Portland, the Foodie City
I’ve spent the last two days replenishing my gig energy with the delights of Portland’s food. Portland, Oregon is everything I could want from an American city, with a punk scene, street art scattered everywhere, outdoor food joints and people singing with guitars on the street corners. It was like walking through a festival.
As I wandered through the city, I began to think of what an ideal place Portland is to talk to people about
the global food system. Food is in Portland’s blood, their Saturday food markets are incredible! There is food from Thailand, Italy, Mexico and El Salvador, to name a few. All being served up on a hot spring day.
As I sampled the delights of the markets, I start thinking about the people in the countries where the street vendor’s food came from, who were struggling to buy enough food for their families to eat. Such as people in Tanuja Dhanuk, India, who can’t afford
flour and rice for their families. And there it was, the ideal way to talk to Portland people about the food system at gigs, talk to them about their food markets. They all love food, care about it and love the diversity of it; their food markets speak for themselves.
Portland doesn’t just have food markets; it is at the forefront of local food movements. Every third Tuesday of each month Portland people meet at a ‘Local Food Breakfast’. The breakfast is a space for people to discuss local food movements, trends and farming activities. Its focus is to ensure the people know how to eat locally.
Portland also has a Slow Food movement: A cooperative that advocates for locally grown food and provides ways for people to source and be creative with their cooking. One amazing guide the Slow Food movement created was a ‘Real Time Farms´ guide. This guide tracks hundreds of products back to where they first started in the farms, to ensure people can determine exactly where their food came from. Such inspirational shopping really got me thinking about what I can do with my own food consumption to improve the food system.
Portland, you left me with some ‘food for thought’ and I know we left you with the same from all the people who signed up at the gig last night. From now on I will ensure that all the produce I can buy locally, I will. This is a simply step we can all take to change the food system.
If you are part of a local food movement in the world I’d love to hear from you. Tweet me @oxfamontour or leave a comment below.
Look for Portland’s next Local Food Breakfast at Local Sprouts, on Facebook.