One of the great things about being part of the growing mobile food vendor community is meeting cool, smart and creative street food, food truck, and food cart advocates from all over the U.S. and world. On Saturday, September 14, 2013 visitors who work in the mobile food industry from all over North America will be in Portland for the first annual Roam Mobile Food Conference.
Food Carts Portland is extra excited to welcome representatives from the New York City Food Truck Association & the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association as well as other mobile food associations from around the nation to our fair “City of
Roses Food Carts”. These associations have emerged to become community leaders and world renowned experts in championing fair mobile vending laws, supporting small locally owned mobile food businesses, putting on community events, and bringing great street food to the people of NYC and the Los Angeles area. Both associations will be at Roam speaking on ways to better organize, advocate for, and support mobile food vendors. How cool is that?
Yes, we all know Portland has one of the best street food scenes in the U.S. But, NYC and Southern California are pioneers. After all, vendors serving Shawarma and Falafel sandwiches in NYC, as well as traditional Mexican Taco Trucks found roaming all over Southern California have been decades ahead of the gourmet trucks and carts in our current era. Yet, mobile vendors outside of Portland face sometimes insurmountable obstacles in unfair laws, excessive permitting fees, and other challenges. In New York City, some mobile vendors must pay upwards of $300,000 per year for even a simple hot dog stand!
These mobile vendor associations are a way to help give mobile food vendors, many of whom are just small, local businesses, and immigrants who are not fluent in English a way to be heard and not taken advantage of.
These associations also help their communities in other important ways. Take Hurricane Sandy that devastated parts of New York and New Jersey last year. The NYC Food Truck Association was able to quickly organize and deploy food trucks to hard hit areas, and served FREE, hot, safe, nutritious meals to emergency responders and residents alike when restaurants, grocery stores, and homes were without power and clean water. By partnering with larger businesses, local governments and non-profits, the NYC Food Truck Association was able to quickly raise money to provide all the food to communities in need for free.
We salute mobile food vending associations and their members for their ongoing work to promote and support street food in cities around the U.S. Come meet them at Roam on September 14th, and you bet we are ready, sporks in hand, to show them Portland’s intensely wonderful food carts. We’ve also told them, with over 600+ food carts and trucks in Portland, they had better come hungry and better wear elastic waist pants.