GO box

September 23, 2010

One thing about the food carts that sticks in the craw of environmentally minded Portlanders is the amount of waste they generate, particularly in the form of disposable to-go boxes. Laura Weiss is hoping to fix this problem with GO Box. This new business—in its pilot phase as of August 2010—offers downtown food carts a […]

Evolution of a pod

September 21, 2010

Pod development over time can be likened to any development scenario: a single cart begins the pod. Like banks and bookstores, the vendor picks a corner spot. As popularity picks up along the parking-lot frontage, more vendors situate themselves in the centers of the block. Others then colonize the spaces that remain between the corner […]

What’s a food cart pod?

September 16, 2010

Ordinary downtown surface parking lots were the birthplace of Portland’s impressive street food scene. Just like commuters with a monthly parking permit, food cart vendors rent parking spaces, usually around the perimeter of surface parking lots. Without any regulations forcing them to leave at the end of the day, the food carts maintain a more […]

What is a food cart?

September 14, 2010

Technically speaking, a food cart is simply a mobile unit out of which food is served to the public. In reality, however, there is a staggering variety of interpretations of this loose definition. While some of these carts are truly mobile, many of the trucks, trailers, and other vehicles sitting in surface parking lots throughout […]

Food Carts: A reflection of what Portland is all about

September 9, 2010

Artisanal, quirky, independent, and an exceptionally good value, the food carts are in many ways the perfect symbol of what Portland is all about. They bring the local community together with the lure of good food, and the pod system has enabled vendors to create a strong cooperative ethic among themselves. It’s fair to say […]

Critical Economic Role: A Labor Day Special Post

September 6, 2010

The critical economic niche that food carts provide is a theme that resounds around the world. In developing countries, street food plays a vital role for the entrepreneurs living on the margins. Irene Tinker, a former professor at Berkeley who has since moved to Portland, has written extensively on the subject.  One question Irene Tinker […]

Why Portland? Why now?

August 31, 2010

Portland has over 500 food carts, some clustered into “pods” in parking lots and others staking their solitary claim on the sidewalk. It may seem like a surprising trend to outsiders, but to those familiar with Portland, the preponderance of food carts makes a great deal of sense. Innovative local visionaries have long encouraged the […]

Have you heard our interview on

May 9, 2010

Listen to it here: We are working furiously to compile all of the stories we have received. Invite your friends to join the blog and enter to win a free copy of the book ($25 value). CALL TO FOOD CART OWNERS Haven’t submitted your story yet? There is still time. Send your food cart […]

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