When it comes to food and culture, people take things very seriously. Lately, several culinary controversies have been fueled by aspects of cultural appropriation. From Kylie Jenner cooking soul food for Tyga, to an Oregon-based burrito shop closing down after people accused the owners of stealing a tortilla recipe. Let’s not forget about the two bros who tried to add “bodegas” to our lives a few weeks ago.
Now, thanks to a racially tone-deaf and culturally insensitive Kickstarter campaign, Jenny Niezgoda, a wellness and travel blogger known as @TheBarefootBohemian on Instagram, has canceled funding for her project less than three days after the initial launch.
Shortly after the project launched, the video became a focal point of ridicule on Facebook, gaining unwanted attention for passively promoting gentrification, while “whitesplaining” the concept of a “Mexican Fruiteria.” The video was removed from the crowdfunding site within 48-hours.
However, FOODBEAST was able to find a downloadable link to the video that was still available on The Crowd Funding Center’s website.
“I always dreamed of opening my own cafe, to create something from the ground up – that I could truly call mine. And now, that will be a reality.” — Jenny Niezgoda, Kickstarter
La Gracia is slated to open in San Diego’s Barrio Logan, a region plagued by aging infrastructure and a large homeless population. However, Niezgoda claims it has become, “the most vibrant and up-and-coming neighborhood of San Diego.”
Niezgoda planned for La Gracia Fruteria t0 become a, “plant-based cafe that nourishes community, conversation, respect, positive thinking and togetherness,” according to the Kickstarter campaign page.
As innocently as Niezgoda tried to present her concept, the project remained largely ignorant of the fact that this could be accomplished anywhere in America — without the misappropriation of Mexican culture.