The Longest Table
For the past two years, beginning in 2018, the Longest Table has welcomed local Grand Forks, North Dakota residents to sit down for a free meal in a welcoming environment with people they may not have known, to foster stronger connections, exchange stories, discuss community challenges and spur civic innovation.
Through conversations with strangers around the table, attendees are encouraged to listen attentively, share openly, consider thoughtfully and dream big. Besides these facilitated discussions by over 100 table captains, guests complete an interactive survey during the course of the hour-long event. The survey is used as a flexible tool to draw attention to pertinent community issues and opportunities, gathering information and perceptions from nearly a thousand everyday citizens, eager to connect across one very long table.
To spur action following the event, the Longest Table partnered with the City of Grand Forks, inviting residents to apply for seed funding to get ideas off the table and into the community. To date, 19 projects have been funded, activating everyday citizens with the tools necessary to make their community the home they always dreamed of. Although challenges abound when it comes to an event of this magnitude, the Longest Table has been successful in its specific goals:
1) Engage underrepresented populations – specifically high school and college students, young professionals, and immigrants – in important civic conversations.
2) Provide everyday citizens with tools to be active participants in creating the community in which they want to live, learn, work, and play.
3) Effectively gather and distribute data to inform, engage, and influence local, regional, and state decision-making.
Main Street Grand Forks: The Longest Table
Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region