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Eva Schweber 16 January 2008

Eva Schweber

Cat herder, baker, recipe whisperer and dairy goat herder (retired)

My heart is community building and I am passionate about the critical importance of civic engagement. I co-chair CNRG, a nonprofit resource network for engaging people in the nonprofit community. CNRG connects people, communities and organizations, and helps individuals gain skills to act as agents of change in collaboration with others. I serve as a commissioner for Oregon Volunteers, the Oregon Commission for Voluntary Action and Service. I also serve on the City Club of Portland’s Advocacy and Awareness Board. In my spare time, I run CubeSpace, a workspace community and provide analytical and facilitation support to nonprofits and the public sector through my consulting business, Forethought.

One of the things I love most about the open source tech community is how it intersects and flows seamlessly through all of the other work that I do.

I think the collaborative nature of open source development is a natural outgrowth of grassroots efforts for social change where shared goals take precedence over individual desires and egos.

I also am a former dairy farmer and have a (sadly) expired pasteurizer’s license.  

What are you up to?

Well, with my copious spare time I love to experiment with food.  I have been “working” on a cookbook for several years now, and it has evolved from a cookbook for people with food allergies to more of a guidebook on how to move from following recipes to the letter to being able to improvise and creative recipes (particularly baked goods) based on what is seasonally and locally available (as well as what happens to be in your pantry at any given moment).

What this means in practice is that I (somewhat obsessively) read books on the science and chemistry of food, as well as cookbooks and food memoirs and create and adapt recipes whenever I get the time.

What are you into?

I don’t think I can answer this question very well because my interests are so wide ranging. I will use the last three and current two books I am reading to illustrate my point:

This weekend I read and finished the following books: A Second Opinion: Rescuing America’s Health Care by Dr. Arnold Relman, How to Dunk a Doughnut: The Science of Everyday Life by Len Fisher and America Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic by Joseph J. Ellis. Yesterday I finished How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman and now I am working on Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager’s Guide by Craig Larman and The Year of the Goat: 40,000 Miles and the Quest for the Perfect Cheese by Margaret Hathaway. So as you can see, my interests are wide ranging.

I also play african marimba with a (non-performing) group call Muvhuro (which means “Monday” in Shona, the primary language of Zimbabwe, which is where most of the music we play originates).

What do you like most about Portland?

Oh, where do I start?  I love the community feel, the fun differences between neighborhoods, the number of unique main streets scattered around town, the phenomenal food, the beer, the coffee, the tea, the beer (bears repeating), the commitment to sustainability, the bike culture, the contact high when the first sunny days appear in the early spring, the greenspaces, the people, the casual attitudes, the passion, the creativity.

Why did you give up the cushy flexibility of freelancing to start a business where you are tied to a single location 75 hours a week?

No clue.

If you could change one thing about Portland, what would that be?

I wish housing was still affordable.  When I first finished graduate school in 1997, I was able to buy my first house in inner SE Portland on my own while working for the City.  I have friends who are earning what I used to make at that time (adjusted for inflation) and can only afford to buy a house way out in the boonies and so are stuck renting.


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