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The Community of a Plate project seeks to illuminate how local food and local eating can forge connections between individuals and build community. Over the course of the next few months, four interns will be spending time in communities all over Minnesota, visiting farms, cafes, restaurants, coops, and individuals to learn about the social, environmental, and economic bonds created by local eating. We will be documenting a plate of food by tracing its origins from the farm to the table, meeting the people involved in producing the food along the way. In this project, we want to tell the story of the names and faces that create this community of a plate, and inspire others to build and strengthen their own local food communities.

Interested in becoming a Community of a Plate?

Our plan is to send interns out in groups of at least two (and up to four), depending on their schedules and your ability to host more than two.

We expect interns to be in each community two to three days. They will need sleeping accommodations during that time. This could be a hotel, B&B, room in someone’s house, or, they are even willing to camp. Ideally, you could provide them a meal or two each day, but that isn’t mandatory.

As the host, you will also work with the intern to identify a “plate” of food (or a meal whether it’s a school lunch, cookout, etc.) to showcase.  The idea here is to identify and then trace the elements of that menu back into the community to the farmers and foodmakers that make them.  (We’re guessing that most of you already have ideas about this, but if not, we can help with this too.) We want to get a real diversity of stories and will be sharing them through the traveling exhibit, online, on the Local Food Hero radio show, and through a variety of media sources. (We’ve even been tossing the idea around of trying to do a calendar that would showcase the stories.)

We also would like hosts to help identify a venue for displaying the exhibit.  This could be at a local fair or festival, it could be at a public place such as a library, art gallery or coffee house. The ideal situation would be to have it someplace where you/we could also host a dialogue/discussion around the exhibit.  (Also, if you just want to host the exhibit, and not the interns, we can work with you on that.)  We’re anticipating the initial exhibit will be ready by the end of July. The exhibit will grow over the summer as we add new “plates.”  We’ll be scheduling the exhibit throughout late summer, fall — and likely into 2010.

A final note, cost. There isn’t any to you. Having said that, we’re open to raising additional funds for this project so we can go to more communities and cover travel costs – so if you have a local group or funding source that might support this exhibit in your community, let us know. You can approach them, we can approach them, or we can do it together.

If you’re interested, contact Jan Joannides by phone or email, or if you’re just ready to have me assign you your interns!

Community of a Plate Contact Information

Jan Joannides
Executive Director
2637 27th Avenue S. Suite 225B
Minneapolis, MN 55406


Meredith Hart

Megan Hines

Emily Larson

Sarah Milnar


One response

8 07 2009
John Anderes

We are a farmers market in Red Wing, MN. Are membership consists of both vendors and friends of the market of which friends comprise a higher share. We are having our annual Farmers Feast on 11th of September which will be held at one our our vendors farms. We expect about 100 vendors and friends of the market and the host chef is Lucia Watson of Lucia’s in Mpls. She has been a James Beard nominee and we expect a spectacular evening and meal. All of the food will be supplied by the local vendors.

Please let me know if this is something of interest to your group.



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