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Enjoy dessert first with Chinook Book’s sweet offerings

Enjoy dessert first with Chinook Book’s sweet offerings

By Carrie Treadwell from Resourceful PDX partner, Chinook Book

The 17th annual edition of Chinook Book highlights local, sustainable businesses with a belief that they can give back and also thrive in the community. This includes new options in food-focused Portland!

The website has a new feature that shows all of the community coupons. You can see the 112 merchants and 126 coupons under Dining. This feature includes many standard Portland spots for eating local, plus some new dessert options like:

  • Wiz Bang Bar
  • Lovejoy Bakers
  • Dairy Hill Ice Cream
  • Maple Parlor

The Chinook Book team spends time thinking about businesses and their industries and the approach and criteria with which they appear in the book.

The print edition includes information and resources on how to connect with local food and Portland’s many farmer’s markets, as well as the plethora of local businesses that are in line with resourceful living. The app continues to improve to offer even more personalized navigation and provides savings at your fingertips.

Resourceful PDX shares community resources with the newly updated map (page 14 in the print edition). There are many places to go for used art supplies, building materials and clothing. Look for coupons and tips for bike shops, consignment and thrift stores, hardware stores, and even car sharing opportunities.

Find savings by using both the print book and mobile app, available at local retailers and through school and nonprofit fundraisers.

Grab a friend and take advantage of a two-for-one dessert special!


St Johns Food Share offers more options for residents

St Johns Food Share offers more options for residents

By Alicia Polacok from Resourceful PDX partner, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Founded in 1988, St Johns Food Share is a member-owned, volunteer-powered food sharing community. Formerly known as Golden Harvesters, St Johns Food Share has a mission to empower Portland residents by providing food options, preserving dignity and promoting self-sufficiency. Each year, the food share distributes over 300,000 pounds of food to local families.

New name draws new members

When Golden Harvesters became St Johns Food Share, the name change and rebranding prompted a big increase in members – they more than doubled membership just through word of mouth!

Members are volunteers

Food Share membership is open to all residents. In exchange for a minimum of eight donated volunteer hours and $30 monthly dues per household, you can shop twice a week in the store at no additional charge. The monthly fee helps pay for the store space, electricity and utilities.

Volunteers are crucial to the operation of the Food Share. It was a volunteer who brought the organization into the 21st century too – with software and computerization that hadn’t existed before. Paying membership fees are coming online soon too.

Lynda, a St Johns Food Share member and volunteer, shows off available options at the store. 

One new member, Lynda, drives from St Helens to visit the store and volunteer on Fridays as a store lead. This volunteer position includes making displays look organized, greeting and assisting first-time shoppers with using the computer and weighing items for check-out.

“Having this option really makes a difference,” said Lynda. She explained that the Food Share “offers a way to stretch my monthly money because social security only goes so far.” She can keep her kitchen stocked with a variety of items – fresh produce, dairy products, protein and staples – while keeping good food out of the waste stream.

Food is donated

You’ll find a well-stocked store offering a variety of foods donated from partner agencies. These include Pacific Coast Fruit, St Johns Community Garden, Fred Meyer, New Seasons, Grocery Outlet and more. St Johns Food Share also works with social service agencies to pass along viable food through their food banks. Some of these programs include Grace Christian Fellowship, Hereford House and Linnton Community Center in North and Northwest Portland.

One Food Share volunteer, Judie, said the organization also works with various farmers who take back the food that isn’t viable for human consumption and use the food scraps to make compost or as pig feed.

Learn more

Curious about Food Share? If you aren’t sure you want to be a member, you can shop free the first time. Or you can sign up as member right away.

St Johns Food Share is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Find St Johns Food Share under Donation Center on the Resourceful PDX map.

Resourceful PDX discovered this “new” community resource when a resident used the Add to the Map button on the Resourceful PDX map. Let us know if you have a resource to add!

Get moving on the way to school

Get moving on the way to school

Options is the name of the game as you shift back into the school routine. How you get to and from school, after-school activities, sporting events, and play dates – all of these are times to consider alternatives and, as a bonus, offer ways to spend more time with family and friends.


Connect and collaborate with other parents on a carpool for the kids to reduce pollution and traffic congestion while saving time and money. Use this free online tool to find carpool companions. Or talk to friends and neighbors to share in the day-to-day schedule and make the most of your time.

Walk or bike

Promote exercise (and get some yourself) and quality time with your kids by walking or biking with your kids to school. Find maps to school, information and events through Safe Routes to School or sign up for their newsletter.

Bike shops all over Portland offer repair services and classes, and can help outfit you for the weather. Or come to a Repair Café to learn how to get minor things repaired for free.

In whatever ways your family chooses to get back to school, incorporating thoughtful actions that are good for you and the community help provide lasting effects as the seasons change and the new school year becomes routine again.

Visit our other recent posts to find more tips and ideas about kids in school.

Save money by packing waste-free lunches for school

Save money by packing waste-free lunches for school

It’s easy and fun to pack waste-free lunches with colorful reusable containers, utensils and cloth napkins!

Tips for waste-free lunches

1. Pack lunch in reusable containers or a lunch box. Wash and reuse containers for sandwiches and snacks. 

  • Many grocery stores offer food containers and lunch boxes – be sure to check that they are free of BPA, lead, PVC, phthalates, and vinyl. 
  • Lunch Sense and PlanetBox also offers safe, toxin-free products online. 
  • Reuseit lunch kits help with planning your kids’ lunches and offers alternatives to disposable items.
  • ReUsies Snack and Sandwich Bags has a coupon in the Chinook Book and offers an alternative to disposable bags.

2. Choose durable bottles for drinks.

  • Fill them with tap water, which is just as good as bottled water and at less than a penny per gallon, it's a great bargain.

3. Bring your own metal forks, spoons and cloth napkins.

Reuseit presents a number of tips and ideas about reusable items and waste-free lunch options in their video.

By planning ahead and creating weekly meal plans, you can reduce waste while shopping, too. Stock the fridge in one trip, and you’ll save time and resources too.

Check out other back to school resources in our previous kids in school posts.

Get extra credit with your school supplies

Get extra credit with your school supplies

Compiled by Eco-School Network Leaders at the Center for Earth Leadership

The time of year between July 4 and September 15 represents a season (other than summer!): Back-to-School. When retailers are emphasizing a shopping season, resourceful people take notice and consider their actions to avoid impulse purchases. 

On average, a family with school-aged kids will spend $673.57 for clothes, accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies. The National Retail Federation surveyed more than 6,800 consumers about their annual back-to-school plans, finding that families with children in grades K-12 are expected to spend 9.6 percent more this year than last year. (Source: Time)

The average spending per family in each category breaks down as follows:

  • Clothing: $235.39
  • Electronics: $204.06
  • Shoes: $126.35
  • School Supplies: $107.76

Here are some strategies to help you save money, buy less stuff and get the most from this back-to-school season.

Avoid using shopping lists unless supplied directly by the school

Online and store-supplied shopping lists are often written by the companies who manufacture school supplies. Obtain the school’s supply list to ensure you get what the teacher needs.

Set your school up with Schoolhouse Supplies

Schoolhouse Supplies is a local organization that collects corporate donated supplies, buys supplies in bulk and delivers the school supplies directly to the school. These supplies are less expensive because they are purchased or donated in large quantities. They save parents the hassle of running all over town in the family car to purchase supplies and ensure that the right supplies are bought for the class. Schoolhouse Supplies offers teachers low- or no-cost classroom supplies. Learn more at the how to donate page online.

Buy supplies after winter break

Instead of purchasing supplies at the beginning of the calendar year, work with your teacher and volunteer to purchase supplies after winter break. At some schools, the supplies often run out at mid-year. By replenishing just the most-used supplies, you’ll help ensure that those supplies that have run out will be replaced and the classroom won’t have excess supplies they don’t need.

Volunteer to conduct a supply audit for your students’ classroom

Auditing how many supplies are used versus what supplies are purchased is a valuable activity for teachers. Often, supply lists are generated at the beginning of a teacher’s career and as technology and teaching needs change, the supply doesn’t receive the fine tuning necessary to keep it relevant.

Create a Party Pack for your teacher

Most classrooms have several parties or celebrations annually, in addition to student birthday treats. Creating a Party Pack that contains durable items can significantly reduce the amount of garbage produced by classroom parties. While parties differ, the average event produces 30 gallons of garbage (per Portland Eco-School Network research). That fills approximately one large black garbage bag. 

Contact the Center for Earth Leadership for more information about the Eco-School Network. 

Find farm fresh food near you in Portland

Find farm fresh food near you in Portland

Eat well and support Portland’s local food economy at over 20 farmers markets and 50 CSA farms. Resourceful PDX partner Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) has two maps to connect you to local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen in Portland.

The farmers market map allows shoppers to find a market based on the neighborhood or the day they want to shop. Farmers markets don’t just offer fruits and vegetables either. Many also carry wine, cider, beer, honey, meat, fish, pasta, prepared foods and flowers.

Find a market near you, or on the day you want to shop

Find a market near you, or on the day you want to shop

Community benefits from farmers markets include:

  • Accessibility to fresh, local food
  • Direct farmer communication
  • A variety of vendors
  • Opportunities to connect with friends and neighbors
  • Community resources

You can discover the best of the region's bounty through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms. CSA farms sell shares, or memberships, to households who typically receive weekly boxes of seasonal vegetables delivered to their neighborhood. Many CSAs also provide a wide variety of additional foods, including fruit, eggs, dairy, fish, meat and poultry.

The CSA map includes farm information and locations of over 200 pick-up sites.

BPS has tracked the growth of CSA farms that deliver to Portland since 2008. Over the past eight seasons, farms have flourished from 19 to 50, shares have grown from 2,000 to 6,000, and sales have sprouted from $1.1 million to $2.6 million

Learn more about CSAs through the Portland Area CSA Coalition.

Sports fan or outdoorsy type still on your gift list?

Sports fan or outdoorsy type still on your gift list?

Matthew may live in Portland now, but he still shares an abiding love for the University of Florida Gators football team with his brothers who live in Florida. Instead of sending his brothers more Gators gear for their packed closets, Matthew gets them tickets to a game. While his brothers enjoy the game in person, Matthew feels more connected to his team and his brothers as they share photos and messages as he watches the game on TV from Portland.

Matthew shows off his team pride in Gators gear.

Matthew shows off his team pride in Gators gear.

Sports fan on your gift list?

Is there a Trail Blazers fan or a member of the Timbers Army on your gift list? Tickets to a game allow for gifts of experience for the sports fan on your list. Giving tickets to a Blazers or Winterhawks game can be fun for the whole family. Or plan ahead for a different seasonal sport, like the Timbers, Thorns or Hops, and gift a day at the field.

Game day party host on your list?

There are many ways to make game day parties more resourceful (and add more team spirit), including how you serve the food and drinks. Growlers, reusable glasses and dishware are all ways to show your team pride and be more sustainable and make great gifts for sports fans.

Outdoor enthusiast on your list?

Do you have a snowboarder or skier in the family? Or are you looking for something the family or group of friends can do together?

Portland has options for renting gear before you head to the mountains or trails. Next Adventure offers equipment rentals for skis, snowboards and snowshoes, as well as gently used outdoor gear at great prices. REI has rental options for Nordic skiing, mountaineering gear and snowshoes.

A gift of lift tickets or an annual Sno-Park Parking Permit makes it that much easier for snow fans to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Find discount season passes by checking out Mt. Hood Meadows Holiday Gift Guide and Timberline.

Find gift ideas for other hard-to-buy-for people in your life in our resourceful holiday series. #holiday

Give busy parents a “time out” this holiday season

Give busy parents a “time out” this holiday season

Annette’s choice to start new traditions is a win-win for her and her family and offers inspiring gift ideas for the parents or busy couples on your gift list.  

“Once my kids got married, I started giving them overnight stays at local Portland hotels as Christmas presents. I also give them a gift certificate for dinner at a local restaurant. They always look forward to seeing where they are going, and I feel good about supporting local businesses. It really isn’t any more expensive than buying a bunch of stuff, provides lasting memories for them, and is quick and easy for me to buy this way.”

When Annette’s daughter and son-in-law started a family of their own, free time became even more precious. To provide them with a break, Annette not only gives gift certificates to a hotel and restaurant, but tops off the special evening out by babysitting the two boys, ages 7 and 4, allowing quality time with her grand kids.

“My daughter is a stay-at-home mom, so these weekend getaways mean a lot to her. Her husband works long hours and travels frequently, so this down time is great for them, and for me because I get time with my grandsons. They look forward to time with their ‘Nana,’ which includes eating candy, beating me at video games and staying up past their bedtime.  It’s a win-win for everybody!”

Annette’s son and his wife are young, busy professionals. They have to pencil time into their calendars to spend time together, so they also benefit from this time away together. With the hotel gift idea, they can call and reserve whatever date they want that fits their busy schedule, for any occasion.

Offering any part of this getting-away experience could be a valuable gift to time-crunched family. Perhaps consider offering to babysit the kids while parents take themselves out for dinner, or buy movie tickets to kick off an evening out for friends.

Deals are available for local restaurants, hotels and businesses. Visit Travel Portland to gather some gift ideas, drop hints for your own local wish list, or find coupons for many local restaurants in Chinook Book.

Find gift ideas for other hard-to-buy-for people in your life in our resourceful holiday series. #holiday

Six tips to simplify your holiday season

Six tips to simplify your holiday season

Casey Hazlett of Sustainably Organized shares six tips for simplifying the holiday season ahead.

Most of us want the holidays to be about spending more time with friends and family, and not about spending more time shopping at the mall or online. Start the holiday season by reflecting on what you want more of, and plan your time around those goals or values, to have a calmer and more joyful season. 

1. Start with your values

Write down a few words or draw a picture that represents your values (especially what you value during the holidays). Consider involving others in the family to help. Some of my values include having relaxed time with family and keeping long-standing family traditions going (like going to cut down a tree).

Simplify the Holidays, a program of The Center for a New American Dream, includes a calendar to help focus on what matters most during this time of year. You get six weeks of daily inspirations and practical tips for simplifying your holiday season. They also offer a booklet, coupon ideas and other resources to connect more with each other. Need more inspiration? Watch their video!

2. Make your to-do lists

Make a list of all the events or projects you want – or feel you need – to do this holiday season. Consider making separate lists for each holiday. Don’t forget to include what you’ll need to do for preparation, during the actual project or event and clean-up.

For example, the activity “Christmas Dinner” may include sending out invitations, choosing recipes, buying food, preparing food, decorating, cleaning up and putting away dishes and decorations.

3. Revisit your values

After you have your list of activities, revisit your key values to make sure your activities align with them. Consider filtering out activities that don’t match up with your key values, or adding activities focused on downtime, relaxation and fun.

4. Assign your time

Once you have your activity list, assign the amount of time you think each activity will consume. Be realistic when assigning time to each activity and add some extra time. If you’re not sure, give it your best guess – it doesn’t have to be perfect. The important part is realizing that everything takes time to complete.

5. Create your calendar and revisit it regularly

Schedule your list of activities on your calendar. Scheduling your activities ensures you are creating space to get them done. As we all know, things will change and you might need to add, remove or change activities. By allowing for some buffer, you’ll have space to be flexible as things change.

6. Delegate

Consider which activities you can delegate. Have a teenager in your life (son, daughter, niece, nephew or neighbor) who loves to wrap? Let him or her take on some of the present wrapping. It gives others a chance to contribute and feel involved with the festivities and play to their strengths. It also allows us to share some gratitude with those that make these holidays worth enjoying.

Find gift ideas for other hard-to-buy-for people in your life in our resourceful holiday series. #holiday

Four tips to save money and waste less food this holiday season

Four tips to save money and waste less food this holiday season

There are lots of ways to make the most of your holiday meal, especially here in plentiful Portland. Did you know many farmers markets reopen for Thanksgiving food shopping? And while we love food composting, we also offer some tips for reducing food waste before you feast.

1.      Plan your meals or special dishes

Be it a holiday gathering, potluck or special dinner, planning your meals or specific dishes ahead of time allows you to get what you need with less waste. Check online for menu planning help to decide how much food you’ll need based on the number of guests. If you’re hosting, serve food buffet style so people can choose the best portions for themselves.

2.      Buy local food

There are some farmers markets open year-round and even more open for Thanksgiving, so it’s a great time to get back out to the market. The farmers market map allows shoppers to find a market based on the neighborhood and the day they want to shop.

Choose from a wide variety of seasonal food that tastes fresh and looks beautiful on your plate, including apples, pears, cranberries, winter squash, hazelnuts, walnuts, chard, kale, leeks, beets and potatoes.

3.      Reduce wasted food

Along with buying seasonal foods, you also have a chance to reduce food waste and make the most of all the food you buy. Often it feels easier to compost your food scraps (which is great!), however, even better is using all the bits you can. The Washington Post recently highlighted a few surprising and delicious food parts you may not be taking advantage of when you cook, like beet greens, squash seeds and citrus rinds.

4.    Save waste at the table, too

There are many waste reduction ideas you can incorporate at the table and in the kitchen. By using durable plates, cloth napkins and serve-ware, you can add beauty to the table, save money over time and reuse these items year after year. Invite your guests to bring reusable Tupperware or casserole dishes so they can take home leftovers (or bring your own if you’re a guest so you get dibs on leftovers too!).

Resources, including mobile apps for meal planning and more, are available at Climate Action Now.