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

To Bee or Not to Bee

Urban Growth Bounty series features beekeeping

Beekeeper Extraordinaire, Glen Andresen, is featured in a new video at Cooking Up a Story. Glen is the beekeeping beekeeperinstructor in residence for the Urban Growth Bounty series and his first introductory class sold out so we've added another one on Saturday, April 16. You can find all the details here.

Forks Over Knives

Made a new years resolution to eat less meat? A new movie, Forks Over Knives, opens in Portland this week and it looks like just the ticket to get you off to a healthy 2011. The movie explores the result of an American diet high on animal products and processed foods. One of the "patients" they follow scarfs down a fast-food double cheeseburger, onion rings, and a chocolate shake for dinner every night. 

The Oregonian says, "It would be a shame if this information-rich documentary about the benefits of a plant-based diet ends up only speaking to the choir." Starts tonight, runs for a week at the Fox Tower. Get up offa that thing and get downtown.....


Ground frozen, fields cover-cropped, animals fattened: what’s a farmer/gardener to do but transform their winter hibernating horsepower into fertile bursts of art? This is what founder, editor and farmer, Evan Driscoll intends to capture in his new Portland-based art and agriculture quarterly zine, Running With Pitchforks.

Through fiction, creative non-fiction, images and interviews, Running With Pitchforks will “tackle the mental landscape of farming,” giving farmers an outlet for their work and readers a window into the urban agrarian mind (Do we really want to know what’s going on in there?).  

When asked about the origins of this new literary seed, Driscoll remarked that, “being around urban farmers and gardeners for a couple years now, I’ve come to find that most involved are very creative people – it’s a profession / hobby that demands utilizing creativity daily. Not only are these people growing great food, but creating great art as well."

Still accepting applications until January 15th (see guidelines and details on the website), promised features include an interview with past Urban Growth Bounty instructors Connor Voss and Sarah Brown of Diggin Roots Farm, contemplations on the vomitous nature of writing and possibly even a mutant compost horror story.

So keep a lid on your compost bins folks and harness your inner artsy/angsty/analytic agrarian within. Send your crème de la crop to Evan and stay tuned for the first edition sometime this winter.

Build Up on Aisle 3

Help Village Market build community and healthful food access to Portsmouth

Coming at you from North Portland, Step Up to The Plate correspondents took their blog banter to the street for a refreshing dose of community shakin’ and healthy food activatin’.  We ended up in the heart of Portsmouth, and spoke to Jim Pritchard, Project Coordinator of non-profit Janus Youth's latest endeavor: the Village Market. We’ll spare you our additional alliterative analysis this time and bring it to you straight from the man entrenched in a plan.


So Jim, what exactly is this Village Market that we keep hearing abou t?

The Village Market is not only going to be a grocery store in an area with limited access to fresh food—it’s unique in that it’s a nonprofit and all efforts are community driven. Janus Youth has supported and facilitated the development of the project and the Housing Authority of Portland has provided the space for the store, but a core group of community members have shaped the design and done much of the on-the-ground work to make this happen. The store will be dedicated to providing fresh and healthy food at low cost in order to increase the health of the entire community. Once the store is up and running, every employee will be an ambassador of good health. We will have a special section focused on teaching kids to make healthy decisions, and there’s a team working right now to figure out how to use the store as a vehicle to improve healthy choices beyond its walls.


Wow, that’s a lot of stuff going on. How did you get to this point?

Most important was reaching out to people in the community. We completed over 400 surveys to find out peoples’ shopping patterns and figure out what they would like to see in their neighborhood. We also visited over 40 vendors to learn about their distribution practices, prices, how much of their food is local or regional and see how they treat their growers and employees. At first people didn’t believe we had a market for the store. But after all the feedback from nearby residents, community momentum and calculating conservative estimates of gross annual sales, we were able to convince people that this store will not only be a valuable resource for the community but a fiscally viable project.

What are the next steps for Village Market in order to get up and running? 

Well, there’s basic infrastructure to be put in the store- shelving, lighting, equipment, counters. We are currently accepting applications for a store manager (see job description here- applications are due on November 24th), and hope to have him or her on board by early January. We have an ongoing Stock the Shelves campaign, in which we’re hoping to raise $10 for every square foot of the store, so that Village market will be robust with goods on opening day. And, on December 15th we will be holding a celebration chock-full of food, music, demos and exhibits at the store to announce our official store opening date. All are welcome!

To stay in the loop about the exciting undertakings of the Village Market crew check out their website, get in touch with Jim ( or attend a Portland Multnomah Food Policy Council Healthy Retail Food meeting

Blended Beats

Halloween has passed, but that lingering strung-out look remains in the eyes of little children here and there—the aftermath of too much sugar. But some kids this season avoided the “Halloween hangover” all together by trading in their candy for smoothies. Not just any smoothies, purple pedal power berry bicycle blended smoothies. Try saying that ten times fast.

Oh wait, already been done. These Jersey middle schoolers, who’ve starred in past hits such as “I Fell in Love with Broccoli” and “Who Put that Burger on Your Plate?,” highly energized by their all natural sugar substitute, got the juices flowing and added a new hip hop single—“Purple Pedal Power Berry Bicycle Blender”—to their repertoire of chart toppers. Watch out British dairy farmers, Hoboken’s finest are ready to battle any day.

And if you aren’t hip enough to bounce to the beets of the kids on the street, musicians of all genres are simultaneously being inspired to collaborate with carrots, tune tomatoes and rock it with a rutabaga. Veggie music knows no bounds, as these musicians of the Vegetable Orchestra hail from Vienna and play their produce internationally. Their new album, released in the US last week, entitled “Onionoise,” is sure to be a hearty hit. Check out their website for sound samples and watch the video below. Warning: vegetables will be harmed in the instrument making process.