— Story —
Vanessa Driscoll Bialobreski
Operations and Bookkeeping
producING events, managING venues and providING catering while supporting local farmers, chefs, artisans and businesses.
In 2011 Vanessa Bialobreski, then Driscoll, approached City Roots at a farmers market and told Eric and Robbie McClam she wanted to do dinners on their farm. They thought she was nuts, but two months later they had a chef, bought tables and chairs and put on the first dinner with their fingers crossed. The dinner sold out and they added another one and then another... That was the beginning of a company that helped shape the Columbia food scene, brought together chefs and bridged farmer to chef gaps, all while educating the community over local food through unique events at City Roots Farm. At the same time they helped turn City Roots into a community hub for numerous events and festivals and become a successful organic urban farm thru agri-tourism revenue.
6 years later the company is run by Chef/Restauranteur Kristian Niemi and Event Producer and Managing Partner Vanessa Driscoll Bialobreski. It is a woman and Veteran owned business who are invested in making their community stronger. They have raised money for many non-profits in the area before starting their own non-profit, The Charitable Plate. The Charitable Plate helps support chefs, farmers, artisans and local businesses in the community get started or further their education thru scholarships.
The company now produces events all over town with the majority being at City Roots Farm. They also manage two venues, City Roots Farm and Hunter Gather Brewery at the Hanger in Rosewood. While running a full time catering company that organically came about from the events that are produced every month.
Both Kristian and Vanessa serve on various boards and lead initiatives that support local food and chefs. Kristian is one of the founders of Mardi Gras that started as barn raising and has raised money for our rivers, humane society and flood victims. He also serves as Columbia's representative for the Chef Collaborative, heads up the Veterans Coalition Dinner and is on the board of Slow Food Columbia. Vanessa serves on the board of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Slow Food Columbia and just recently accepted the Farm to Sea to Table and Journalism Les Dames D'Escoffier Legacy Award for 2017.