There’s an old saying that you are what you eat. But as we’ve learned in recent years from filmmakers like Robert Kenner and investigative journalists like Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan, “we are what what we eat eats, too.”
There’s an old saying that you are what you eat. But as we’ve learned in recent years from filmmakers like Robert Kenner and investigative journalists like Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan, “we are what what we eat eats, too.” Through the film Food, Inc. and the books Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, it has become apparent that our food system is in disarray and that it is not only harming our bodies, but the planet as well.
When it comes to the question of what we should eat—as individuals with our own health concerns and as part of the larger society—it’s easy to get confused. Even products that are touted as “organic” and “natural” may not be the best options, as the USDA seal of approval doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things.
Since none of us plan to become “breathe-air-ians” in the near future and not many of us have the opportunity to live on a farm and grow our own food, it’s about time we recognized the most sustainable food sources that Portland has to serve up our food—and that they aren’t too hard on the pocketbook.
Portland Farmers Market
The seasonal farmers market, which takes place in the South Park Blocks near campus on Saturday morning until 2 p.m. and has been open for a few weeks now, is an obvious winner among local, inexpensive and sustainable food.
A common misconception about the farmers market is that it’s too expensive for the average college student, but this isn’t so. If you shop carefully, you could get away with spending no more than $25 for a week’s worth of food at the farmers market.
Not only can you get an awesome and inexpensive meal while at the farmers market, with the array of food vendors serving up delicious food for the moment (like, for example, award-winning biscuits and gravy from Pine State Biscuit), but you can also stock up on fresh produce and local cruelty-free meat for the week.
The best bet for optimal pick of produce and shorter lines is to get there as early as possible.
For a full list of other market locations and times, check them out online at www.portlandfarmersmarket.org.
Co-ops and local groceries
Cooperation and local groceries are the next best choice for those who have schedules restricting weekly ventures to the farmer’s market. Be thankful you live in a city where people care about the food they produce, sell and consume, because we are privileged to have a variety of awesome food co-ops which allow us to sustainably get our munch on.
Check out Food Front Cooperative Grocery on Northwest 23rd Avenue and Thurman Street or People’s Co-op at Southeast 21st Avenue and Division Street for a great selection of local produce and local meat at a pretty decent price.
Whole Foods, New Seasons, Trader Joe’s, etc.
As opposed to the farmer’s market or co-ops and local groceries, Whole Foods, New Seasons and Trader Joe’s don’t come off sounding nearly as sustainable (or inexpensive), but don’t be too harsh now. If, for some reason (like lack of transportation or work) you can’t make it out to either of the options listed above, these are your next best bet.
Believe it or not, when it comes to locally sourced and organic food, you’ll spend less for your goods at one of these places than you will at Safeway or Fred Meyer. So don’t be afraid of them while thinking that you’ll spend a fortune on your food—venture in and check it out for yourself.
Besides, Whole Foods or New Seasons are awesome places to go for food on the go, because they have prime choices at their delis and prepared food sections that won’t cost a pretty penny (I’ve spent less than $5 on lunch before at Whole Foods).