Food Access and Affordability in the Foster Green EcoDistrict: Lessons from Student Engagement with Equity and Sustainability in Southeast Portland
Sustainable Solutions: University–Community Partnerships
Each week from May to November farmers from across the Willamette Valley set up shop on a busy street in Portland, Oregon, where they sell free-range eggs, pesticide-free apples, and local honey. On paper, the Lents International Farmers Market (LIFM) looks a little bit like a sketch in the TV show “Portlandia”; there is homemade pasta for sale, quirky live music, and abundant “buy local!” propaganda. However, the market’s surrounding neighborhood bears little resemblance to the city portrayed in the TV show. Instead of coffee shops, bikes lanes, and grocery co-ops, the streets surrounding the market are lined with fast food chains and crumbling sidewalks, and convenience stores serve as de facto neigh-borhood grocery stores (Photo 7.1). Many of the families that frequent the LIFM rely on a food stamp (also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or “SNAP”) matching program to purchase their weekly produce, and Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin are spoken alongside English (Photo 7.2). In a decaying urban landscape characterized by liquor and convenience stores hawking fast, cheap calories, the Lents International Farmers Market stands as both a symbol of hope, and a poignant reminder of the deep disparities between rich and poor, white populations and people of color.
Locate the Document
Shobe, Hunter and Gwyneth Manser. (2016). Food Access and Affordability in the Foster Green EcoDistrict: Lessons from Student Engagement with Equity and Sustainability in SE Portland. In Wortham-Galvin, B.D., Jennifer Allen and Jacob Sherman (Editors), Sustainable Solutions: University-Community Partnerships, Greenleaf Publishing.