Farmers market patrons can feel good about supporting not only a local business, but a local economic development initiative by simply purchasing a lunch this summer. Beginning in May, Hacienda Community Development Corporation (CDC) will publicly launch the new Latino Food Vendor Incubator project, a social enterprise supporting micro-business development for low-income Latinos. Aspiring microentrepreneurs will gain practical experience and financial support through catering sales and at local farmers markets, while simultaneously receiving training in a classroom setting.
“My children inspire me to be successful despite a number of obstacles, so here I am fighting,” says Irma Orduña, a participant of the program. “My dream is to open my own restaurant called El Ranchito, and that seems within reach now.”
The Incubator project, popularly known as Micro Mercantes, has roots as an informal cooperative of Latino tamale vendors. However, a high demand for culturally specific training opportunities, as well as a large market for local food in Portland has led Hacienda CDC to restructure the program to serve more entrepreneurs. Participants will now follow a structured three-year curriculum and culminate in the soft-launch of their own business. This model opens the program up to a stream of participants instead of serving a static group.
The initial launch of the Latino Food Vendor Incubator project is supported by a three-year grant from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, with the vision of becoming a self-sustaining program by the conclusion of the grant. The first class includes four tamaleros, or tamale vendors, and one Colombian arepa vendor. Beginning Saturday, May 5, Inocencia and her brother José will serve tamales from a recipe out of Puebla. Find them in Hollywood Farmers Market (4420 Northeast Hancock Street, Portland, OR 97213). Beginning Sunday, May 6, Fernando and his wife Elizabeth will work the King Farmers Market (4815 Northeast 7th Ave) dishing out savory Colombian arepas. Beginning Saturday, June 2, find Paula at the St. Johns Farmers Market (N Lombard & N Philadelphia) serving a variety of tamales oaxaqueñas. Beginning Sunday, June 3, Graciela and her daughter-in-law Maria will be at the Montavilla Farmers Market (7600 Block SE Stark St.) serving another version of tamales from Puebla. Beginning Tuesday, June 5, find Irma and her daughter Lupe at the Oregon Health & Science University Farmers Market (700 SW Campus Dr) serving tamales. Do not miss her famous tomatillo salsa, another recipe from Puebla, Mexico.
Hacienda CDC develops affordable housing and builds thriving communities in support of working Latino families and others in Oregon by promoting healthy living and economic advancement. For more information, visit www.haciendacdc.org