2018 Summer Symposium: Lexington, KY

2018 Summer Symposium
June 21-23, 2018
Lexington, KY

Lexington, Kentucky, is a food and literature citadel, an idealized college town where farmers and cooks and writers tell new stories about the South. Join SFA for a three-day Summer Symposium that explores this diverse city, at the heart of the Bluegrass region and on the cusp of Appalachia. Through lectures, oral history presentations, documentary films, dinners, tastings, and experiences, SFA will frame the centrality of Kentucky in the regional food conversation.

Highlights include:

  • Ronni Lundy, SFA Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award winner, talks soup beans and chili buns
  • Rebecca Gayle Howell, the poet, on the countercultural promise of Lexington
  • Novelist Crystal Wilkinson sings a song of black land
  • Samantha Fore of Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites and Jonathan Searle of Lockbox fry chicken and okra
  • Elizabeth Catte, author of What You’re Getting Wrong About Appalachia, gets it right
  • Janice Fernheimer, a scholar of identity, rhetoric, and Jewish studies, talks religion and bourbon
  • Edward Lee, author of Buttermilk Graffiti, talks future tense Kentucky foodways
  • Frank X Walker, a founder of the Affrilachian poets, speaks truths
  • Robert Gipe, author of the illustrated novel Trampoline, drops the mic
  • Sam Gleaves, Silas House, and friends perform the folk play “In These Fields.”
  • Alexis Meza showcases oral histories and gorditas from Lexington’s Mexican community
  • Ouita Michel schools all in chicken croquettes and yeast rolls
  • Ava Lowrey, SFA Pihakis Documentary Filmmaker, gets filmic with pinto beans


Tickets go on sale to current SFA members on March 29, 2018. Emails to all current members with the ticket link and password will be shared on Tuesday, March 27. Tickets, which include all presentations, meals, and social events, are priced at $495 each.


A room block for attendees has been reserved at the 21c Museum Hotels–Lexington, with room rates starting at $179/night. After your ticket is purchased, you may book a room using this link. The passcode for the special rate will be shared in the questionnaire section of the ticket purchase page.


The Southern Foodways Alliance thanks VisitLEX and Anson Mills for their support of the 2018 Summer Symposium.