational trauma and the connection to the Outdoors. Why it’s so important to have this conversation.
  • POC and the fear of being in outdoor spaces. This is an important conversation.
    • This is why Blackpackers events are done in community.
  • What is the worst and best thing about living in Colorado?
  • I distract us and share that I’m heading to Salida, Colorado for a staycation.
  • Social media and the normalization of POC faces in outdoors spaces. But, bias during outdoor interactions is still a huge issue. Btw, Patricia hates Instagram.
    • She mentions the Christian Cooper and Amy Cooper case in her comments and the Ahmad Arbery murder while jogging.
  • We talk about her Colorado Trail trip and Patricia talks about a previous outdoor experience and making connections while on the trail.
  • Fellowship vs. gatekeeping of outdoor experiences
  • What’s the worst and best thing about living in Colorado as a person of color.

In Case You’re Wondering

Patricia did complete the entire Colorado Trail during the summer of 2020 while COVID raged on around us. It has taken me almost a year to publish this and a number of other episodes that I recorded last year. At the time that we had this conversation we didn’t know how crazy things would get moving forward. I decided that now was a great time to finally release this episode because it’s almost summer. There are a number of incredible communities connecting Black/Brown and other marginalized communities with outdoor spaces often with allied support.

Nature has been the space where I clear my mind, connect with my most creative ideas and meet new people. A couple of weeks after that conversation I went on a backpacking trip with a local hiking group. It was incredible. I was the slowest person in the group. But, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. At first, I felt badly about being so slow. Then I realized that we all move at our own pace. Because I was the slowest in the group myself and two other hikers got to see two bull mooses (meese?) 500 feet from the end of the trail. I loved reading about Patricia’s experiences on the trail and watching the television coverage of her amazing experience.

For the parents out there I highly recommend reaching out to day camps and other programs to see if they have scholarships available for you to apply for. I would not have had the experiences that I did outdoors if my mom didn’t apply for those scholarships for me. Fewer people than you think are applying for available scholarships. Just make applying for scholarship funds a part of your regular routine. Sooner or later your kids will likely be awarded one.

Related Episodes

  • The Digital Green Book

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Mentioned in the Episode

Outdoor Resources

Finally, if you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors and are looking for community here are a few groups to check out. They may have chapters in your neck of the woods.

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If you enjoyed this content, please Buy Me a Coffee. It costs money to run a website and podcast. Also, I love to create my content while at the coffee shop.

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What Isn't Working During COVID

What Isn’t Working in Colorado During COVID

Last week I shared 9 changes in Colorado during COVID that I sincerely hope we keep after COVID is finally gone. I did forget to add one huge change that I’m loving which is that traffic has gotten better. It’s not as crazy now that so many people are working from home. In this episode I thought it was important to balance out the previous episode and share what isn’t working and what has to change moving forward. Winter is coming and I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get concerned about several festering issues that will become even worse if we don’t dealt with them now. In this episode I will share what is not working during COVID. Feel free to share what you’ve noticed too. By the way, I’m recording this episode from one of my favorite coffee shops because of course my internet isn’t working right now.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today.

Listen to the Show

Do you like saving money on groceries, booze, and clothes? Don’t forget to download the Ibotta app, a Colorado local company, I’m a proud affiliate of Ibotta and have saved $100’s of dollars on groceries using it. Sign up via my affiliate link and earn a bonus $10 towards your initial $20 payout when you redeem your first savings.

Show Notes

Unhoused Coloradans

  • The problem is now out of control. It’s my personal view that everyone from politicians, to homeless advocates, and everyday citizens has failed this community. We can no longer accept this situation for so many reasons. I’m so frustrated with what’s going on that I’m looking to do a special season about this issue. Will keep you posted.

Lack of Conversations and Assistance for the Restaurant Industry

  • Last week I talked about the innovations and amazing new approaches that I’ve seen to the restaurant business model. However, the reality is that it has already snowed and we’re hurdling towards winter. Restaurants simply cannot be profitable at 50% capacity. It’s clear that the restaurant industry won’t be helped on the Federal level so I ask the following question: what can we do at the state level to help our local entrepreneurs have a fighting chance to stay in business?

Mask Litter

  • What’s the deal with all of the mask litter? I’m finding blue masks everywhere.

Litter and Tagging Everywhere

  • I will admit that this is an issue that has bothered me for awhile. But, it has gotten worse during COVID-especially in RINO. It almost feels like someone got bored and started tagging buildings for weeks. Also, the is trash everywhere. Literally, everywhere. I had an amazing time during Crush Walls wandering the area but I was honestly grossed out by all of the uncollected trash in areas that weren’t close to the dumpsters. Basically, the smaller trash cans and recycling bins were overflowing. Gross.

Our Local Level of Environmental Commitment

  • Given that this summer tied our hottest summer on record, things have to change. And, Denver being one of the worse cities around for recycling is disappointing. We need to get a lot more serious about the environment and after choking for weeks on smoke and crappy air quality I think it’s an easy issue to get behind. Remember, if we have no snow or rain we don’t have ski seasons or water for crops. And, for those of you who bitch about it snowing in Colorado-if you don’t understand the correlation between snow and no fires, snow and ski resort tourism dollars, snow and water to irrigate and fight fires with-you’re living in the wrong state.

Managing Our Community Members’ Mental Health

  • To be honest, I think the state and local jurisdictions have done a pretty solid job acknowledging that mental health is an ongoing issue in our state. I’ve added this issue to this list to make sure that we continue thinking about it and continue focusing on solutions related to mental health issues in our state. Sadly, suicide continues to be a huge issue in Colorado.

My Colorado App

  • There is so much coming at us that sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. I wish that the My Colorado App was given more publicity and that the website for the app was streamlined. I would like it to be as normal to use as the All Trails App.

Texans-Out of State Visitors

I’ve loss track of the number of locals who’ve complained about Texans and other out-of-town visitors to our state. In an earlier episode I mentioned that if you’re going to visit you need to follow our rules. It’s not our fault that you don’t have as many great public lands to access as we do. The biggest complaints have been specific to people bringing stank ass attitudes to our state and lack of compliance with our regulations. If you don’t like how we do things, don’t come here and got to Tennessee instead.

What's Working In Colorado During COVID

9 Changes that Colorado Should Keep After COVID

Let’s be clear, dealing with a worldwide pandemic was not on my 2020 Bingo card. The economic devastation, the stress, the confusion, and dealing with the constant craziness has been exhausting. In fact, life during COVID has been so exhausting that I decided to spend some time focusing on the changes in Colorado that should be kept after COVID is finally gone.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today.

Listen to the Show

Download the Ibotta App

Do you like saving money on groceries, booze, and clothes? Don’t forget to download the Ibotta app, a Colorado local company, I’m a proud affiliate of Ibotta and have saved $100’s of dollars on groceries using it. Sign up via my affiliate link and earn a bonus $10 towards your initial $20 payout when you redeem your first savings.

Show Notes

I will admit that I’m a glass half-full kind of person. However, COVID challenges even the most positive person’s outlook when it comes finding something good about the situation because there are so many aspects of it that are a hot covidy mess. However, I was surprised to find that I was able to find a number of good things about how living in Colorado and changes that we made that helped us weather the storm

The Initial Swift Response

When Governor Polis closed down the ski resorts, I knew that COVID was a big deal. Three cases internationally had been traced back to Colorado ski resorts and with the sheer numbers of international travelers to our state the potential for a New York level outbreak was huge. Let’s be clear, the 3 months of quarantine sucked and wearing masks suck. But, what doesn’t suck is consistently having such low positivity rates that Colorado is now one of about 9 states approved for travel to Costa Rica. It’s my view that other countries will begin reopening their borders to US travelers based on their state’s positivity rates. I appreciate the ongoing local response to COVID here in our state and feel like we’re in good hands.

Main Streets Shut Down

I’ve just returned from my 4th local staycation since COVID and one of the best, and I mean, the best changes as a result of this mess is how Main Streets have been closed down to traffic. Especially Mountain Main Streets, I’ve visited Breckenridge, Salida, and Frisco and it was like I was experiencing the towns in a completely new way-because I was. I no longer had to rush through traffic, work my way through crowds, or hear cars honking all the time. In fact, I spoke with several retailers in Breckenridge who said that they’d had their best summer ever. I’m not surprised. In fact, the experience reminded me a lot of what it’s like to be in Europe. We’re lucky in Colorado because we have a strong patio culture so I think it was easier to get people to embrace this straightforward change. Hopefully this will continue during moving forward from May-September.

Expanded Outdoor Seating

I love how businesses have rethought the spaces connected to their businesses. Let’s be clear, they had to in order to survive, but the expanded seating has been a wonderful way to experience many of our favorite restaurants. I’m still very reluctant to eat indoors, so having patios and additional outdoor seating makes it easier for me to say “yes” to going out to eat.

Alcohol to Go

I don’t drink enough to keep alcohol in my house. So, I enjoy having a nice cocktail when I go out. Now, I’m not going out. It’s so nice to grab a meal and a nicely made cocktail to pair with it!

Colorado’s Bipartisan Voting Setup

I’ve always appreciated our system of voting. Now, I appreciate it even more than before. The key to the system working and having faith in our state’s voting system is that it was a bipartisan effort and continues to be set up in that way. In fact, it’s clear that Colorado’s system of voting is the platinum standard in the US. I love it so much that I’m going to do a podcast episode about what it’s like to vote here from beginning to end because so many people have no idea how good it could be.

The Conversations

I’ve had a number of incredible conversations with my fellow Coloradans as a result of everything that’s going on. There is a real sense that we’re in this together, because we are. It’s been so amazing to meet more of my neighbors, talk to entrepreneurs, and hear about what is and what isn’t working during this time.

Business Innovation

Right now a number of businesses have undergone extreme pivots in order to stay relevant and continue bringing in customers. Here are some examples of new innovative approaches to business that I’ve discovered during this time.

  • Somebody People, a plant-based, restaurant in Platt Park has done the following:
    • They have outdoor seating
    • Weekly produce boxes that require a subscription
    • You can take home cocktails
    • Takeout
    • I think you can also pick up fresh veggies as well
  • Coffee shops offering coffee bean subscriptions
  • Farmers Markets managing the flow of customers into the event. I’ve enjoyed this year’s farmer’s markets a lot more because I’m not being jostled by a billion people and dodging dogs.

Support and Publicity for POC Owned Businesses

The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that 40% of Black owned businesses shut down during COVID. Having increased support and visibility for Colorado local businesses is a key part of their ability to make it through this financial storm.

Support and Publicity for ALL Locally Owned Businesses

One of the mindsets that I love in Colorado is the continued support and understanding that small businesses are the key to a thriving local economy. In my numerous conversations with local entrepreneurs they’ve routinely pointed out that there is a healthy eco system in Colorado from the business development stage to the moment when it’s time to sell. Resources such as:

What Isn’t Working

Let me know what other systems or changes that you think are working well during this time. Next week I will share some of the changes or systems that aren’t working during COVID.

How to Support Colorado Local Businesses

How to Support Colorado Local Business During COVID

There are moments right now when I feel helpless when thinking about how COVID is affecting our cities, states, and country. Regardless of whether or not you believe COVID is real, a longer-term conversation has emerged from this situation that conversation centers around how we can better support the small businesses that make our towns unique. One of the main aspects of Square State’s mission is to uplift and support Colorado local businesses, cool initiatives, and share the interesting people who make Colorado, Colorado. In this episode I’ll share 8 ways that YOU can support Colorado local businesses, it’s not as hard as you think.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site. Also, don’t forget to grab 120 Awesome Blog Ideas from Ruth Soukup’s Elite Blog Academy today.

Listen to the Show

Show Notes

Right now, I’m enjoying a lovely cup of coffee from Steam Coffee Shop’s beautiful back patio. Not only do I love the quality of the coffee, I love the atmosphere. It’s nice to know that my weekly trips help this wonderful local businesses’ bottom line. It seems like a small thing, but over time that cup of coffee and their delicious fresh pressed green juice adds up overtime and I’m fine with it.

  • Set the Intention-Go through your spending and look for opportunities to spend locally. Here are examples of where you could switch to purchasing products from a local business. Here are some places where you can make the switch.
    1. Self-Care Services-Do you need your nails or eyelashes done?
    2. Massage?
    3. Cleaning Services
    4. Fresh produce or bread?
  • Shout Out and Tag businesses on social media! This is a quick and easy thing to do. Basically, you’re giving businesses providing great services, delicious food, or cool products a testimonial and free advertising when shouting them out.
  • Ask the following question “How Can We Help You?” I’ve made it a point to ask what businesses are needing help with. Sometimes it’s different than what you would expect. Businesses may need the following:
    • Connections
    • Marketing
    • Staff
    • Tech support
  • Buy gift cards-The holidays are just around the corner and birthdays are always happening. Gift cards are a great way to treat the people in your life to a new to them company/product/service. In fact, there was an incredible story of someone purchasing over $30,000 in gift cards in the Bonnie Brae area when the pandemic first hit and anonymously distributing the cards to their neighbors.
  • Support Local Markets-There are a number of mini markets cropping up across town.
    • Market on Penn organized by Uncle Ramen Noodle shop located on Bayaud and Pennsylvania is a good one.
    • Rise Westwood Collective-Northside/Highlands depending on who you ask.
  • Give Constructive Feedback-When ASKED. If you’re given a survey or asked by a business what they could do better, give thoughtful feedback.
  • Interview business owners on your podcast/vlog/or active Facebook page. These are win/win marketing opportunities that can also support what you’re doing.
  • Connect business with resources. One of the most frustrating aspects of the PPP and Cares Act process was the number of business owners who were missed because they didn’t have the information that they needed in order to request grants, etc.
    • Local Facebook group communities focused on business are huge for resource and product shouts outs. Information on space rentals and collaboration connections.
  • Create and collaborate on lower cost pop up experiences such as the night market being held at the Fort Green Bar Saturday and Sunday evenings during Labor Day weekend.
  • Offer your space or parking lot
  • Tell local news contacts about
    • Cool products
    • Projects
    • Initiatives

It is has been found in numerous studies on local spending that the impact is wide ranging within a community.