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

Cooking up Success

Over the past 20 years, Cheng has quietly become one of the most prominent personalities in the Napa Valley, dovetailing business success with serious philanthropic contributions. Now, with the tasting room, the unassuming entrepreneur is stepping into the spotlight.

New Eats

Wine Country just keeps getting more delicious, with a flurry of fabulous new restaurants hitting the scene. Here are 10 treasures to explore, tempting you with inspirations from gourmet bacon consommé to the best ever-lovin’ ice cream to meet a spoon.

Hamm-Egan Wedding Celebration

Jamie Hamm and Kerry Egan tied the knot at an intimate ceremony for 28 guests at his family’s estate in Stag’s Leap.

The Queen of Cuisine

Caterer extraordinaire Elaine Bell celebrates 25 years of creating tasty delectables for clients

Staglin Music Festival

The Staglin family’s 20th annual Music Festival for Brain Health garnered nearly $3.5 million to benefit the International Mental Health Organization/One Mind Institute and the Tug McGraw Foundation.

Gucci Gala and Grand Prix

Gucci was the presenting sponsor of the Sonoma Horse Park Giant Steps Charity Classic Six Bar and Gala.

Passport to Dry Creek Valley

The Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley celebrated the 26th annual coming together of the region’s generations of farmers, vintners, and families.

Napa Valley Collects Opening

Three to Watch

Meet three re-careering vintners who are making wines you need to be drinking.

Vineyard to Vintner 2016

The Godfather of wine

While not the godfather of wine, per se, Hollywood entertainment mogul Francis Ford Coppola has worked diligently to further Wine Country’s global stardom. This year, Coppola celebrates 31 years in the wine industry—and a new winery in Sonoma

Handmade Jewelry in Wine Country

Take a piece of Wine Country home with these handcrafted beauties.