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Get the dish on news, events and announcements related to sustainable food.

Local Filmmakers’ Food Documentary to Premiere in Portland

New film, Gaining Ground, shows how sustainable food can change communities.

Gaining Ground Film POsterGaining Ground, a feature-length documentary by local filmmakers Elaine Velazquez and Barbara Bernstein, tells the stories of farmers and their
evolving commitment to sustainable farming practices. The film highlights the inspiring work of regional farmers and food activists who are making a positive difference in their community. The filmmakers’ goal is to “inspire people to make choices in their own lives that support local and sustainable food and the farmers who are working to take back our food system.”

Gaining Ground’s Portland premiere takes places on Wednesday, September 30th and Thursday, October 1st, at 7 PM, at Cinema 21.

A Q&A will follow the screenings and include the filmmakers, as well as farmers featured in the film: Doria Robinson with Urban Tilth in Richmond, CA, Vicki Hertel with Sun Gold Farm in Verboort, OR, and Willow Coberly and Harry Stalford with Stalford Seed Farms in Tangent, OR. There will also be a reception at the theater after the September 30th screening with the filmmakers and farmers.

Ticket prices are $7 -10, and advance tickets are available now.

Celebrate Fall’s Bounty at OMSI Harvest Festival

Family-friendly festival is a fun way to discover and buy regional food.

Find out why Oregon’s specialty crops are so special, meet local community-supported agricultural farmers, check out artisan vendors, and enjoy Pacific Northwest food and drink at the free OMSI Harvest Festival this Sunday. Kids’ activities, cooking demonstrations (including two on turning common pests into food!), a beer garden, and live music will also be featured.

The Harvest Festival takes place this Sunday, September 27th, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at OMSI’s Bridge Lot at the base of the Tilikum Bridge.

Find a list of vendors and a schedule of food science demonstrations on OMSI’s website.

event poster

City Hall Garden Grows Greens and Sows Knowledge

Downtown oasis is a fount of food and information.

Jillian Glasgow is standing at the corner of Southwest Fourth and Jefferson on a recent evening as she surveys the City Hall Garden she has tended for the past three years. Now in its seventh growing season, the former parking lot and grass patch was transformed into a downtown oasis where passersby can interact with the process of growing food and be inspired to create their own gardens.

City Hall Garden

The fruits (and vegetables) of Glasgow’s labor travel just a few blocks up the street to a nearby church, where food pantry volunteers pack it into boxes and cook it into hot meals for their clients. On occasion, Glasgow will hand off some fresh produce directly to folks in need, like the crisp collard greens she bestowed upon a vivacious visitor as they exchanged recipes for hot water cornbread.

While tending to rows of Swiss chard, snap peas, and Sungold tomatoes, Glasgow relishes the interactions with interested onlookers. The lush leaves of potato plants, rainbow-colored stems of chard, and bright yellow orbs dangling from tomato stakes stand in relief to the surrounding concrete and pavement, attracting people from different walks of life to the fount of fresh food on City property. From these conversations, Glasgow discovers the gardening topics people hope to learn about, which inform the tips and notes she writes on signs planted throughout the garden.

Glasgow urges people to come visit and look closely, making observations about the imperfections inherent in any garden lovingly tended by human hands. She helps home gardeners realize that it’s possible to grow a lot of food on a small amount of land. “You just have to get a little closer, make some observations, and learn a little bit,” she said. 

It’s National Farmers Market Week!

Celebrate summer’s bounty at a farmers market every day of the week in Portland.

August 2-8 is National Farmers Market Week and Portlanders can celebrate by shopping a different market every day of the week. You can plan your itinerary with this listing and map that will lead you to the freshest food you can find. Need another reason to support your local farmer? Check out this infographic from The Farmers Market Coalition. 

farmers market infographics

Peak Season for the Portland Fruit Tree Project

Got Fruit? Portland Fruit Tree Project helps share summer’s bounty.

plumsSummer means fruit season is in full bloom for the Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP), a non-profit that gathers volunteers to harvest peaches, plums, pears, figs, apples, and more from registered trees across the city. PTFP salvages fruit that would otherwise go to waste, donating half to Portland food banks and dividing the rest among “harvest party” volunteers. PFTP channeled over 58,000 pounds of fruit to families in need last year.

During a recent harvest party, an enthusiastic team of volunteers, young and old, plucked plums from two Southeast Portland sites. First, they collected 379 pounds of bright yellow Shiro plums from a majestic tree in Brentwood-Darlington’s Green Thumb Community Orchard – and with over half of the fruit left on the prolific tree, another team will be back soon!

The team then traveled to Carmen Piekarski’s home to gather 86 pounds of juicy purplish-red cherry plums from her two trees towering over the sidewalk. “I come from a family where things were never wasted, and to watch anything go to waste is really difficult,” Carmen said. “There’s too much for us and too much for the neighbors, and the Portland Fruit Tree Project allows people who are truly in need to access healthy fruit.”  

With 465 pounds of plums in tow at the end of the evening, each volunteer took home a generous 12 pounds and the remaining 235 pounds went to area food pantries. PFTP hosts several harvest parties a week and provides additional opportunities to get involved and learn new skills from tree care to food preservation. Don’t miss out…it’s summertime and the time is ripe for sharing the harvest.