via Perennial Plate Facebook
We all come together at the table. Families far and wide, whether built from generations in the same town or generations scattered around the world, all have something that ties us: family dinner. I'm betting my German Opa wasn't the only grandfather to flick errant elbows on the table, and surely someone in every country around the world has laughed so hard at another family member, that some sort of beverage has been shot out of some kind of nose.
Daniel Klein, the local filmmaker whose website The Perennial Plate has earned national acclaim (including two James Beard Awards) for visual storytelling about our sustainable foodscape, has an idea that he needs help with.
While we all feel the political split in our society, those of us in food world are especially vexed by the negative characterization of immigrants, as they form a vital part of the American food system, from workers to growers to owners and beyond. Klein's idea is that he can fight grossly negative narratives with beautifully positive ones, which center around something we all need: food and family.
They've working on five short films that will each open a window into one family's meal. Grandparents, kids, parents cooking and eating together and sharing their life experiences from Sweden to Somalia, much like what you'll be doing this weekend, perhaps at the Easter table. Klein's goal is to "build connections and understanding, simply by sharing stories that show us how much we have in common and how little we have to fear from each other." He says "these will be positive stories centered around values that most Americans hold true: hard work, loyalty, family, and of course, good food."
But it's not just about preaching to the food choir, Klein is raising funds so that he can purchase Facebook advertising that will put these videos in front of people who might not otherwise see them. He believes that this form of targeted outreach has the real chance to open people's minds and show them something new to consider.
You can help by checking out his Kickstarter and helping fund his storytelling mission. There are not a lot of tchotchkes and swag on this one, because the true reward is impact, but there is one funding reward worth noting. A few of Klein's chef buddies have thrown their talents behind the cause for one smart $5,000 bidder. Steven Brown of St. Gen/Tilia, Jorge Guzman of Surly, Jamie Malone + Erik Anderson of the soon-to-be relaunched Grand Cafe, and celebrated wine pro (and turtleneck man) Bill Summerville, will cook a private multi-course dinner for 6 people either in your home or a downtown loft (if you don't want to clean). That will be a night for the ages, I promise you that. In fact, I will personally donate a fine bottle of Japanese whisky from my stash to the dinner, just to put that night over the edge.
But you only have 14 days to make this magical storytelling happen! They've reached over half of their $50,000 goal, but now need to close the deal in two weeks. If you've grown weary of just being frustrated by news stories and are tired of sharing articles into your own like-minded feed, here's your chance to speak into the microphone. Throw in a little, or throw in a lot and score that dinner, just do something. #AmplifyTheLight