"I had found my mission: To use food as a way to bridge our differences and facilitate genuine human connection."
Living Light graduate, Tina Singleton, is a multi-talented woman. A fashion industry professional turned international development worker turned farmer, she lived and worked abroad for many years. For 6 years she lived in Afghanistan before returning to the states. She was accepted into the Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture program at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz and also received her training as a Gourmet Raw Food Chef and Culinary Instructor at Living Light Culinary Institute in 2015. "My time there (at Living Light) set me on my food journey that eventually wound around to Transformation Table," said Tina. Her personal experience of the unexpected bonds that are created through sharing a meal with someone very different from you was one of the inspirations for her creation.
When searching for a way to overcome the cultural differences that increasingly separate people of different ethnic, religious, life experiences and belief systems, Tina launched Transformation Table. This Charleston-based organization believes that inviting strangers to our tables allows us to see the humanity in each other, thereby fostering empathy and genuine connection.
As Transformation Table’s founder, a business for inclusivity through food, she’s bringing the city’s diverse neighbors together, one meal at a time. She believes "the intimate act of sharing a meal with someone ‘different’ can change your worldview by shaking up prejudices, preconceived ideas, and stereotypes." Under the auspices of Transformation Table, community members open their homes to 10 strangers, a chef prepares an international meal and the host creates a safe space for connection to develop among those around the dinner table.
Tina's vision is a testament to the beauty and vision so many of our graduates contribute to the world. Look for more stories like this from our graduates in the year ahead.