Category Archives: Local Portland, Oregon

Is nothing sacred?

It’s no secret to many of us that the nature of agriculture and food supply is changing world-wide. While I am certainly not an “organic” only shopper or eater, I do like to be aware of where my food comes from and I do place importance on supporting a more local, organic approach to eating.

The problem is systemic and I am not going to argue for one side or the other because in reality-as with most things in life-accountability is individual. We truly vote with our dollars. ALWAYS. EVERY DOLLAR YOU SPEND IS A VOTE IN FAVOR OF A PRODUCT, A COMPANY AND A PRODUCTION STYLE.

I’ve come to the opinion that many of our present day issues (environmental, social, political, etc) are the direct result of simply too many people in the world. I believe this to be the case with food supply and agriculture. There are simply too many people to feed. Ingenious engineers and scientists have risen to the challenge and have managed to develop seed that grows larger, faster and easier. Successful (albeit unscrupulous) seed corporations and mega-farms have been generously rewarded (and rightfully so) for producing the world’s daily bread.

I don’t mean to belittle the lack of social responsibility and personal accountability that the government and big agriculture have often displayed in executed this tremendous feat. In fact, this post is sparked by an article I read in today’s paper about Canola seed growers finally getting the green light to litter their genetically deformed seed which, over time, will undoubtedly destroy Oregon’s world class grass seed industry. However, that’s another post….possibly entitled “Mr./Mrs. Inc.”

With all of that in mind,I ask myself how can I make a difference?

Well, first of all-I stopped buying Canola oil. It’s not good for me, anyway. Here’s why.

Secondly, I make an effort to not consume. Overall. What I mean is simply not buying so much stuff.This seems so simple, but in the US culture that is what we do-buy stuff. That’s what fuels our economy. Buying stuff. And we do it so well!

Every time I think about anti-consuming, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World: “Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches”. Certainly in the US, we have been thoroughly conditioned to believe this to be true. Even my own husband, a non-US native, was embarrassed by the patched I sewed on the knee of my son’s school uniform. He promptly bought him some new pants.

Finally, in my consumption, I try to always keep in mind that EVERY DOLLAR I SPEND IS A VOTE IN FAVOR OF A PRODUCT, A COMPANY AND A PRODUCTION STYLE. When at all possible I try to research my purchases and choose the best, most responsible option. If you are interested in doing the same thing here is a guide to start with:

Better World Shopper Guide


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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Books, Food, Local Portland, Oregon, Political Issues


Hispanic Cultural Events-Portland, Oregon

As part of my mission to raise bilingual and bi-cultural children, I love taking the family to community and cultural events. It’s not only important, but an absolute necessity that a bilingual child be exposed the a second language/culture from many angles in order to value the relevancy of the language in every day life. The following is a list of many of the organizations/businesses that host events that I keep on my radar. Most (if not all) of these events are family friendly. The list in an evolving work in progress.

Centro Cultural (Cornelius, Oregon)

Adelante Mujeres (Forest Grove, Oregon)

El Grito y Fiestas Patrias in downtown Portland (Pioneer Square) on Sept. 15

Someday Lounge (Portland, OR) hosts an all-ages Dia De Muertos parade and altar making celebration.

Various Washington County Libraries have storytimes in Spanish and often hosts Hispanic cultural events

Portland Art Museum- often has exhibitions and events for the Hispanic Heritage Month of October

Grupo Condor– a touring folk music ensemble based in Portland, Oregon that embodies traditional musical styles of all of Spanish-speaking America.

Teatro Milagro– The Northwest’s premiere Latino arts and culture organization

Catholic Churches- Many local churches with large Latino congregations host fiestas for the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12th) and Las Posadas (December 16th-December 24th)

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta -Portland Waterfront Park

Educate Ya– fostering social change, cultural integration, professionalism, and wellness education in the Latino communities

Voz– an organization that empowers immigrants and day laborers to gain control over their working conditions through leadership development, organizing, and community education

KBOO Community Radio (90.7 fm in the Portland area) Every Sunday from noon to 7pm is programming in Spanish of interest to the Portland area

PCUN Radio Station-Oregon’s Farmworker Union Radio Station out of Woodburn, Oregon has children’s programming (think Alvin and the Chipmunks in Spanish) on Saturdays from 2-5 pm. You can stream it here.

el Hispanic News Events Calendar

Mirada Latina Magazine on Facebook sometimes lists some fun events. So does Pdxlatino

Portland Latin America Film Festiival- Usually in September or October

Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce hosts a Latino Cultural Festival, usually held in April or May

Salsa en la Calle– A fun, family friendly dance party held on the east side of the Willamette River in August

The Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg hosts a really fun Day of the Dead exhibit in October complete with crafts for the kids

Glenn and Viola Waters Cultural Center in Hillsboro has some fun things going on sometimes

Dia de los Muertos NW appear in costume throughout the year in the Portland area

Washington County History Museum recently had an exhibit about the Bracero program. They might have other culturally relevant things going on!

Ten Tiny Dances is a twice yearly event that features creativity and public performance of many different cultures, including the Hispanic Culture.

Ballet Folklorico México en la Piel, Ballet Folklorico Lo Nuestro and Ballet Folklorico Sol Azteca are the local Mexican dance troupes. Unfortunately, they don’t post events on their Facebook pages or otherwise online, but I love to see them dance!

Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana is usually held in early August


Make a Difference as a Family

  • Babysit for a single mom
  • Teach compassion with a Family Giving Box
  • Write a Family Mission Statement
  • Bake cookies for your local fire dept.
  • Pick up trash at local park as a family field trip
  • Create snack packs for Ronald McDonald residents
  • Welcome a new family to the neighborhood with a dessert and introduction
  • Pray for the poor of the world
  • Color a Smile-print coloring page to be given to lift someone in need up
  • Make a baby care kit for a baby in need
  • Take time each week to unplug as a family
  • Donate your time or treasure to the Make a Wish Foundation
  • Appreciate your church staff in some small, tangible way
  • Do yard work for an elderly neighbor
  • Make a Life Book for a child in Foster Care
  • Read You Were Made to Make A Difference as a family
  • Volunteer to cuddle babies at the hospital (older kids/teens are often allowed also)
  • Read Christmas Jars as family
  • Save loose change in a jar and give to a needy family at Christmas
  • Take a family volunteering vacation
  • Stop and say thank you to grocery clerks, waitresses. Ask them how they are doing.
  • Become a monthly sponsor to help pregnant girls in Kenya
  • Make a birthday cake for an underpriviledged child
  • Serve at home: make each other’s beds, clean up someone else’s mess
  • Write thank you notes to people who serve you: postman, yard guy, doctor, etc
  • Sponsor a child monthly (cannot recommend enough)
  • Make relief kits for disaster relief victims
  • Sew a sleeping bag for someone in need (easy pattern)
  • Volunteer at a non-profit
  • Make up some Hygiene Bags to pass out to local homeless people
  • Take your family on a tour of Red Cross
  • Put a monthly date on the calendar for a Family Service Night
  • Take a meal to a new family
  • Create a card for Habitat for Humanity new home owner
  • Encourage your older children to be a Mother’s Helper to a mom with young kids
  • Fill a backpack to help give a homeless person a lift up
  • Make birthday cards and deliver them to a local nursing home monthly
  • Donate books to Africa
  • Take your kids to a local Food Pantry with canned goods to donate
  • Deliver food for Meals on Wheels
  • Pray as a family on a regular basis for the people in your life.
  • Donate your hair to Locks of Love.
  • Give blood. (Take your kids with you and explain the importance).
  • Donate nice toys to cancer ward at a Children’s Hospital
  • Buy a mosquito net and help prevent malaria
  • Randomly celebrate each other with a special treat, meal, time
  • Donate school supplies to a classroom in need
  • Compliment and thank the teachers in your life
  • Buy a soccer ball for a child in poverty
  • Give a used bike to a homeless person
  • Donate coloring books/crayons to hospital emergency rooms
  • Host a 40 hour famine in your home (fast something!)
  • Give clothes to a family in need (call your church/school to find one)
  • Read to a special needs child
  • Only drink water for 2 weeks, give proceeds for clean water
  • Buy a goat for a family in extreme poverty
  • Give a donation in someone’s name to an organization you believe in
  • Send your used shoes to Reuse-a-Shoe
  • Become Certified Respite Caregivers to give Foster Family’s a babysitting
  • Decorate a Christmas tree at an elderly person’s house
  • Hold a collection drive: makeup, lotions, etc for women at a shelter
  • Find a Food Bank near you to volunteer
  • Deliver fresh fruit/veggies to children at a homeless shelter
  • Offer your pet for therapy to the elderly
  • Decorate nursing home rooms of residents with homemade art
  • Have regular “family nights” with games, ice cream, time together
  • Visit the NICU with treats for the doctors and anxious parents
  • Write to unsponsored children
  • Read to patients at a local hospital
  • Plan a family missions trip
  • Bake cookies, host a bake sale and donate money to the poor or a cause
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter
  • Plant a garden and share the produce
  • Hold a drive for lightly-used stuffed animals for police stations SAFE program
  • Write letters to servicemen
  • Give a micro loan and change a family in a third world country
  • Smile. At everyone.
  • Make care packages for children in the hospital
  • Instead of a birthday gifts, ask for donations for a charity or food for a food pantry
  • Shop fair trade
  • Offer to decorate hospital hallways during the holidays
  • Ask your city about volunteering to remove graffiti
  • Host a Lemon-AID stand and donate proceeds Blood Water
  • Make no-sew fleece blankets for Hospice
  • Collect pencils for African children
  • Send a care package to our military
  • Read the Bible together as a family every day
  • Collect shoes for Shoes for Kids (started by an 11 year old girl)
  • Let kids choose a charity to donate to for one of their Christmas gifts
  • Become a foster family
  • Pay for someone’s drink in Starbuck’s drive-thru. Make sure your kids enjoy the act of kindness.
  • Help your kids starts a neighborhood or school Bible Study with their peers
  • Volunteer to plant flowers for your school/church flowerbeds
  • Make a Care Bag for a child in need
  • Welcome home a hero at the airport
  • Complain less
  • Start a Kindness Club with your family
  • Let your light shine!
  • Look for opportunities to be the difference in someone’s life
  • Host a virtual food drive
  • Start a KidzRap on your street!
  • Purchase gifts through families fundraising for adoption.
  • Make a quilt for NICU familes
  • Pay the toll for the car behind you
  • Invite friends to Vacation Bible School
  • Help keep families together
  • Take someone flowers from your garden
  • Participate in Operation Christmas Child
  • Make Valentine’s Gifts for the elderly at our local care center.
  • Send a care package to our military.
  • Buy restaurant gift cards and distribute to the homeless on street corners.
  • Collect items for restoration bags for girls coming out of trafficking.
  • Prepare New Mommy Blessings bags for our local Pregnancy Resource Center (newborn baby supplies (diapers, rash cream, toy, gender neutral outfit, burp cloth), new mom care items (nipple cream, lotions, etc), wrapped in a cute baby blanket or receiving blanket)
  • Bake cookies for our local Fire Department.
  • Pick up trash at local park as a family field trip.
  • Fill Action Packs for the persecuted church (via Voice of the Martyrs).
  • Adopt an foster child for Christmas through Angel Tree.

My passions-eating locally and seasonally

Call it a fad or a trend, I have fallen victim to the idea that the best way to feed my family is to look to local farmers and ranchers as much as possible. The way I see it, I am not only supporting our local economy, environment and preserving open lands, but I am also providing my family with fresh, healthy, seasonal food, avoiding toxic chemicals, avoiding genetically modified foods and teaching my kids about REAL FOOD.

I found this quote from The Apple Grower by Michael Phillips that about sums up how I am feeling about food:

“Each of us shares in the lasting success of local agriculture. No longer will I assume that food just appears at the supermarket regardless of the season. The local growers who provide my sustenance are people I need to know. I understand that their livelihood is intimately connected to the vibrancy of my community. It matters to me how my food is grown and that it comes from nearby. Paying full worth for a life-enhancing food supply is more than a matter of shopping for the lowest price. Making agriculture sustainable is as much my responsibility as the farmer’s.”

Like with most things in life, it is definitely the journey and not the destination that I find pleasurable. While I am far from my goal of eating 100% locally and seasonally, I’ve noticed that recently I’ve even found the supermarket to be somewhat awkward. I’ve always been a supporter of farmer’s markets and was thrilled when I was offered a job with the Beaverton Farmer’s Market. Now there will be no excuse for me not to shop locally during the market season. But, what to do during those long, rainy winter months? We have to eat! Here are a few options in the Portland Area:

Year-round Farmers Markets:

Many of the farmer’s at the market grow and sell year round. Ask them about year-round CSA options

Other Options:

Here are a few challenges that I am trying to overcome:

  • Finding local sources for bulk, non-GMO, grains, flours and legumes
  • Affordable locally pasture raised poultry and beef
  • Finding the time to preserve the summer harvest


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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Familia, Food, Local Portland, Oregon