The Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) will host the inaugural Egerton Prize Awards Ceremony on Sunday, August 12, 4:00 p.m., at the Nashville Public Library, 615 Church Street. The free, public event, will be held in the library’s auditorium.
A ticketed reception will follow from 5:30–7:30 pm in the Main Gallery at 21c Museum Hotel Nashville, a short walk from the library. Bites from the Gray & Dudley culinary team and a local guest chef will be inspired by Egerton-family recipes. Tickets, priced at $50 each, may be purchased online.
The 2018 Egerton Prize Awards Ceremony will feature remarks by Alice Randall, author and writer-in-residence at Vanderbilt University, who will speak about John Egerton: his life, his work, his contributions to the city of Nashville, his role as a leader in the study of Southern regional foodways, and his legacy as a founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Chuck Reece, founder and editor of The Bitter Southerner, will introduce the honorees and share stories of their work. Attendees will also view original films about the honorees, produced by the SFA.
In 2018, SFA will offer two prizes. One prize will be awarded to Fresh Future Farm, an urban farm and grocery market serving the local community in North Charleston, South Carolina. Germaine Jenkins, CEO of the farm and market director, will represent the organization. The second prize is awarded to The Neighbor’s Field in Comer, Georgia, a project of Jubilee Partners that assists former refugees independently practicing sustainable agriculture. The Neighbor’s Field will be represented by its coordinator, Rebecca Smith.
For his work in chronicling and championing the cause of civil rights in America, and for his contribution to our understanding of the power of the common table, SFA established the John Egerton Prize to recognize artists, writers, scholars, and others–including artisans and farmers and cooks–whose work, in the American South, addresses issues of race, class, gender, and social and environmental justice, through the lens of food. While the awards were founded in 2009, this year marks the inaugural standalone ceremony, taking place in Egerton’s hometown of Nashville, where he lived from 1965 until his passing in 2013. According to SFA Director John T Edge, “John Egerton claimed Nashville. And the city claimed him. He wrote his two big books there, Speak Now Against the Day and Southern Food. Our Egerton Prize celebrates the ways in which he continues to inspire transformative work in the world of food. This event brings that prize home, where it belongs.”
About Southern Foodways Alliance
The Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies, and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. Our work sets a welcome table where all may consider our history and our future in a spirit of respect and reconciliation. A member-supported organization based at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, we collect oral histories, produce films and podcasts, publish great writing, sponsor scholarship, mentor students, and stage events that serve as progressive and inclusive catalysts for the greater South. Donations from generous individuals, foundations, and companies fund our good work. Everyone is invited to be a member. Memberships may be purchased online at www.southernfoodways.org, the same website where we freely share films, oral histories, podcasts, and other documentary work.