Everyday, Burners Without Borders transforms communities through innovative disaster relief programs and community initiatives that make a lasting impact. 



The Feast: En La Frontera (US/MX Border)

Location: - Map It STATUS: Active

High-level Concept:

The Border Feast is an international celebration of culture and food inspired by Burning Man. It’s a bi-national event  where people of all ages and an array of nationalities will gather for a shared meal on both sides of the Mexican – US border.
The Border Feast will spark dialogue: harmonious, somber, and cacophonous, reflecting time and place.  This event series fosters dialogue locally and nationally about a world without hunger, and what it means to build community in a place that’s about separation. Within sight and sound of one another, cooks in California and Baja will simultaneously prepare and serve dishes for hundreds of friends and strangers, to share a variety of flavours, with dignity. The meal will showcase terroir-driven ingredients blending traditional recipes with modern inspiration. Musical performance and art will showcase local talent.
The Border Feast is apolitical, non-denominational, and does not condone any forms of provocation — this is a celebration of community and culture, with a focus on feeding one another with dignity.  Our vision is being received with enthusiasm on each side of the border amongst the public, community organizations, and officials.
We are finalizing research on the most viable locations along the border in Tijuana, with a focus on International Friendship Park by the Imperial Beach area of San Diego County, California, simultaneously in the Playas de Tijuana in Baja California, Mexico.

Want to help? Click here to submit your volunteer interest. 
Interested in taking on a larger volunteer role? We are filling one more core team member position. Click here for the job description.

Photos by Ernesto Borges.  (Click for more photos)

Who’s behind this?
The Feast was conceptualized as a playa project by Chef Jesse Bloom (Sacred Kitchen) for Black Rock City 2019.  He collaborated with members of Burners Without Borders, Ideate, Heart Tribe, Abraxsus and many others to create a dinner for 1,000 on the Thursday night of the Burning Man event.  Its was a great success and now the team wants to bring it out into the world.

Where are we right now?
We are currently assessing the feasibility of the projects ability to be a success.  We are writing, dreaming, fundraising, and connecting with groups on both sides of the border.  Do you have any suggestions of whom to connect with or people we should partner with?  Want to get involved?  Send us an email:  bwb@burningman.org

So tell me more:
The goal of the Feast is to increase solidarity, understanding, resilience, & mutual respect between people living in this fraught border zone, during this heavily politicized time. To share a meal over a border is unconventional in that it highlights what physically separates us, but by sharing a meal & music across that border, we are focusing on connecting on a basic human level, & creatively demonstrating our shared values. The point of the event is not to make a judgment call on the border itself, but rather have it be a character in the story, begging participants & observers to ask:  What does it mean for neighboring communities, divided by a border, to share in the universal languages of food & celebration?

This Feast is meant to shine a light on the false narratives & dichotomies that pervade conversations around immigration. Social scientists have demonstrated that it is easy to stereotype, fear, & hate constructed groupings of people, but those same misconceptions are correctable when people are able to connect as individuals. The existing system looks at Central American immigrants as an invasive mass, while US citizens are treated as a homogenous & nativist population. Breaking down those constructs subverts a system that keeps people with common values & goals from achieving their aims.

Our event invites people of all backgrounds: local residents, refugees, immigrants, border agents, & artists to sit together to share an experience. The Feast itself does not bring a preconceived notion of what the communities will produce, but rather provides a venue for communities to strengthen & grow their networks. The intent is to engage with local community organizers, helping amplify their work. The Feast brings together diverse people, whose voices are not heard, & perhaps do not fit into the political narrative, to connect & understand how they are each impacted by their own lived experiences. The goal is to create bridges over the border to see where interests align, where there are shared goals, & to create the opportunity for communities to uplift together.

Some of our core operating principles include:
Radical Inclusion- All are welcome at our table.
Community Centered + Led Action – Working ‘with’ not ‘for’ our community hosts
Distributed Economics-  Special attention is paid not to extract value from our partners and hosts, financial contributions are shared equally with local community organizations.
Leave no Trace- Using closed-loop waste management we model essential ecological practices in the current climate crises.

Phase One- San Diego BWB Community Activation, Site Identification
We build the relational & logistical foundation for our event with the support & involvement of the local community.  In January 2020, our team conducts a feasibility assessment to scout for the ideal location & enroll the local BWB community. Sharing ideas & dinners, while mapping out site logistics & critical stakeholders for the events success (burners, community organizer liaisons,  border officials & public & officials on both sides.) We will also get clear information on the permits & permissions we need to acquire to do the full project.

Phase Two- Community stakeholder Identification & collaboration
In March of 2020, we return to the Border to meet with community organizers & partners. We identify ideal organizations & share our idea–inviting them to co-create an event that addresses fundamental community challenges. We rely on partner organizations to help us mobilize the community to attend & participate. Together we identify local performers & activists for the event program.  In working together, we build a relational bridge of collaborative learning & direct action across the border.

Phase Three(ongoing)- Public Awareness, Fundraising, Continued Planning
As the event approaches, BWB & Border non-profit organizations mobilize crowd-funding & publicity efforts. Viral PR is our hope–creating national press & a groundswell of interest, donations, & contributions. Our long term intention is to create a Feast Toolkit–empowering others to harness our learnings to create similar spaces of impact & meaning for their communities.

Phase Four- Event Execution & Volunteers
Collaboration reaches its peak as our core team expands to become a large contingent of event volunteers. Their tasks include greeting, cooking, food service, coordinating transportation, hosting on-site, & strike. We anticipate upwards of 100 volunteers to produce the experience.
Additionally, the event experience incorporates the needs & desires of our local partners. Our discovery process with them yields specifics but for now we imagine local groups providing information for asylum seekers & resources for refugees.

Phase Five-Event follow up, Donor Thank you’s, Volunteer enrollment & survey
We build on our event to grow our community, improve the offering, & invite inspired humans to share the best of BM culture & resources with a hungry world.

The event producers will carefully document the successes & learnings. The goal is to prototype Feasts on this border, and then share the experience with other communities, thus building momentum for others to join in Feasts together around the world. Through various digital & traditional storytelling methods the producers hope to broadcast the experience and its outcomes to encourage iterations globally. The Feast is intended to be a repeatable event, one that easily adapts to different cultures. All people have traditions around sharing food, & the Feast will be a tool for community organizers globally to bring people together.

Join us in the journey.  Send an email to:  bwb@burningman.org

> How to create a Project.