Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 43

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE they educated her on how to set the price at demand. A lot of our fellow ethnic food vendors feel undervalued, or sometimes we feel we need to serve more. One of the things I see in the Micro Mercantes and in the community as a whole is that we’re setting up our prices, our standards higher, and we’re also going back to the slow food movement, making it all from scratch instead of from cans or anything like that; we have also been more focused on being part of the farmers’ market. We go there; we get a product, and we kind of interchange, and it’s a whole community; it’s actually pretty impressive how it works; it’s complex. And we trade within the vendors so nothing gets wasted. I think St. Johns and Hollywood have a gleaners program. So they come around; they pick up food. We’ve been moving around; we have a new location. It’s at the Portland Mercado; so that’s another project they’re doing. Emerging microbusinesses have a place to sell instead of on the streets, providing them with better conditions. And I think there are new things starting out: they’re planning on doing another market in north Portland. We’ll see how that goes, and I’m just glad to be here and share our story briefly. Gretchan Jackson: Hi, my name is Gretchan Jackson. I’m here with Amanda Cross. We are from Montavilla Farmers Market, and we manage the market. Amanda is the market manager this year, and I’m here as development director and founder of the market. It’s in its ninth season, and we’re at 7600 block of Southeast Stark Street, across from Mr. Plywood. Here we’re at 85th, so we’re not far from you. Yet, we find there are a lot of barriers to markets. And I’m sure just naming them brings up a lot of topics for folks. But at our foundation we’re a nexus of customers, hungry eaters who want to come and know their producers, their growers, their makers of fine foods, and it has the amazing secondary effect of being community space in places where ordinarily there is nothing. It’s been an exciting journey. I think the focus that we reach out to now especially is, how do we solve those pieces of access? Is it not knowing how to shop a market, not being accustomed to it? In our culture in America, farmers’ markets are kind of a novelty unless you were in a very small town and you were a grower yourself. Is it a single event? Is it for fun to have strawberries for lunch? The barriers to shopping at markets can be all of those things. But they need to serve the population at large. And it’s fantastic that in Portland there are so many markets, and they’re accessible to all people in ways that are meaningful. And I’d like to pass it to Amanda to explain a little more about the specific programs. Amanda Cross: In Max’s last talk, he mentioned SNAP, which used to be called food stamps. When food stamps were actual food stamps, a piece of paper you could use—it changed recently to an electronic benefit card— 40