In 2014, the SFA selected the first class of Smith Symposium Fellows. The program, underwritten by a gift from Pam and Brook Smith, invites individuals whose work promises a positive impact on the southern region and its foodways to be guests at the annual fall symposium.
The summer of her junior year, Cecilia launched the food truck and catering company So Good Pupusas and started filling pupusa catering orders at UNC. She works with members of her family and UNC undergraduates who volunteer their time for the mission of So Good Pupusas to create a scholarship fund for undocumented students pursuing their undergraduate degrees.
Von’s forthcoming cookbook, Gordita: Craving Puerto Rico, uses storytelling and recipes to explore the colonial and contemporary history of the island, the legacy of African slavery in the Caribbean, and the ongoing cultural exchange between Puerto Rico and the mainland.
Tunde Wey is a writer and chef from Nigeria currently living in New Orleans. He has created notable food concepts in Detroit and New Orleans and facilitates a traveling dinner and dialogue dinner series exploring Blackness in America.
Steven Alvarez is assistant professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies at the University of Kentucky. His teaching and research explore the histories and networks of Mexican and Mexican American food in the United States demonstrating how transnational communities sustain emotional connections and local relationships among individuals building publics across borders.
Nadeen Bir is passionate about social justice issues. Since 2009, she has worked as Advocacy and Organizing Director at Student Action with Farmworkers, with the goal of involving more students and community members in the struggle for farmworker justice.
Darnella Burkett-Winston recently graduated from Alcorn State University with degrees in consumer science and agriculture. She farms her family’s 255 acres in Mississippi with her father, Ben Burkett.
Michael Twitty is a food writer, independent scholar, and historical interpreter working with African American foodways and the African Diaspora. He is the author of the blog Afroculinaria.
Evan Mah began his Toothfish food blog at age 16 and has been writing reviews ever since. He is currently a food editor for Atlanta magazine and recently completed their “Best of Atlanta” issue.
Natasha Bowens is a farmer, writer, and activist who authors the blog Brown.Girl.Farming. In May 2015, she published The Color of Food, which presents the often-overlooked history of agriculture by people of color.