On March 2, we threw open the doors of the newly renovated historic ironworks at the Redd on Salmon Street for Redd Reveal! The celebration was a taste of the future we’re working toward, one where the well-being of people and place is at the center of it all.
The sun shone on Redd Reveal! Over the course of the day, we welcomed more than 1,400 visitors to the Redd. Together, we sampled fare from forward-thinking food and beverage artisans, learned a few new skills in the kitchen, gathered around the flame of a Swedish log candle, and enjoyed a rare, chilly but radiant early Spring day in Portland. We love putting on events like Redd Reveal, because they are so much more than a party, they’re an opportunity to showcase the radical, practical change we seek.
Reinforcing the vision of regenerative agriculture
The Redd on Salmon Street was envisioned as a working hub for the regional food economy, focused on building a more restorative, equitable, and delicious food system. At Redd Reveal, we all had the chance to taste this in action, with chefs featuring flavors sourced directly from local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen — including producers participating in our Ag of the Middle Accelerator program. These producers often operate at a scale somewhat bigger than farmers’ markets, but smaller than what’s supported by the industrial food system. And they are more likely to invest in regenerative production practices and reinvest in their communities. So, when you bit into a Tamale Boy Pollo Pibil Tostada featuring pasture-raised Marion Acres chicken or sipped Finnriver Cider produced from their salmon-friendly orchard, you are supporting producers who work to restore and protect the lands and waters that will sustain us for generations to come.
Celebrating talents and elevating voices
In building a more equitable food system, we work to elevate the voices and talents of those who have been historically and systematically left behind. At Redd Reveal, we invited in businesses who we believe are leading the way in building a food system that works for everyone. Together at the event, we learned butchery from Po’Shines Cafe and Cason’s Fine Meats — Black-owned businesses that serve a youth mission in their communities. We shucked oysters with Maylin Chavez, the chef/owner of Olympia Oyster Bar which focuses on oysters from Pacific Northwest waters. We built temari sushi with Lola Milholland and Yuri Baxter-Neal. Lola (a former Ecotruster) started Umi Organic, a fresh ramen noodle company that sources organic grains from regenerative farmers. Yuri’s company, LIFE Sampling, hosts events for Japanese visitors introducing them to the flavors of our region. Chef Salimatu Amabebe, who hosts Nigerian vegan pop-up dinners called Black Feast, introduced attendees to chin chin, a sweet and delicious snack. And Chef Stacey Givens of The Side Yard Farm, who is also an urban farmer in the Cully Neighborhood and champion of seasonal, regional eating, brought some mystery with the reinvigorated Blind Tasting Bingo.
Establishing the Redd as a community hub
The Redd is comprised of two city blocks: Redd West is a working hub that supports growing food businesses. And Redd East, where the majority of Redd Reveal was hosted, is designed to be a landmark events center. We want this campus to be for everyone. And it was especially important for us to welcome our families to the grand opening celebration. We want our kids to see what’s possible, to see all of us coming together around ideas that matter, and to feel like they’re a part of it. Whether it’s keeping the conversation going about the importance of farm to school at events, enabling producers to build their business to the point where they can supply school lunch programs, or celebrating the success of national farm to school programming through FoodCorps, the Redd on Salmon Street is focused on the future we seek and the one our kids will inherit.
Seeing the inner workings of a big bet that’s paying off
Four years ago, Ecotrust’s founder, Spencer Beebe, saw an opportunity to bring regional food produced by farmers, ranchers and fishermen focused on soil and water health to the heart of Portland. As you can imagine, investing in and reimagining the two-block Redd on Salmon Street was no small feat. Now, with the campus complete, it’s on us to prove that an urban hub for food and ideas can play a critical role in regional well-being. If you toured the facilities at Redd West, you saw that vision coming to life. There, 171 businesses are utilizing cold storage, warehousing, office, and distribution services. Beyond that, they are using the campus and their proximity to one another to build a stronger network of business for good, sharing expertise, generating creative solutions to mutual challenges, and supporting their shared success. And you’re a part of that.
Inviting you to sustain this work going forward
Redd Reveal was a taste of the future we’re working toward. But neither our work at Ecotrust nor the success of the Redd on Salmon Street is possible without your support. As soon as you walked through the big roll-up doors at Redd Reveal, we invited you to join us. We’d like to extend that invitation again: As a Sustaining Donor, your monthly contribution helps ensure that durable progress toward a more equitable, prosperous future starts right here, at home. Thank you to everyone — chefs, sponsors, producers, attendees, musicians, face painters, silent disco dancers, nursing mamas, mixologists, and marshmallow connoisseurs — who joined us for Redd Reveal. It truly was a day to remember.