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Dinner at 'The Longest Table' Helps Tallahassee Break Down Barriers

The Knight Cities Challenge-winning project invited 400 strangers from across the city to dine together around a two-block-long table.
"The Longest Table" spans two blocks in downtown Tallahassee.
"The Longest Table" spans two blocks in downtown Tallahassee.City of Tallahassee

A lot can be discussed over sweet tea and Southern barbecue, especially among more than 400 strangers gathered around a 350-foot-long table in Tallahassee, Florida. Diners poured in from all parts of town; some were new residents, while others were longtime Floridians. Some cared deeply about immigration while others wanted to talk about protecting the environment.

It’s all part of a new project called The Longest Table, which just won a $57,250 grant from the Knight Cities Challenge. Organized by the office of Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Leon County government, and a handful of community organizations, the project aims to use the dinner table as a medium for generating meaningful conversation among people of diverse ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds.