There's no question that Portland is a serious food town, and many adventurous and cutting-edge techniques and dishes originate from our region - in fact, three restaurants listed The Daily Mail's recently released 101 Best Restaurants in America for 2014 just happened to be from Portland.
That's part of why it's easy to forget that not everyone in our great city knows what a rutabaga is, how to prepare an artichoke, or the correct pronunciation of geoduck. And while we're also a city of culinary generosity - many successful local establishments like Salt & Straw work with and donate to the Oregon Food Bank, while Bamboo Sushi practices sustainable menu creation and contribute to the preservation of marine environments, etc - there is still much room for providing education and opportunity to those who don't have easy access.
One of Urban Nest's favorite local charities is The Portland Kitchen, and they provide free, comprehensive culinary after-school and summer programming to Portland high school kids ages 14-18. These classes empower urban youth, giving them confidence, job skills, and healthy, educated eating habits as they venture out into the world. While classes are currently filled until further notice, there are still many ways in which to contribute - including attendance at one of their charity Dinner & Foodie events, donating knives and gently used kitchen equipment, or even just spreading the word so that our kids can continue to learn and develop necessary life skills.