Portland’s spike in vegan culture

By: Nicole Turnbull Oct 9,2019

For years, Portland has been recognized for its trends and most hipster values. This attracts many newcomers looking to be included and increasing population immensely.

Portland, Oregon has been a safe haven for many vegans to relish in their culture. The best food joints and grocery stores can be found all over the Portland metro area. In 2019 Portland was ranked No.1 for the most vegetarian and vegan friendly city, according to wallethub.com.

A local to Portland, Cheyenne Rose, said her adventure to Portland started in Arizona when she heard about how inclusive Portland was for diverse communities and veganism. “I always wanted to move to Portland due to the city’s love for the Earth and art. I wanted to feel like I belonged somewhere. So, when I turned 18, I packed my bags and made the best decision of my life,” Cheyenne reminisced on her venture to Portland. The percentage of veganism has grown 500% in the past three years, spreading the message all over the country about Portland’s reputation. The city includes numerous restaurants and grocery stores that include but are not exclusive to the vegan or vegetarian diet. One popular grocery store in Portland, Food Fight! Grocery has been, around since 2003 and is one of the first primarily vegan, grocery store.

Veganism consists of eating primarily fruits, vegetables and grains, while removing all animal products from the diet. There are different reasons that one may decide to choose the vegan diet, the most popular reasons include dietary restrictions, morals against animal abuse, and the environmental benefits. Research from the University of Oxford has found that cutting meat and dairy products from a person’s diet can potentially reduce their carbon footprint up to 73%. Oregon may potentially be the second U.S. state that will mandate carbon emissions across every sector. These emissions would decline 50% by 2050. Oregon in general is a very economic-friendly state. With the help of vegan and environmental activists House Bills for reducing emissions may be more prominent in the coming years. Those who are environmentally conscious include vegans but do not exclude others and make up a large percent of those activists in Portland fighting for a better future. Though the diet is not for everyone, those who do find interest in veganism may be persuaded by their desire to make a difference in the world.

 Portland is inclusive to many smaller communities and the city is recognized for accepting new and diverse trends that flood the city. There are many events that Portland locals host to bring the community together such as the weekly Portland night market, various concerts, and everything local that is home grown. “I’m grateful to live so close to Portland considering the abundance of resources that they have regarding the vegan community with food options, groups to connect with, and local events,” Sheri Davis, a Vancouver, Washington resident said.

Famous chef John Gorham recently labeled vegan restaurant Farm Spirit as one of the places in Portland worthy of a Michelin Star. Chef Aaron Adams, owner of Farm Spirit, limits each meal to 14 guests to provide an “intimate dinner party experience.” Intimate dinner party experiences are common in providing one of the best dining experiences. Vegans are no longer forced to eat at home with having such a restrictive diet, they are able to eat out at various locations on every block of downtown Portland. There are various different clubs that members of the vegan culture may partake in bringing those with similar values closer together. They can be found on an app called Meetup, under the category “Vegan groups in Portland.” Some groups are titled, Westside Vegans, Vegans for Liberty, All Things Vegan Portland Meetup, and have nearly 2,500 members.

Portland members of veganism will continue to grow, and beliefs will continue to spread across the city. More people are learning about the benefits and effects of veganism. When veganism is encouraged, awareness of environmental benefits spread, even if the diet is not appealing to everyone.  As Portland continues to grow in population, those with a desire to find commonplace, will settle in Portland and endure the commodities that Portland has to offer.