PORTLAND, Ore. – March 1, 2012 – Last night, Edible Portland honored six organizations with its annual “Local Hero Awards.” More than 200 people from the local food community gathered at Ecotrust, which publishes Edible Portland, to pay tribute to all 24 Local Hero Award nominees and congratulate the following winners: Sauvie Island Organics, ¿Por Qué No?, Springfield Creamery, makers of Nancy’s Yogurt, Ninkasi Brewing Company, Adelante Mujeres, and People’s Food Coop.
Now in its 3rd year, the Local Hero Award recognizes outstanding members of our regional food community who are setting high standards with their environmental and social practices, high quality, economic impact, and commitment to building a robust food system in the Pacific Northwest in six categories: Farm, Restaurant, Food Artisan, Beverage Artisan, Nonprofit, and Retailer. Edible Portland solicits nominations from its readers; through an open voting process, the community selects the winners. This year, more than 2,000 community members cast their votes. The complete list of nominees can be found online at edibleportland.com.
“Last year’s win in the Artisan Food category was a very pleasant surprise for us,” remarked Dave Dahl of Dave’s Killer Bread, the 2011 winner of Food Artisan, as he prepared to mount the podium and pass the torch. Many of this year’s winners, including Springfield Creamery, makers of Nancy’s Yogurt and the 2012 Food Artisan winner, have been forging close partnerships with local producers and eaters for decades. Todd Wallace, board president of People’s Food Co-op, upon winning this year’s retailer award, exclaimed, “We are honored to be recognized by our community in this way. We have been around for 42 years and hope to be around for many more as part of this growing and developing network of food producers, food distributors, and, of course, food eaters!”
“Every nominee deeply contributes to the health and vitality of our region,” said Ericka Carlson, publisher of Edible Portland. “We are fortunate here in Oregon to be surrounded by inspiring visionaries.”
This year, for the first time, Edible Portland has produced a Local Hero Award Passport with exciting offers from the 2012 nominees, ranging from free pumpkins to discounts on a quarter-cow of grass-fed beef. The Passport offers the public a special entry point into our local food community. There are only 100 available Local Hero Award Passports, each valued at over $100. They cost $20 each, with all proceeds going to Ecotrust’s work to build a robust regional food system. To purchase a Passport, please contact Lola Milholland, 503.467.0795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ecotrust will continue to host the Local Hero Award to elevate the conversation about the ways in which local food businesses and organizations show heroism every day. In September 2012, Edible Portland will invite the community to submit nominations for the 2013 Local Hero Awards.
About the Winners
Sauvie Island Organics
One of Portland’s longest running CSA farms, Sauvie Island Organics has been a pioneer in the movement to provide fresh vegetables directly to local restaurants and citizens. Farmer Shari Raider provides her workers with year-round employment and benefits, has mentored numerous young farmers, and helped found the Sauvie Island Center, a farm education program for elementary school students.
¿Por Qué No?
At its two Portland locations, this taqueria serves local hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and wild line-caught Pacific Coast fish. It also uses heart-healthy rice bran oil and afterward converts the used oil into fuel for the delivery van. Owner Bryan Steelman provides full health and dental insurance to all employees who work 28 or more hours.
A child of the 1960s, Springfield Creamery, maker of Nancy’s Yogurt, has become the queen of cultured dairy and soy products, from kefir to yogurt to sour cream, which are all teeming in beneficial bacteria. The family-owned and operated company sits at the center of a network of related Oregon food businesses that work in partnership to build a thriving local food community.
Ninkasi Brewing Company
The company that brought you Total Domination IPA is committed to serving their community more than just good beer. The brewery proudly supports local festivals and neighborhood gatherings, and in 2011, Ninkasi released a specially crafted beer in appreciation of its local watershed, with all proceeds going to the McKenzie River Trust.
Lighting the way on the path to justice and empowerment for Latina immigrant women and their families, this community-based nonprofit provides a wide array of programs in microenterprise, organic farm education, food access and legislative action to bring the oft-unrecognized voices of immigrant women forward.
People’s Food Co-op
As Southeast Portland’s go-to spot for bulk staple foods, local dairy products and organic produce, People’s commitment to sustainability manifests itself in a weekly farmers’ market and support of fair trade products and local craftspeople. Owned by a community rather than an individual, People’s operates within a non-hierarchical and truly democratic model; it really belongs to the people.
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About Edible Portland
Edible Portland is published four times a year by Ecotrust. The free publication, available at local farmers markets, grocery stores, restaurants, cooking schools and other locations throughout the region, addresses food and farming issues, and shares untold tales from the local food community. Advertising and subscription information is available at www.edibleportland.com.
For more than 20 years, Ecotrust has converted $80 million in grants into more than $500 million in capital for local people, businesses, and organizations from Alaska to California. Ecotrust’s many innovations include co-founding the world’s first environmental bank, starting the world’s first ecosystem investment fund, creating a range of programs in fisheries, forestry, food, farms and indigenous affairs, and developing new scientific and information tools to improve social, economic and environmental decision-making. Ecotrust works locally in ways that promise hope abroad, and it honors and supports the wisdom of Native and First Nation leadership in its work. Learn more at www.ecotrust.org.