Locus Focus on 05/03/10
DOES PORTLAND HAVE A FOOD CZAR? (and why we need one)
Portland is the only city in America that has a Food Policy and Programs Office. And while many communities are starting to talk about creating Food Policy Councils, Multnomah County and Portland have had such a council for years. So why is there so much interest in food and its politics here in the Rose City? And why should food policy be at the heart of any discussion about creating sustainable and resilient communities?
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk about these issues with Portland's Food Czar - or as he actually calls himself, the manager of food policy and programs for the City of Portland. His name is Steve Cohen, and it turns out that he and Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein go way back together to what seems now like another era, when Frances Moore Lappe's book Diet for a Small Planet was the bible of the counter-culture communities that nurtured young Steve and Barbara. They'll talk about what inspired food politics consciousness 40 years ago and how what was once the provence of the counter-culture is now taking its place in the mainstream. Which is why Portland now has a food czar.
Steve Cohen manages food policy and programs for the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. He focuses on all aspects of a sustainable food system including planning, food security, education, economic development, urban agriculture, purchasing, composting, and climate change. Steve also staffs the Portland-Multnomah County Food Policy Council.
Steve has extensive experience in purchasing, distribution and marketing for major regional, national, and international food and beverage companies. Over the past 30 years he has played key roles in establishing indoor and outdoor festival markets, performing arts venues and community spaces in Oregon.