Outdoor maven: Food and farming leader launches camper van rental business

How Deborah Kane, a pioneer in Oregon’s sustainable food scene, left a high-profile public policy role for a career in the sharing economy.

By Kim Moore, reprinted from Oregon Business Magazine

It is a chilly November afternoon in Portland, but I am feeling cozy sitting inside Deborah Kane’s European-style camper van. Small and compact, her 2002 Eurovan makes incredible use of space, with a sleeping area for four, a tiny kitchenette and pull-out table for dining.

Photo credit: Shawn Linehan

Photo credit: Shawn Linehan

Immediately I want to own one. But as Kane points out, VW camper vans can cost in the region of $20,000-$40,000. Why not rent one from her new Airbnb-style camper van rental business GoCamp? Owners rent out their camper vans on her site for a fee; customers get the camper van camping experience without having to own one.

It is a novel way of capitalizing on the sharing economy, which allows anyone with a bit of tech-savviness and ambition to become an entrepreneur these days. For Kane, her new venture couldn’t be more of a contrast to her previous 20-year career in the food and agricultural sectors.

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Photo credit: Shawn Linehan

Photo credit: Shawn Linehan