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


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 (grocerystore@janusyouth.org) 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. 

Nobel Videos and Rappin' Dairy

New videos from The Nobel Conference, Making Food Good. And the Brits rap dairy.

Hot Lips honcho, Dave Yudkin, sent us the link to Marian Nestle’s talk on obesity at The Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College. There are a number of other videos worth watching from their 46th annual conference, Making Food Good, including talks and panel discussions with Francis Moore Lappé, Bina Agarwal and Paul Thompson.

And yo, while we’re talking video, check out the Brits from Yeo Valley Organics rhyming “conservation” with “soil association.” City folk might have ripped-off their milk duds, but lowriders didn’t pinch pancaking from a tricked-out Massey Ferguson. The English make great dairy products. Rapping? Not so much. 

Young Farmers are Mixin' It Up

The Greenhorns are coming to town for a Western Oregon Young Farmer Mixer

What do you get when you gather a hundred farmers in a room? The hoe-down of a century!

Sunday, October 10th, from 3:30- 8:00 p.m., The Greenhorns, will be rearing into town with their Irresistible Fleet ready to pump up the jams, seed some sass(parilla) and chow down to get down for the Western Oregon Young Farmer Mixer. The mixer, co-hosted by Friends of Family Farmers is bound to be celery-bratory affair, especially since it’s happening at the site of one of our Urban Growth Bounty instructors, Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply. To spice it up even more, Salt Fire & Time (another UGB instructor) will be fixin’ up fresh fare grown by young farmers.

Live music, intellectual nourishment and local beer and on tap, with workshops on beneficial insects, farm advocacy, farm planning and marketing, internships and networking for beginning farmers. And, as if this wasn’t enough agri-stimulation, the Greenhorns will be sneak-peak-screening their documentary film on young farmers (check out the trailer here).

So y’all come down, y’hear? The price is right (free), so we’ll see you at Naomi’s, 2500 SE Tacoma St. in Portland, Oregon, USA. 

To Bee or Not To Bee

A pouring rain couldn't kill the buzz at the Queen of the Sun opening on Friday night.

beeA pouring rain couldn’t kill the buzz at the Queen of the Sun opening on Friday night. Crowds waited patiently in line outside of the Hollywood Theater to be the first to see the newest film from local boys Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz. Like their previous film, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, this examination of the precarious life of bees was beautiful and compelling.

Queen of the Sun plays through October 4th at the Hollywood. And if you're inspired to explore the possibility of keeping bees in your backyard, send us an email at food@portlanoregon.gov. We’ll drop you a line when we announce our Urban Growth Bounty classes for 2011 that will include intro classes for budding beekeepers as well as intermediate and advanced sessions.

Check out the video in the lobby on the sold-out opening night. Amongst the sound of popping corn and excited moviegoers, Mayor Adams, who was on hand to introduce the film, talks with Taggart about the effect bees have had on his garden and his bike rides.