In this installment of “behind the scenes” at Portland Farmers Market, we’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our team, EverGreen Coordinator Ryan McLaughlin. Ryan is a recent transplant to Portland from North Carolina, bringing with him a commitment to environmental conservation, mad trash sorting skills, and an aversion to car ownership. When he is not at the PSU market wrangling refuse and entertaining our EverGreen volunteers, Ryan also works with the Oregon Microenterprise Institute, a statewide association of microenterprise development programs and their supporters. You may occasionally catch him whipping in and out of the Leftbank building on his bike, en route to one adventure or another. Here’s our 30 second glimpse into the head of a refuse loving, okra eating, self described data geek:
PFM: Why are you drawn to the wild world of trash?
Ryan: A combination of fascination with resource use and a childlike desire to be taboo. Trash is one of our ultimate societal outcasts, and we have designed waste systems to remove it from our sight and mind. So by dismissing the norm and embracing waste, I get to feel like a kid who’s doing something bad while having a blast.
PFM: What do you hope we accomplish with the EverGreen campaign?
Ryan: Ultimately, I hope that we will build a system that works year after year. Quantitatively, I would love to see us surpass our 50% diversion goal at PSU by an additional 25%, for a total of 75% diversion.
PFM: Aside from sorting refuse, what’s the best part about working for PFM and/or at the market each week?
Ryan: The atmosphere. I work for a non-profit in an office downtown during the week, so it is really fulfilling to work alongside thousands of excited people in the open air every Saturday.
PFM: What is your favorite season to eat and why?
Ryan: Oh man, that’s tough. Well, I love eating in winter when my body craves rich, nourishing foods. There is something deeply satisfying about eating delicious food when it’s freezing and wet outside. On the other side of that coin, who can complain about the late summer cornucopia? I love the range of colors and flavors that are available at the end of summer, and the transition into fall is an exciting time to cook because the spices I use start to change and suddenly I find myself buying butter again.
PFM: Anything else you’d like the Leftbank community to know about you?
Ryan: What is this, the Dating Game? I’m an Aries, enjoy moonlit walks and smooth jazz…No, seriously, I really want to raise ducks this year, and need to meet someone soon that I can talk to about that. Perhaps someone can connect me with a backyard duck farmer?
If you know that duck farmer, want to volunteer for the EverGreen campaign, or just want to say hi and welcome Ryan to the building, email [email protected] anytime.
See you at the market!