PSU's Institute for Sustainable Solutions ran a nice article about our field trip to Woodburn to visit with PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste), the primary union supporting farmworkers in the Willamette Valley and beyond. The trip brought together students from my Feeding the City class and our Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems. We followed our visit to PCUN with a tour and lunch at the Portland Mercado in East PDX.
Here's the article:
Food Systems field trip features local Latinx movements in agriculture and community-led retail businessJuly 6, 2017 - 3:05pm — Lauren Everett
In June, students in the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems joined Nathan McClintock’s Feeding The City class on a field trip to learn about the labor side of food justice.
Founded in 1985 and located in the small agricultural town of Woodburn, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN) is Oregon’s farm workers union, and represents over 6,000 members ...
Click here to continue reading the full text of the article.
I'm proud to announce that several of my students past and present, have exciting news!
Erin Goodling successfully defended her dissertation! It's called "Grassroots Resistance in the Sustainable City: Portland Harbor Superfund Site Contamination, Cleanup, and Collective Action".
Melanie Malone also just successfully defended her dissertation, entitled "Using Critical Physical Geography to Map the Unintended Consequences of Conservation Management Programs". She's headed off to a faculty position with a liberal arts undergraduate program called The Oregon Extension.
Dillon Mahmoudi has accepted a tenure-track position in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he'll be rocking the spatial analysis and geovisualization worlds with his cutting edge contributions to critical GIS... he successfully defended his thesis a few weeks ago, entitled "Making Software, Making Regions".
Congrats, Drs. Goodling, Malone, and Mahmoudi !!!
And there's more...
Mike Simpson, now a PhD candidate in geography at UBC, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to spend next year in the Department of Geography at the University of Minnesota, where he'll be working on his dissertation research on indigeneity, and pipelines. His project is entitled: "Capillaries of Capital: Neoliberal Natures, Leaky Sovereignties, and Poltical Ecologies of Pipelines".
And last but not least, Diana Denham received a prestigious Grassroots Development Field Research Fellowship from the Inter-American Foundation, which will fund her dissertation research in Oaxaca. Her project is entitled: "The Persistence of Indigenous Markets in Mexico’s “Supermarket Revolution".
Congrats to all! You make me really proud!
I'm a little behind in posting about UrbanFood in the news...
Back in July, I was interviewed by the online news magazine OZY . They wanted my opinion a capital-intensive, high-tech hydroponic contraption. In addition to the article, part of their series called The Good Sh*t, they made a little video about the story which you can watch here. I got to be the crotchety academic who rhetorically asks: “But who actually has access to these resources?”
Today, the Portland Tribune posted a story about our Agriculture MTL-PDX field course. Here's a snippet:
Graduate students at Portland State University recently gave their counterparts from Montreal, Canada, a grand tour of the city — not of the food scene, but the urban gardens, which both cities are famous for. Eight PSU graduate students took eight Canadian graduate students to meetings and site visits at some of Portland’s best-kept secrets: urban gardens that have sprouted in recent years to help fight hunger, empower low-income residents, educate children, and give youth and adults access to healthy food right in their backyard or neighborhood. It’s fascinating stuff for planners, since it is a byproduct of gentrification in hot spots like Portland, says Nate McClintock, the PSU assistant professor who spearheaded the student exchange. “Essentially, urban agriculture arises where there’s vacant land, cheap land, a low market rate or wherever food justice activity pops up,” McClintock says. “So many of these projects produce food to address the so-called food desert.” The aim of the exchange, he says, was for students to understand “how entangled urban agriculture is with processes and change and gentrification.”
Don't forget to visit the class website if you haven't already!
Congrats to my PhD student Amy Coplen on a fantastic panel she organized here at PSU a few weeks ago. "Working for Food Justice: What does farm-to-table really mean?" brought together over 60 food workers, labor organizers, and members of the PSU community to discuss how we can advocate for food workers. Panelists included representatives of Piñeros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Adelante Mujeres, the IWW, and UNITE HERE.
"Many of those who work to put food on our plates cannot afford to feed themselves. Food labor— including cultivating, harvesting, sorting, packaging, processing, transporting, marketing, retailing, preparing, and serving food—constitutes over half of all human labor. Yet, this work remains largely invisible to consumers. The city of Portland is rapidly gaining status as the foodie capital of the world. Local restaurants are praised for their dedication to local and organic sourcing, but little attention is paid to the work that goes into preparing these meals. In “farm-to-table” restaurants, food somehow magically and gracefully makes its way from the field to your plate. The term “farm-to-table” itself erases from the diners consciousness, all of the hands and bodies and minds that work so hard to feed us. More broadly, the alternative food movement is so focused on environmental sustainability and the health of those consuming food that the wellbeing of those who work in the food system is largely ignored."
Congratulations to Amy on this fantastic effort. Read more about the event and panel participants here.
Here's the abstract:
Portland, Oregon is renowned as a paradigmatic “sustainable city”. Yet, despite popular conceptions of the city as a progressive ecotopia and the accolades of planners seeking to emulate its innovations, Portland’s sustainability successes are inequitably distributed. Drawing on census data, popular media, newspaper archives, city planning documents, and secondary-source histories, we attempt to elucidate the structural origins of Portland’s “uneven development”, exploring how and why the urban core of this paragon of sustainability has become more White and affluent while its outer eastside has become more diverse and poor. We explain how a “sustainability fix” – in this case, green investment in the city’s core – ultimately contributed to the demarcation of racialized poverty along 82nd Avenue, a major north-south arterial marking the boundary of East Portland. Our account of structural processes taking place at multiple scales contributes to a growing body of literature on eco-gentrification and displacement and inner-ring suburban change while empirically demonstrating how Portland’s advances in sustainability have come at the cost of East Portland’s devaluation. Our “30,000 foot” perspective reveals systemic patterns that might then guide more fine-grained analyses of particular political-socio-cultural processes, while providing cautionary insights into current efforts to extend the city’s sustainability initiatives using the same green development model.
if you have institutional access, you can download it directly from the journal website. Otherwise, you can click here for a post-print version (ie, the final draft that I'm allowed to post w/out infringing copyright laws) or just email me for a PDF copy of the real thing!
To illustrate the realities of gentrification and displacement in ecotopia, we include as an epigraph some lines from Portland (now NYC) rapper Luck-One:
It’s hard to find where I dwell because home is only a shell
and the people I was raised with can’t afford the raised rent
so the neighborhood shifted and faded out of existence
Nathan McClintock is a geographer and professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University.