18 May 2022

Durable Dining is Back!

Our Durable Dining program is back at the PSU and King Farmers Markets, after a two-year hiatus! What is Durable Dining, you ask? Read on to learn about this incredibly cool sustainability initiative at Portland Farmers Market, which involves our shoppers, vendors and at-market staff to implement and run this program smoothly.


Sara’s Tamales serves their food on durable dishes at our King and PSU Farmers Markets.


What is Durable Dining?

Durable Dining is a program promoting environmental responsibility by targeting waste reduction and encouraging reuse at our markets. This is accomplished by requiring hot food vendors to serve their food on reusable dishware. Vendors use utensils, cups, and dishware that are returned to their booth each market day, where they can be cleaned and reused the following week.

Eating at or near the market? Ordering hot food on durable dishware allows for peace of mind knowing you are supporting local businesses while reducing waste!


Rangoon Bistro serves their Burmese meals on durable dishes at the King Farmers Market. Yum!


Tips to Make Your Market Meal More Enjoyable

PSU Farmers Market

There is no need to stay in close proximity to the vendor you purchased food from to return your dishes with our “Dish Drops” located throughout the PSU Farmers Market. The PSU campus has many options for seating, even on rainy days! Many shoppers enjoy picnicking on the grass with their market goodies, relaxing on benches and steps throughout the south park blocks, or snacking while meandering through the market. Additionally, the Fariborz Maseeh Hall on the east side of the market has tables indoors for the reliably rainy days of Portland. All options are perfectly acceptable and provide easy access to our “Dish Drop” stations.


Shoppers enjoying their meals while listening to music at the King Farmers Market



King Farmers Market

The King Farmers Market is located adjacent to the King School Park, which has ample space for shoppers to sit back and enjoy meals from the market on durable dining. Each week we have musicians at the market who are sure to play tunes to jive with your food!






What to Do With Your Dishes Once You’re Done

After enjoying a meal, shoppers may return their used dishes to the vendor or the “Dish Drop” return stations conveniently located throughout the PSU Farmers Market. Market staff sort dishes at “Dish Drop” stations throughout the day and return them to vendors for washing and sanitizing so they can be used at the next market. Food waste goes into compost bins, and market staff work hard to ensure the compost stream is free of non-organic matter. 


Dirty Dish Return Stations In Various Forms


What If I Want to Purchase My Food To-Go?

Our vendors are prepared to accommodate shoppers that would like their food in a to-go container – just specify that you’ll need your meal to go.


How Does Durable Dining Reduce Landfill Waste?

It’s no secret; large gatherings, even farmers’ markets in Portland, create waste. When shoppers choose to eat their market meals on durable dishes, it reduces the amount of waste we collect at market. At our PSU location alone, this program has reduced our landfill waste by over 60%, from an average of 25 bags of garbage per market to just 9!

Finding sustainable solutions to reduce waste takes creativity and we are excited to bring back this program to markets after two years of our vendors exclusively using disposable dishes!


Left: Our Operations Director, Amber, eating a meal on durable dishes from The Marble Queen at the PSU Farmers Market. Right: Rangoon Bistro serves up one of their famous Burmese noodle dishes on a durable dish at the King Farmers Market.


We appreciate our vendors and shoppers who make this sustainability initiative successful.


Thank you for taking part in our Durable Dining program and enjoying your market meals with reusable dishes!