NYC Magazine Celebrates Land Use and Oregon Food

Edible Manhattan magazine, in a profile from its September-October issue, highlights the vital relationship between our celebrated food scene and our innovative land use laws. It's just another example of outside organizations celebrating the things that make Oregon special.

The magazine notes that "the sheer proximity of abundant farms-to-tables in Portland is enough to turn a Gotham chef green with envy."

While the piece focuses on several Portland restaurants and food innovators, it makes conscious note of the role of Oregon's farmland protections in making the food scene thrive:

While other great food cities might rely on their ethnic communities (like Miami’s Calle Ocho) or age-old culinary traditions (New Orleans’ creole cooking), Portland’s status as a food capital is homegrown—it stems directly from its wealth of fresh, local ingredients. And eating local isn’t just a fad out here—it’s backed up by the law. In the early 1970s, Oregon created urban growth boundaries to protect farms and forests from encroaching sprawl. All this makes traveling through Oregon a little surreal—it’s as if the roadside strip mall hadn’t been invented. “When people ask [if growth boundaries are] working, I say, ‘Drive between Portland and Salem,’” says Jim Johnson, a planner for the Oregon Department of Agriculture, on an online television show called “Cooking Up a Story.” “Where else can you drive an interstate freeway … and see nothing but farmland between major metropolitan areas, except Oregon?”

Highlighting restaurants as diverse as Portland's Bunk Sandwiches, McMinnville's Community Plate, and Carlton's Winemakers Studio, the profile notes that access to local produce is a key driver of the quality and quantity of great restaurants, wineries, and processors that are bringing millions of dollars to Oregon's economy--a trend which is now even influencing the dining scene in New York. 

Read the whole piece, which features interviews with a wide range of interesting Oregonians in all aspects of the food business.