Get to Know Emerald Mills

The Lempert Report
September 16, 2019

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a profile of Mills and shares her story about getting to know people through food.

She wants to know what makes you different and what you have in common. She believes there are other people out there looking to make those same connections. 

That’s why she created Diverse Dining, monthly community-based dinners.

For the monthly meals, she works with local businesses, and she comes up with a theme for each dinner; for example, vulnerability, getting out of your comfort zone and common misconceptions.The per-person cost ranges from $35 to $50.  

The whole purpose of Diverse Dining is to create a safe space for people and create relationships.

It is scientific, the paper’s interview goes on to say, that when people’s basic needs are met, they are more open to receive information. If you’re hangry, nothing can get through — period. The other reason we use food: to expect people who are adults to build relationships with people they have never been around is a huge undertaking. Most people (already) go out to dinner at least once a month.

She always start our dinner with ground rules. There are rules about giving people a certain amount of grace. If they came to this dinner, she says, they are at least trying. 

She says that “I almost was going to make my tagline “diverse is not color.” Diverse dining does not just mean color. If I had to define diverse, it is any word, action, thought, anything that is not your experience”.  

Perhaps a diverse idea for grocerants?