James Beard Public Market will be a permanent, daily, year-round, indoor-outdoor food emporium that brings people into closer contact with their daily sustenance. Locally owned food merchants (green grocers, cheese and fish mongers, butchers, specialty food sellers, etc.) will showcase local foods whenever possible but will also provide the necessities of everyday culinary life – from near or afar. That local connection to those growing and selling the food we eat has been, literally, a missing ingredient in contemporary North American food culture. Americans have the opportunity to repair an already fractured food system and public markets are just one way to accomplish this goal.
Even though Portland’s food culture is thriving, there are still some missing links in the food chain. A true public market offers daily accessibility, convenience, and a permanent public space that has been proven time and time again, across continents and millennia, to be community magnets. People come to public markets because they offer a venue for authentic and personalized commerce, as well as community gathering space.
The Market’s education program, with a focus on grandparents teaching their grandchildren about their almost-lost-forever food-ways, will reach ever-more children and families. And more people will have access to healthy, regionally produced foods than ever before.
We seek to collaborate with other members and the working groups to clarify their relative value propositions to the Portland metro community, to illuminate partnership opportunities, and to work collaboratively to bring the shared vision of a robust and inclusive food community to life.