Karen Leibowitz


Name: Karen Leibowitz
Object: Sourdough Bread
Changemaking at: The Perennial

Portrait by:  Brenton Gieser

Portrait by: Brenton Gieser

Audio Transcript: I really think about the origin of the word restaurant. It comes from the same root as restoration, and so I feel that restaurateurs are trying to restore the bodies and souls of people coming into the restaurant, but beyond that we’re also trying to restore the earth.

My name is Karen Leibowitz and I’m a co-founder of The Perennial, where I am also kind of the HR and Head Baker and PR and whatever else needs doing.

I brought some bread, from the Perennial. We make it with kernza, which is a grain that’s a perennial. Unlike wheat, which is an annual and gets tilled every year, kernza stays in the ground and keeps carbon in the ground. So that’s better in terms of climate change to draw down CO2 instead of releasing it into the air.

The interesting thing about kernza is it is drawing down CO2 and really grounding it, and I think it's also grounding me, kind of bringing me back down to earth. So I appreciate that.

What I have come to realize, over this last year is that if I don't get a chance to make the bread, then I miss it, and I really find it to be a kind of meditative practice. We spend so much time looking at screens or talking, or in some way engaging with people, it’s been really nice to have this kind of experience with the bread. It is alive, but there’s a quietness in working with the bread that I really find healing.