PORTLAND, Ore. – Last night, Edible Portland, a quarterly magazine of the nonprofit Ecotrust, honored six businesses and nonprofits with its annual Local Hero Award. More than 250 people gathered at Ecotrust to eat their fill of locally crafted sausages, krauts, and beers, pay tribute to 24 Local Hero Award nominees, and congratulate the following Local Hero Award winners: Dancing Roots Farm, Grand Central Bakery, Bee Local, Fort George Brewery, Friends of Family Farmers, and Food Front Cooperative Grocery.
Now in its 4th year, the Local Hero Award recognizes everyday heroism by members of our regional food community in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The award focuses on the people and businesses who are setting high standards with their environmental and social practices, high quality, regional economic impact, and commitment to building a robust food system in the Pacific Northwest. Edible Portland solicits nominations from its readers in six categories: Farm/Ranch, Restaurant, Food Artisan, Beverage Artisan, Nonprofit, and Retailer. After a selection committee narrows the nominees to four per category, the community selects the winners through an open voting process. This year, more than 2,300 people cast their votes. The complete list of nominees can be found online at edibleportland.com.
Reflecting on winning this year in the Farm category, Shari Sirkin of Dancing Roots Farm said, “We love our food community so much, and we feel really blessed to have the opportunity to provide our CSA members and local restaurants with our healthy produce. The work we do is hard and challenging, but being recognized for our efforts makes it all worth it.”
“The Local Hero Award Ceremony is my favorite time of the year,” Edible Portland editor Laura Ford added. “This is an opportunity to introduce to the greater community the businesses and organizations, large and small, who are doing the hard work of building a robust regional food system. Every nominee deserves recognition for their efforts to create new opportunities for the wellbeing of people and place here in the Pacific Northwest.”
Edible Portland will continue to present the Local Hero Award this coming year, soliciting nominations in January 2014.
About the Winners
FARM: Dancing Roots Farm
Shari Sirkin and Bryan Dickerson grow prized heirloom vegetables on their ten-acre organic farm in Troutdale for Portland restaurants and 150 CSA members’ boxes each week during the growing season. They also serve as a dedicated voice and council for small family farmers. Sirkin leads the charge as president of Portland Area Community-Supported Agriculture Coalition (PACSAC), speaking beside U.S. Senators and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, among many others, to advocate for policies that support strong connections between local farmers and eaters. Sirkin and Dickerson have also built relationships with local schools and learning centers in order to bring farm-fresh food to those without reliable access.
RESTAURANT: Grand Central Bakery
With several locations in both Seattle and Portland and a humming wholesale business, Grand Central Bakery supports many regional producers and brings affordable, exceptional artisan breads, pastries, breakfast and lunch fare to eaters. One hundred percent of their flour is grown in the Northwest, and they work directly with farms to source ingredients for their scratch-made breakfasts and lunches. Grand Central Bakery donates all edible leftovers to those in need, and contributes to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Friends of Family Farmers, Human Solutions and the Multnomah County Library Foundation.
grandcentralbakery.com | @grandcentralPDX
FOOD ARTISAN: Bee Local
The longevity of the honeybee is a critical issue for the health of agriculture, and Damian Magista of Bee Local is a strong advocate for our native pollinators. Magista provides Portland with honey from four micro-apiaries in Eastside neighborhoods, while spreading the word on the importance of honeybees in the food cycle to children and adults, world renowned chefs, local brewers, and ice creameries. Magista’s approach to honey has been referred to as an “urban agriculture renaissance,” as the flavors of the honey produced reflect the neighborhood in which the bees forage for nectar. Bee Local is available at Pastaworks and The Woodsman Market in Portland.
beelocal.com | @BeeLocalHoney
BEVERAGE ARTISAN: Fort George Brewery
Their beers can be found throughout the Pacific Northwest, but with roots planted in Astoria, Fort George goes beyond brewing great drinks. They are huge advocates of keeping their ingredients and products local, and they dedicate themselves to bringing the community together. Co-owners and brewers Chris Nemlowill and Jack Harris revitalized the Fort George historic building for the brewery and pub, bringing many new jobs to the area “Co-Hoperative Ale,” a seasonal brew, is made of fresh hops that community members grow. The recent addition of a garden to their Astoria location is exemplary of Fort George’s passion to give strength to their community as well as their brews.
fortgeorgebrewery.com | @FortGeorgeBeer
NONPROFIT: Friends of Family Farmers
Friends of Family Farmers (FoFF) unites the voices of small-scale family farmers in Oregon and advocates for socially responsible agriculture. Through listening sessions, FoFF engages newcomers and longtime farmers alike to learn what issues are important to them. They bring these concerns, ranging from local food security and food justice to community economic development, to Salem. At monthly “InFARMation and beer” sessions, FoFF brings urban folks together with farmers to learn about their challenges and build a more knowledgeable, compassionate, and engaged food community.
friendsoffamilyfarmers.org | @FarmFriends
RETAILER: Food Front Cooperative Grocery
With locations in northwest and southwest Portland, Food Front is Portland’s longest standing community-owned grocery store. Founded in 1972, Food Front now has over 10,000 owner-members. The co-op sustains a healthy and vibrant community by seeking out local suppliers and producers of wholesome foods, seasonal produce, local beer and wine, and fair-trade items. The co-op often provides the first venue for artisan producers to bring their products to market. Every month, Food Front features a community fundraiser, and members have opportunities throughout the year to go on field trips to farms, ranches, and more.
foodfront.coop | @FoodFrontCoop
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.@edibleportland
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. @ecotrust