Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Barn by Barn

Eileen Chiarello launches crowdfunding company to support “good food” entrepreneurs.



Briana Marie Forge

Eileen Chiarello is no stranger to good food. She and her husband, celebrated chef Michael Chiarello, have been creating restaurants, wine brands, and television cooking shows together for more than a decade.

Now setting off on her own, Eileen Chiarello has launched Barnraiser, an Internet-based crowdfunding company that supports “good food” artisans, innovators, educators, and farmers. She is rallying the digital revolution to promote change in America’s factory-to-table food production system, an industry she says is broken.

“Barnraiser will include anyone who is moving the needle in the right direction,” says Chiarello, as she drives from the company’s Sausalito office to her home in St. Helena.

Modeled after the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Barnraiser employs timed fundraising periods and leverages social media to spur donations. In exchange, funders are offered incentives: feel-good company swag, gift certificates, or even invitations to special events. Barnraiser keeps 5 percent of all donations as well as an additional 4 percent for credit card charges.

The company’s website went live last spring. An aquaponic farmer, a beekeeper, an urban teacher, and a fermentation specialist seeking financial backing were some of the first people spotlighted. Barnraiser tells their stories using wistful photography and compelling language, creating romanticized images of life on the land, and softening any hint of a hard sell.

The name Barnraiser refers, of course, to the tradition in some farming communities of neighbors gathering to build barns for one another. Chiarello and her panel of advisors believe the same community effort is needed to support sustainable-foods entrepreneurs who compete with agri-business farmers, she says.

“Barnraiser is about changing our food system, and we’re going to do it barn by barn,” Chiarello says. barnraiser.us.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Napa Valley Film Festival 2017

Auction Napa Valley 2013

Petaluma Pleasures

When you think about culinary destinations in Sonoma County, Petaluma often plays second fiddle to Healdsburg and Sebastopol. Recently, however, Rivertown has developed a restaurant scene all its own. Here are three eateries to try on your next visit.

Live In The Vineyard

Big-name celebrities, including Adam Lambert and A Great Big World, performed at the 16th installment of Live In The Vineyard

Festival del Sole

The eighth annual performing arts festival brought more than 60 custom-curated programs and star-studded performances to the most remarkable settings in Napa Valley

Charlie Palmer in Napa, Finally

Charlie Palmer celebrates a long-awaited expansion into Napa Valley.

Flavor! Napa Valley 2013

New Eats

Wine country gets more delicious each day.

Festival Napa Valley 2016

Weill Hall Opening

Weill Hall, at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center, opened on September 29, 2012, with a performance by superstar pianist Lang Lang followed by fireworks and a black-tie gala dinner.

Signature Sonoma

Designer Ann Jones chose Sonoma as her home away from home a decade ago. What made the acclaimed designer embrace this quiet town? She shows us with a tour of her favorite spots.

The V Foundation Wine Celebration

At its annual fundraiser in Napa Valley, The V Foundation for Cancer Research raised $5.2 million for cancer research