For much of our region's history, the South has been understood as a land of Native American, West African, and Western European peoples. At this year's symposium, and at complementary events also focused on the Global South, we staged talks, dinners, and performances that complicated prevailing concepts.
We also helped a number of other like-minded foodways-focused organizations get started, including Sabores Sin Fronteras in Arizona and Foodways Texas, in, well, Texas.
Under the leadership of Sara Camp Arnold, a former Oxford American editor and now a University of North Carolina graduate student, Gravy is realizing its potential. This summer we published a special edition, focused on the Gulf oil spill.
We spent the first ten years of our history helping people understand that food culture is more than the sum of recipes compiled. Once we got that point across, we compiled our own cookbook, an initiative led by Sara Roahen.
Shopping Cart Success
No more processing of credit card charges by third-party firms. SFA now has a custom shopping cart application that runs all sorts of nifty reports. It also costs us far less per transaction.
Last year, we rolled out an Interactive Oral History Map, geared to help you plan trips by way of oral history subjects. This year, we've added a free iPhone application, developed by SFA member Jim Titley of Dallas. It's in beta now, awaiting a full rollout.
Podcasts and Augmented Reality
Okcracast is new. You've long been able to revisit SFA events by downloading talks from our iTunes store. This fall, we introduced Okracast, the SFA's complementary oral history podcast. Each month, we feature an interview from our archive.
Broadcastr, a platform for location-based audio, is now an SFA partner. Broadcastr sources audio from artists, performers, and organizations and pins their stories to a map of our world, accessed via the Web, an iPhone, iPad, or Android application.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Three board members have concluded their service to the SFA:
Mike "Rathead" Riley, the Bristol, Virginia, kingpin whose great interpersonal skills and stewardship of the Taste of the South event at Blackberry Farm, have been boons to our organization.
Audrey Petty of the University of Illinois, a fine teacher and writer whose essay, "Late Night Chitlins with Momma," has been anthologized widely, including in our Cornbread Nation series.
Ann Cashion, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, owns and operates Johnny's Half Shell, in Washington, D.C., along with partner Johnny Fulchino. Ann has been a key part of our chef outreach efforts.
Meanwhile, we welcomed four new board members:
Rob Long, a writer and producer in Hollywood, began his career with the television show Cheers. Rob has authored two books, and is a contributing editor to the National Review and the Los Angeles Times. His weekly radio commentary, "Martini Shot," may be heard on public radio in Los Angeles or on iTunes.
Dean McCord earned a doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Pathology at the University of North Carolina. He then sneaked off to Wisconsin for law school, but returned to the South to reside in Raleigh. He is a health care attorney and maintains a food blog that focuses on his family and local issues.
Bill Smith, a native of North Carolina, has worked as a chef for more than two decades, mostly at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill. In 2009 and 2010, the Beard Foundation named him a finalist for Best Chef: Southeast. He is author of Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook's Corner and From Home. His latest project is Migrants in the Kitchen, inspired by his trips to Celaya, Mexico.
Pardis Stitt, born and raised in Alabama by Iranian immigrants, was one of the fifty founders of the SFA. Pardis is also a founder of Slow Food Birmingham. She has served on a number of charitable foundation boards. She manages front-of-the-house operations for three Birmingham restaurants: Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega, and Chez Fon Fon.
Aided by our colleagues at Becca PR, SFA scored some major hits. Here's a very small sampling: ABC Nightline showcased SFA oral history and film work in a television segment that addressed issues of race and class. The New York Times Book Review sung the praises of the Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook. So did CNN. Food & Wine ran a full page-spread. And the NPR radio show The Story, inspired by her SFA Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award, profiled Christiane Lauterbach.
With dollars raised at the Taste of the South event in hand, the SFA advertised for a post-doctoral fellow in foodways, received some great applicants, and now plans, in 2011, to hire a post-doctoral fellow who will teach two foodways classes to our students. Hurrah!
With this step - a huge one for SFA - we have invested dollars in the future of Southern foodways, and in the students from around the country who now matriculate at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and clamor for these kinds of classes.
Joe York made 5 new SFA films this year:
Blessing of the Fleet, about the community of fishermen in Bayou la Batre, Alabama, fighting for survival in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.
Carolina Grist, an exploration of rice cultivation and the rice kitchen, featuring SFA Fellow Glenn Roberts, underwritten by Biltmore Estate.
Cut/Chop/ Cook, a celebration of barbecue, honoring Rodney Scott, pitmaster of Scott's Bar-B-Que in Hemingway, SC.
Phat Tai, a profile of Peter Nguyen, who accepted the 2010 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award on behalf of the Vietnamese fishing communities of the Gulf Coast.
Ride that Pig to Glory, a meditation on pastured pigs and tango dancing, featuring SFA Fellow Emile de Felice, underwritten by Biltmore Estate.
Joe also made great headway on Southern Food: The Movie, an hour-long opus, coming soon to a television near you. Since January, Joe has traveled through Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, east Texas, and parts of Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee. He's driven over 30,000 miles and collected close to 300 hours of footage. And he's still hungry.
Oral History Program Excels
By the time January passes, we'll surely have 500 in the can. That's 500 interviews with Chinese Delta grocers, Arkansas pitmasters, Louisiana gumbo cooks, Vietnamese Gulf fishermen, and North Carolina scuppernong growers. Meanwhile, our oral historian, Amy Evans Streeter, is proudest of our new internship and grant programs.
SFA Internships and Micro Grants
In-house interns spend one to two weeks in Oxford working alongside Amy, to process existing materials and conduct their own interviews. The SFA awarded two this year. Kevin Jung Min Kim, an undergraduate student in history at Swarthmore College, and Meghan Leonard, a graduate student in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, both collected oral histories this summer. Kevin presented his work, on Chinese grocers in the Mississippi Delta, at the symposium.
Guided interns are students who have experience in the field of oral history. Amy mentors the intern from afar, guiding them through SFA methods and practices. Rachel Reynolds-Luster, a graduate student in Heritage Studies at Arkansas State University, was the recipient of this year's guided internship. Rachel collected barbecue interviews in Arkansas for the Southern BBQ Trail.
Greenhouse Micro Grants were awarded for two projects. Rachel Bailey of Atlanta produced a multi-media piece on Atlanta's Buford Highway for this summer's Field Trip. Emily Wallace of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, wrote a paper on the refrigerated salads industry with a focus on pimento cheese, which she will present at the 2011 symposium.
The most significant new revenue sources for the SFA in 2010 came from:
Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner in Raleigh, North Carolina. She began staging a series of benefit dinners and potluck gatherings that will yield, at the conclusion of this cycle, in early 2011, more than $30,000 hard dollars for the SFA.
Taste of the South at Blackberry Farm has long been an important event on the SFA calendar. In 2010, Sam Beall and his crew went far above and beyond, staging a weekend event that raised approximately $150,000 for the SFA.
Treating Speakers and Chefs Right
We doubled the pay for symposium speakers and chefs this year. They still won't get rich, but we now pay $500, plus, as always, we reimburse for food costs and travel and pay for hotel. It's important to us to treat our chefs and speakers well.
Here's a quick recap of where we were last year.
Taste of the South at Blackberry Farm
January, Blackberry Farm, TN
Rathead rode the bull, Larry Turley poured the wine, and Julian Van Winkle joined the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans, and Chefs.
Potlikker Film Festival
April, Nashville, TN
Crazy-good music and Jezebel meatballs served in the backyard at City House.
Potlikker Film Festival
August, Chattanooga, TN
Who could forget the baconage from Link 41, or the Lodge tour?
Potlikker Film Festival / Big Apple Barbecue Block Party
June, New York City, NY
The debut of Cut/ Chop/ Cook at the Big Apple, the premier barbecue exposition.
Buford Highway Field Trip
June, Atlanta, GA
A trip along Atlanta's multicultural corridor, with detours for Eddie's tamales and Andy's dim sum.
Viking Range Lecture
September, Oxford, MS
Andrew F. Smith talked about his book Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War.
Delta Divertissement: Lebanese Delta
October, Greenwood, MS
Anissa Helou and Elizabeth Heiskell served perfect lamb, and Amy Streeter introduced us to the Lebanese of Clarksdale.
13th Southern Foodways Symposium: Global South
October, Oxford, MS
Chingo Bling, the Masa Messiah, rapped, Diane Roberts toured Dixie de Cuba, and Kelly English and Jonathan Magallanes cooked 40 cow heads.
SFA invites current members to renew, or new friends to join, as we study the Cultivated South in 2011. Visit our home page, www.southernfoodways.org, for a link to join online today.