Directed by Matthew Winthrop
Produced and Edited by New Sky Productions
More and more, individuals in Portland are looking to food carts as an inexpensive alternative to starting up a restaurant. Even with the lower start-up costs, however, food cart owners often need help getting the capital to start up. Mercy Corps Northwest is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs like these. We believe in supporting our local food industry, our local business owners, and in finding creative approaches to business and employment in a recession.
By Andy Parker
Crouched close to the loamy soil, the two women work as one, their ebony hair shining brilliantly in the midday sun as their four hands move seamlessly across the tidy garden plot rows.
Fifteen, 20, then 30 minutes whisk by and never once do they rise from their work, their motions as effortless as the flights of the half-dozen butterflies riding the warm afternoon breezes across the garden. The women are plucking the little leaves of the mustard plant, one at a time, leaf by leaf, then quickly tying them into small bundles and tossing them toward a plastic tub, their fingers back picking greens before the bundles come to rest.
It’s a mesmerizing, well-practiced rhythm, one of the few remaining signature patterns in lives torn apart by the politics and intolerance of their homeland — the mystical Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan where, since 1990, the Bhutanese majority has forced more than 100,000 citizens of Nepali descent into refugee camps in Nepal.
Last week we ran an advertisement in the June 17 Oregonian, highlighting our connection to our parent organization Mercy Corps and the work we do in Oregon with urban farms, small business development, and prisoner re-entry. The four-page spread was an inspiring collaboration between our staff at Mercy Corps Northwest and Mercy Corps, professional writers and photographers who volunteered to share their skills with us, students working with us in our office, and our clients.
If you didn’t catch that insert in the Oregonian, the full spread can be found on our website. In the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of those great stories here in this blog, starting with the front page story about a group of Bhutanese women working with our New American Agriculture Program.