By Barb Skinner
Portland Farmers Market deeply values the whole community that surrounds the market – the farmers, the shoppers, the staff and volunteers, and the sponsors. Without each piece of this puzzle the market would not be able to help farmers thrive and the community benefit from the fresh food and educational programming present at each weekly market. Food Front Cooperative Grocery is a loyal fifth year sponsor with a weekly presence at the NW Market.
Food Front Coop has two store locations – in NW Portland and Hillsdale – and is a wonderful partner and complement to Portland Farmers Market shoppers in a variety of ways. On a practical level, many of the packaged and prepared foods that are not available at farmers markets are sold at Food Front. And don’t think that because they are packaged means they traveled a great distance to get to your table – from granola bars to salsa to prepared meals, Food Front seeks local suppliers. In fact, another sponsor of the Portland Farmers Market, Dave’s Killer Bread, did their first ever store demo at Food Front, and their products are still carried there.
A key focus of Food Front – and PFM – is to provide educational opportunities for the community to connect with local farmers, which supports their mission to both provide wholesome food and bridge the gap between local producers and the people of Portland. Some of these educational opportunities include an annual farm tour open to the public, and future plans for elementary school trips to the Sauvie Island Center, and regular register fundraisers for a variety of local non-profits. By connecting shoppers with farmers through educational opportunities as well as providing the community an outlet for supporting other local organizations, Food Front makes buying, preparing, and of course EATING delicious local food a more meaningful part of our lives.
So what is the relationship like between Food Front and Portland Farmers Market? 100% supportive in both directions. PFM relies on the support of local businesses like Food Front to fund educational outreach as well as keep vendors’ fees low. And Food Front loves having a weekly presence at the NW Market. In the words of Food Front’s Director of Marketing & Outreach, Jessica Miller, “Being a market sponsor allows us to connect with community members and local farmers and producers simultaneously. Food Front’s contribution to the NW Market is another way we can support local farmers and producers outside of our daily store operations.”
If you’re interested in checking out Food Front, stop by any time for your grocery shopping needs, but be sure not to miss the November 10th Thanksgiving Tasting Event! One of our market vendors, Deck Family Farm, has partnered with Food Front this year to sell their heritage turkeys. On November 10th, you will be able to sample their turkey and then order one in time for Thanksgiving!
Becoming a member-owner of Food Front includes a manageable fee of $150 (most owners break this up into $5/month payments) which allows them to meet the needs of their member-owners and our community. What better time to join than in the fall, when many farmers markets begin to wrap up for the season?