Foodworx Conference 2015

Portland Foodworx Conference | The Spicy Bee

One of the things I love about Portland is how food is always a central focus of the community. Between the popularity of year-round farmer’s markets to the food-centric events like FEAST, Chef’s Week PDX, Taste of the Nation (just to name a few)–food rules. One upcoming annual event is about the direction that food is going in–Foodworx Conference exists to stimulate a community discussion. When I attended last year, major topics of interest to me included mobile food culture, cooking like our mothers, and bringing food growing into urban neighborhoods.

At the time of attendance, I worked for a mobile food cart restaurant company that had more than quadrupled in size in its first 5 years–so to listen to different people in the industry talk about food cart culture, how to market, and just what you do with yourself when you begin to be successful, was very beneficial. Do you jump to a brick-and-mortar ($$$$)? Do you just open more carts? Go into catering? It was intensely interesting to me as it is so different from most small businesses I had been with in the past. The company I was with that the time did all of the above (in a certain order, ie–more trucks, catering, B&M). There’s a growing issue among carts in PDX in particular too–property is becoming such a hot commodity, many popular food pods are being sold off from underneath the carts to make room for high end condos and apartments (in this example, Cartopia on SE Hawthorne).

Chef Lisa Shroeder, owner of Mother’s Bistro, discussed how the states have evolved from the original cooking habits of the immigrants who moved here to dependency on fast, easy food. Some of the things I loved most about her talk were the stories she shared about her life growing up and cooking with her mother, who really knew her way around hearty whole meals that make your tastebuds sing–I know this for fact as in my other opportunities to work with Chef Lisa, she’s gifted me a copy of her newest cookbook, Mother’s Best: Comfort Food That Takes You Home Again. The recipes in there have no shortage of good fats–just how I love them. 🙂

The other salient speech given that year was by the owner of My Street Grocery, a mobile fresh market! I loved this idea as it brings the fresh produce into the urban setting, where it may be hard to come by with all the neon fast food signs blinding you around every corner. It looks like, since the speech, the owner has teamed up with Whole Foods PDX to offer a consistent route around Portland–the partnership definitely makes the pricing more affordable for those who shop with My Street Grocery, and I especially loved the article I found on owner Amelia Pape in the Huffington Post.

This year’s Foodworx will have 24 speakers including Dick’s Kitchen owner Richard Satnik, Chef Gregory Gourdet of Departure, and Water Avenue’s Aaron Baker. A growing event, FoodWorx nearly doubled attendance between its first and second years, with 259 people attending in 2014. To keep up with demand and for the first time ever, this year’s FoodWorx will be streamed live around the world. Whole Foods Market is curating the Lunch Experience and food and drink tastings and demonstrations have also been expanded.

Tickets are now available for the Foodworx on Saturday, February 7th, 2015, running from 7:30am-6pm at the World Forestry Center.

I’m excited to attend this year–I’ve heard topics will include epigenetics and restoration agriculture.

Will you be at Foodworx this year?

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  • Reply Create/Enjoy January 30, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Ooh, love hearing your thoughts and recaps! I love Dick from Dick’s Kitchen and of course GG from Departure! They are both popular in the broader Paleo community as well as the Portland food community. Will have to check out the whole lineup!!
    Create/Enjoy recently posted…Reader question: Doing it allMy Profile

  • Reply Meredith {MarthaChartreuse} January 30, 2015 at 9:46 am

    It is always interesting to hear about the business behind the food. Also, what a fun space for this conference!
    Meredith {MarthaChartreuse} recently posted…As Seen On Instagram {Cinco}My Profile

  • Reply kelsey January 30, 2015 at 10:01 am

    my street grocery is often around my apartment. haven’t been but really appreciate the fresh option when i don’t live very close to a grocery store downtown!

  • Reply Pech January 30, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Foodworx is a great conference, I look forward to hearing what good information and advice they highlight this year from everyone who is attending – I am not but hope to live vicariously through Instagram and Twitter…

  • Reply Bea January 30, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Sounds like a great conference – and yes, I have been wondering what is going to happen with the food cart pods that have to give way to yet another condo development. Love the idea of the mobile grocery. I look forward to read more about this year’s convention
    Bea recently posted…#Dairyfree Chicken Burritos {#recipe}My Profile

  • Reply Marlynn @UrbanBlissLife January 30, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I can’t go but like Pech, I look forward to reading everyone’s recaps! It sounds like a very informative event!
    Marlynn @UrbanBlissLife recently posted…Grocery Outlet Gift Card Giveaway + Ceviche-Style Tequila ShrimpMy Profile

  • Reply Bill Volckening January 30, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Enjoy yourself!

  • Reply Monica Louie January 30, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Wow! Sounds like a great event!

  • Reply Tracy February 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Love the talk about restoring home-cooked meals in our culture once again. With lots of good fats is even better! 🙂 This sounds like a great event. I will look into it.
    Tracy recently posted…Winter Thyme Meatloaf (Gluten-Free)My Profile

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