Tag Archives: organic

Neighborhood Notes: Saving seeds, selling e-books

Did you know you can hand-pollinate plants with a paintbrush? Did you know that you can read e-books and support a neighborhood book store at the same time? True facts! These are things I learned when writing two new pieces for NeighborhoodNotes.com, my favorite hyper-local news site.

As of this morning, you can read this piece about small, independent booksellers who are testing the waters as online merchants and e-booksellers. I had a great time getting to know the owners of Portland’s Broadway Books, St. Johns Booksellers and Microcosm Publishing while diving into the economic and even political issues that have arisen with changes in the publishing industry. My research for this piece harkened back to the Brave New World session on publishing that I attended last year at Wordstock. Honestly, I don’t think the option of indie book stores selling e-books came up at that panel less than a year ago, so I hope this is a sign of new positive options for the industry.

For all you gardeners and locavores, check out this piece on seed saving. I’ve always wondered why anyone would do such a thing when seed packets are so cheap at big-box stores, but it turns out that seed saving can contribute mightily to the biodiversity of a region, or even a neighborhood. And if you’re looking for new ways to dig in to gardening, this story includes advice and workshop dates from experts at Portland’s Independence Gardens, Handmade Gardens, Portland Nursery and Herb’n Wisdom.

Each of these pieces was featured on The Oregonian‘s website, thanks to Neighborhood Notes’ partnership with the Oregonian News Network. The ONN (not to be confused with the Onion News Network) is a hyper-local news stream from several Portland news outlets and blogs, and it’s a good model of the collaboration and web-based innovation that’s helping journalism move forward.


Going electronic with a student newspaper

Several weeks ago, the newspaper staff at my student teaching placement site learned that they would have no allotted budget for the coming school year. To save money and to propel their newspaper into a new era of publishing, our team got innovative and put the newspaper on Issuu.com. The results (as seen here) have been fantastic:

  • The publication has the look and feel of an e-magazine.
  • Our team saved money by printing only four pages (which were distributed throughout the school) and including teasers on those pages to lead readers to an additional six pages online. (I should note that this idea came from our student team, and was a key part of moving our team in this new direction.)
  • Within a couple of days, the online publication had about 200 views. There were about 400 views within a week, equivalent to a quarter of the student body.
  • The online publication is in color, allowing for more emphasis on photography and new options for our page designers.
  • The Issuu.com account that allowed us to do all this was free.
  • The viewer statistics we receive from Issuu.com will be used in advertising sales packets. And the opportunity to publish additional pages online means there will be more room for ads.
  • We are already planning online extra issues in between our major scheduled publications. This allows us to memorialize a student who recently passed away, to provide sports updates, and to be available for other breaking news reports.

We have our current issue up online, along with two archived issues in black and white. You can see them all right here. We plan to use Issuu.com at least for the rest of the school year, hopefully in conjunction with a news website that a student is developing.

I know this blog is getting a lot of traffic from readers who are interested in classroom publishing and student journalism. Are any of you using Issuu.com? Which online resources have helped you and your students save money or reach new audiences?

Neighborhood Notes: 12 new Portland spots to check out

If the last few months are any indication, Portland might be getting a brand-new bird-themed business every 30 days. Aviary opened last month, Little Bird (cousin of Le Pigeon) opened in December, and Branch and Birdie home decor opened in November. All that is great with me. But it proves that “Portlandia” is right about this city and our obsession with putting birds on things. And you know what? I really like bird graphics and I can’t get over it.

All birds aside, my friends at NeighborhoodNotes.com got word of 12 businesses opening in Portland in January. There are plentiful new dining options, including Guild Public House, Sizzle Pie, Girasole Pizza Co. and Panera Cares Community Cafe (a pay-what-you-want shop!). There are also new options for locally made vodka, custom guitars, bicycles and spa pampering.

Here’s a bit of the story…

Listen, Portland people. I don’t ever want to hear any of you complaining about not having anything to eat (accessibility issues aside, natch). Because this city cranks out piles of fanciful food options. Every. Single. Month. That is pretty remarkable. This month your new options include craft vodka, double-decker and vegan pizzas, locally-sourced menus, and, as always, meals and atmosphere with Euro-influence. Not to mention new options for bad-ass bicycles, guitars and spa treatments. Now go forth and live it up!

Click here to read the rest of the story!

Neighborhood Notes: 15 new ways to live it up in Portland

Interstate Lanes in North Portland (not new, but plenty of good fun)

“Despite a slow economy, holiday distractions and plain old cold, we got word of entrepreneurs opening 15 new Portland businesses in December. So if you’re looking for new ways to enrich la vida local in 2011, you now have the option to try the sister bistro of Le Pigeon, two expansive indoor play spaces, and a gardening shop that sells taxidermied animals in costume. (Watch for the general Francophile theme this month—it’s pretty lovely.) Here’s to our community’s small business owners and new things in the new year!”

Check out the list and the rest of the story at NeighborhoodNotes.com!

Neighborhood Notes: New reasons to love Portland

Forgive the attempt at gangster language, but Southeast Portland is blowin’ up, yo! That quadrant of our fair city is home to four of the 17 new businesses we got word of in the last month—with even more indie biz goodness in the works. It boasts a board game shop, a gallery and artists’ hub, and a drool-worthy Italian deli, while the rest of town now offers more art and craft fun, a donation-based yoga studio and a vintage store housed in a camper. Did I mention last month that I love living here? Because I love it even more now.

It’s that time again. Time to take stock of some Portland entrepreneurs who are striking out and hoping to make a living and make a contribution to this city. My new business piece was published by the good folks at NeighborhoodNotes.com today and you can read it right here. Oh yeah.

PS: This photo is from the interior of Beulahland on SE 28th around 1 a.m. after a good round of true Japanese-style karaoke at VoiceBox.

Portland’s artisan economy: Author Q&A with Heying

“We know, we know. Portlanders love bicycles and microbrews. Portlanders love all things artisan. Portland loves Portland, and the city is making a name for itself in the world.

But does that mean anything apart from providing unique options for an afternoon out?

It means plenty, according to Charles Heying, the author and editor of Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy. Heying is an associate professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University, and his book posits that Portlanders’ way of working and spending money is reflective of a larger economic trend—one that brings liberals and conservatives together in support of local, and often small, businesses in order to enhance their own quality of life. …”

This week NeighborhoodNotes.com published my interview with the above-mentioned author and editor Charles Heying, whose book I was connected to this summer through my work with the student staff of Ooligan Press at Portland State University.

The more I dig into this book and Heying’s research, the more I am fascinated by this approach to boosting the economy. Can we really pull everyone up by supporting the little guy and pursuing quality over quantity? We shall hope, and we shall see.

Here is a link to my interview, along with a couple of other recent stories mentioning Heying:

For Neighborhood Notes: Just opened in PDX

I’m taking on Neighborhood Notes’ new business column and I have to say, it is a lot of fun. It’s a place where I can put on my reporter hat, but wear a goofy T-shirt at the same time. It’s fairly amazing to see an entire list of all the new businesses setting up shop in this city (and I’m sure there are plenty we didn’t hear about). To give you an idea, the column includes:

  • A fusion restaurant newly staffed by drag queens
  • A burger shack where there’s bacon with nearly every menu item
  • Cartoons of a talking hamburger and a Bikeasaurus
  • A Bikeasaurus!
  • An indoor dog park (crazy, but apparently amazing)

If you’re looking for something new to do in Portland, or you want to count the puns I probably made throughout the epic piece, it’s all right here.

Now, for good measure, here’s a photo I got while I was pleasantly stuck on Portland’s Hawthorne Bridge for about 15 minutes the other day. I do my share of griping, but at sunset on a bridge, thinking of the Bikeasaurus and all his new friends, I love this city.