Women Changing the Food Game: Pineapple Collaborative

CEO's who are killing it!


Women Changing the Food Game:
Pineapple Collaborative

March 2020 marks the 30th year of National Women's Month. Though equality for women globally has a long way to go, it's evident that we're gaining momentum. Like most industries, Food Media has always been male dominated. From editors in chief, to celebrity chefs, to top writers and photographers. BUT, I'm flipping the script and facilitating change the best way I know how, by honoring all of the bad-ass women in our community! 

This month, I am interviewing an array of women in the food industry from writers and photographers to stylists -overall cool AF trailblazers. Each week we will feature a new creative and ask them about their work, how the industry has treated them (the good, the bad, the ugly) and hopefully this conversation will inspire and open the minds of all people in the industry and in our community. This week, it is my honor to share with you all, Ariel Pasternak and Atara Bernstein of Pineapple Collaborative, a company founded by women, empowering women. Pineapple hosts events creating a community of women sharing not just recipes or cookbooks, but individual styles, identities and cultures. Read through for my chat with the women behind Pineapple Collaborative.
--Sahara Bohoskey, Community Food Editor
Ok here are some ice breaker questions. Where you’re from, what you would call yourself (photographer, writer, stylist, artist, etc), how long you’ve been in the Food industry, top 3 foods/recipes you’re really into right now?!
Ariel: I grew up in Marin County, California and Washington, DC. I'm an entrepreneur and I’ve been in the food industry since 2013. The top 3 trends I’m really into right now: Going plastic free wherever possible (especially single-use plastic), supporting farmers using regenerative agricultural practices and caring about soil health, and drinking natural wine never gets old in my book.
Atara: I'm from Baltimore. I would call myself an artist, creative, leader, reader, food lover, nature enthusiast. I've been in the industry for 7 years (wow time flies!). Right now, I am very excited about natural wine, have been obsessively trying different recipes in the name of perfecting my olive oil cake, and I've been loving this book that Ariel got me on a recent trip to Santa Fe. It highlights Georgia O’Keefe’s recipes and how she expresses her food style.

Q: You two have created a safe and supportive place for women in the food world, your name Pineapple Collaborate is synonymous with that. What kind of feedback did you get when you created P.C. 5 years ago in 2015? Were you welcomed with open arms or was there friction? How is the culture now?

Ariel: I started Pineapple Collaborative back in 2015 in Washington, DC (I had recently moved from NYC to help open a vegetarian taco shop) as a way to bring together women in the food industry. It was a space to get to know each other, as well as discuss issues in the food world that interested us personally and professionally. Our first gathering was a potluck in my house and there was an overwhelming desire to continue hosting events and building community. So, from there we popped up all across town—from the local food banks, to women-owned restaurants and even at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Now, we host events in 4 cities, Los Angeles, San Francisco/Bay Area, New York City and Washington, DC. We get weekly emails from people all across the country asking for a Pineapple Collaborative outpost in their city—from Seattle to Chicago to Nashville. We launched our digital content as a way to connect with our community in cities where we don’t have any in-real-life events, and with our recent launch of products, we've been able to connect with our community in a much more intimate way given we’re in kitchens across America.

Pineapple Collaborative Olive Oil & Apple Cider Vinegar
Q: You recently released your own line of pantry staples made by women—The Olive Oil and The Apple Cider Vinegar. What are your aspirations/next steps for Pineapple Collaborative (if you can tell us!)? What are your hopes for P.C. 5 to 10 years from now?

Atara: Launching our products was a huge moment for our brand and was a true collaboration between our community, team and producers. We’re so proud of how it all came together. Looking forward, we’re on a mission to continue building the ultimate lifestyle brand for those who love food and to be the go-to source of inspiration for people to express their style, identity and values through food. We’ll continue to build our digital content, events, community and products going forward and can’t wait to share what’s next.

Q: I'm burying the lead here, but you both were featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2019. It’s such a great honor, and an exciting way to enter the new decade. Have you felt a shift since the recognition?

Ariel: Being a Forbes 30 Under 30 list maker was definitely impactful for our business. First and foremost, the recognition legitimized our business in the eyes of many different stakeholders. As we are two relatively young women who have bootstrapped a community-based business, our company can often be seen by some people as a “cute” side project or “fun” activity we’re doing, rather than a professional business that provides value to numerous stakeholders--from Fortune 500 companies we partner with, to local restaurateurs and changemakers we highlight in our content.

Samin Nosrat x Pineapple Collaborative event
Q: I love the #Shelfie campaign, how did that feature idea come about? I’m sure you have an abundance of choices so how do you choose who to feature?

Atara: We’ve always been very inspired by the Into the Gloss to Glossier journey and love the Top Shelfie series on Into the Gloss. When we looked at food media, we felt that something was missing in terms of coverage of real women’s kitchen routines. We believe that food is a form of expression more so than even our closets or beauty cabinets, yet there was no central place to get that content that we were looking for. We launched The Pantry to peek into the kitchens of women we admire and get an insider’s look into what they’re stocking. From there we were able to see where there was opportunity to innovate and create products that really had it all for us. Products made by women, connected to a sustainable agricultural supply chain that were delicious and beautiful, too. As far as who we choose to feature—we like to highlight women who inspire us not just in food, but across industries and disciplines. We’re featuring some musician’s pantries soon and we’re stoked to do so! We also collect nominations from our community as well. Some of our favorite features are Kia Damon’s Pantry, Nite Yun’s Pantry and Priya Krishna’s Pantry. 

Priya Krishna's Pantry 
Q: Pineapple is such an amazing platform for the advancement and support for women in the industry. How do you keep the balance of being feminist, but also being so inclusive for all?

Ariel/Atara: Our guiding philosophy at Pineapple Collaborative is called “pine for” (see our #pinefor hashtag on Instagram), which is the idea that supporting other women, women-owned businesses, women-made products and women-powered movements creates community. The topics featured in our content—from food justice to fat positivity to the representation of women of color in the food industry—inspire women to pine for each other. 

When it comes to our values, we hold the following question at the forefront of our work: “how do we channel women’s immense passion for food into accelerating food system change?”As such, the following guides our social & environmental mission:

We work toward a world where women realize their full potential as farmers, chefs, business owners, activists and more.

We work toward a food system that highlights women’s roles in it—wine made by women, produce grown by women, restaurants owned by women, businesses invested in by women. 

We work toward an economy that accounts for negative externalities—from labor to climate change to “food waste”.

We work toward a culture that honors native and indigenous food cultures, and acknowledges the injustices and impact of slavery and colonialism in our food traditions. 

We achieve this mission first and foremost by celebrating everyday the women who are already leading our food system. We track our progress by ensuring the digital content we produce represents diverse and inclusive viewpoints, and our panelists at events represent diverse and inclusive viewpoints. Our content spans important issues, such as cultural appropriation vs. appreciation, regenerative agriculture, queer representation, the immigrant experience, racism in food and wine, and so much more.

Big thanks to Pineapple Collaborative for sharing their story with us. Thank you to the creative and awe-inspiring women who sat down with me. Sharing our stories with each other help create a boarder perspective, helping to challenge the status quo, changing perspective of what women are able to accomplish and help open the minds of all people in the industry.

Don't let the month of March be the only time to hear women's stories! Talk to your mother, grandmother, reach out to the people admire! You will be surprised on how much the sense of community all human beings have, we are always open to help.

Check out Pineapple Collaborative's Website HERE