This gathering of change makers in North Carolina’s foodways is designed to break the traditional conference model. We expect speakers to learn as much as the audience, and the audience to actively engage in thinking about our guiding questions:
- How do we ensure that the lives of all North Carolinians are enriched daily by a vibrant local food economy that fosters health, flavor, culture, entrepreneurship, and justice?
- How do we positively influence a climate of change around the current food system in our local communities?
Wednesday, september 28
UNC Chapel Hill, Gerrard Hall, 116 E. Cameron Ave., Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Hosted by Southern Cultures (issues and merch available for sale)
Parking: You may either park near campus with metered parking, or locate one of a few parking lots in the vicinity. Being on campus, it can be a bit more difficult to locate parking, especially before 5PM.
3:30–5:30PM THE STORY OF PLACE
Jeff Polish of The Monti introduces us to our seven storytellers who will give us insight into how place roots them in their daily practice, helps to shape their values, and informs their work. North Carolina snacks and drinks provided by Chef John May (Piedmont, formerly Chef & the Farmer), April McGreger (Farmer's Daughter Pickles & Preserves), Sheri Castle and Steel String Brewery.
- Folklorist Jefferson Currie II reminds us that southern food is native food.
- April McGreger, founder of Farmer's Daughter Pickles & Preserves, talks sweet potatoes and capturing the flavors of the South.
- Sheri Castle, food writer, cooking teacher, recipe tester and developer, on her mountain upbringing.
- Vansana Nolintha, co-owner of Bida Manda, shares how he has brought the rituals of daily life in Laos to Raleigh, NC.
- Donovan McKnight, co-director of Ethnosh, introduces his work and invites Szechuan Chef Lan Chen and his wife You Lv of Captain Chens Gourmet China, Greensboro, NC, to talk international flavor in the Triad.
- Angela Salamanca, owner and chef of Centro, on work, family, and passion.
- Screening: "They Came For Shrimp & Grits: The Life and Work of Bill Neal," a Southern Foodways Alliance film.
- Chef Bill Smith, Crook's Corner, on carrying forward Bill Neal's legacy.
Thursday, september 29
Rock Quarry Farm, 1700 NC Hwy 54 West, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Parking: Guests will be directed to park on the farm's lawn a short walk from the venue.
Breakfast by Neal's Deli.
8:30–12:00PM MORNING SESSIONS
- The State of North Carolina Foodways. Marcie Cohen Ferris, co-chair of the UNC-Chapel Hill's 2015-2017 university-wide research Food For All theme and professor of American Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill, gives us a report on North Carolina food today, with insight drawn from a state-wide survey.
Conversation Sparks: Hunger, Change, Flavor, Policy, Sustainability. These quick, eight-minute talks warm us up for the day ahead. Moderated by Andrea Weigl, News & Observer, and featuring speakers Reverend Richard Joyner, Conetoe Family Life Center; Wyatt Dickson, Picnic; Chef Ricky Moore, Saltbox Seafood Joint; Scott Marlow, RAFI; and Chef Scott Crawford, Crawford & Son.
Reanimating the Small Town South. Learn how restaurants and foodways can be a catalyst for economic and cultural redevelopment in our region during this panel. Moderated by Bernard L. Herman, chair of UNC-Chapel Hill's Department of American Studies, and featuring panelists Shorlette Amons, community food systems outreach coordinator, NC A&T State University; Nancy Gottovi, executive director of STARworks; John May, Chef at Piedmont; Aaron Vandemark, Chef Proprietor of Panciuto; and Inez Ribustello, On the Square.
Envisioning a New School Lunch. Tamara Baker of No Kid Hungry NC kicks off this informational session. Susan Johnson, NC Department of Public Instruction, will offer background on the state's school lunch program. Orange County teacher Shannon Braxton invites three high school students talk food and nutrition from their perspective.
Chefs Kyle McKnight (formerly Highland Avenue, Hickory, NC) and Clark Barlowe (Heirloom, Charlotte, NC) offer small plates that reflect their reimagining of school lunch. Wyatt Dickson serves whole-hog barbecue from Picnic, Durham, NC.
1:15–5:30PM AFTERNOON SESSIONS
Gathering for Good: Rethinking School Lunch. In this interactive session, experts on school nutrition and engaged chefs provide background on their work before posing a question to the audience to answer. Moderated by Nation Hahn, Chief Growth Officer, EdNC; and featuring Chef Clark Barlowe, Heirloom; Beth Hopping and Linden Thayer, Center for Advanced Hindsight, Duke University; and Chef Colin Bedford, The Fearrington House Restaurant.
Keynote Presentation: Undoing Culinary Segregation. Award-winning author Toni Tipton-Martin (The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks, University of Texas Press, 2016) presents her work in pursuit of culinary reparations. Following her presentation, Chef Andrea Reusing (The Durham, Lantern) joins Tipton-Martin for a panel discussion on politics of labor in food, moderated by Chuck Reece (Founder and Editor, The Bitter Southerner).
Foodways for Social Good. Food and food-related businesses offer a potential platform for increasing equality and opportunity for all. To anchors us in thinking of restaurants as forces for social change, Kate Medley screens "Counter Histories: Durham, NC," a Southern Foodways Alliance film. Voices engaged in social good from across the state introduce the work of their organization in three-minute pitches. Following this, Grayson Currin of the Raleigh Agenda helps moderate an interactive Q & A. Featuring Melanie Allen, conservation and diversity director, Conservation Trust for NC sharing the Land Loss Prevention Project; Cecilia Polanco of So Good Pupusas; Gini Bell of Farmer Foodshare; Noran Sanford, founder of GrowingChange with Terrence Smith, youth leader; Leonardo Galván, outreach expert and community educator, North Carolina Farmworkers Project; Sean Wilson, Fullsteam Brewery; and William Jackson of Villages of Wisdom.
Gathering for Good: NC Food 2025. In the second interactive session of the day, we bring together different players in today's food scene to talk trends and outlooks for farms, restaurants, markets, and food businesses in 2025. Moderated by Victoria Bouloubasis, food editor for the INDY and featuring Sandi Kronick, East Carolina Organics; Carol Peppe Hewitt, Slow Money; Bevelyn Ukah, Food Youth Initiative, a program of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems; Ben Grimes, Dawnbreaker Farm, Nick and Rochelle Johnson, Dashi, Ponysaurus, The Cookery, Chef Mike Lee, M Sushi; and Sam Jones, Sam Jones BBQ and the Skylight Inn.
5:30–6PM MIX & MINGLE
Barkeep Gary Crunkleton (The Crunkleton, Chapel Hill, NC) serves up Bourbon Brambles in julep cups starting at 3 PM, linger with speakers and guests until 6 PM.