2019 Winter Symposium: Food is Work


To the smart folks who snagged tickets for our Winter Symposium: We can’t wait to engage with y’all in important conversations on food and labor in Birmingham.

Couldn’t make this one? Join us for Summer Symposium, June 14-15, in Bentonville, Arkansas, or Fall Symposium, Oct 24-26, in Oxford, Mississippi.


Join the SFA in Birmingham, February 8-9, as we study the work of food in 2019. The Winter Symposium is February 9. An opening night party February 8, included in the ticket price, offers drinks from Feizal Valli of The Atomic Lounge and bites from chef John Hall. Hero Doughnuts and Royal Cup Coffee offer breakfast, and Rusty Tucker of Rusty’s Bar-B-Q will provide lunch. Both meals are included in the ticket price.

Presentation highlights include:

Tickets, priced at $150, are on sale NOW. The link for tickets is HERE.


2019 SFA Winter Symposium
Food Is Work
Birmingham, Alabama
Event Schedule

Friday, February 8

5:30–7:30 p.m.
Reception at Good People Brewing
114 14th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233

Featuring cocktails from Feizal Valli of The Atomic Lounge, Good People Brewing beer, and a showcase of appetizers from John Hall, now planning the next great Birmingham restaurant.


Saturday, February 9
All events at Haven
2515 6th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

8:30 a.m.
Hero Donuts
Royal Cup Coffee

Tasting Notes
with Feizal Valli of The Atomic Lounge

9:00 a.m.
Introduction and Welcome

9:30 a.m.
Morning Poetry
Ashley Jones

10:00 a.m.
The Labor of Birmingham
John Archibald

11:00 a.m.
Baking Entrepreneurs of Alabama
An Oral History Conversation
Annemarie Anderson

12:00 p.m.
Premiere of newest SFA film

Lunch by Rusty’s Bar-B-Q

1:30 p.m.
Restaurants in Crisis
Melany Robinson and Patricia Bundy
Lisa Donovan, moderator

2:30 p.m.
Evolution of the Restaurant Family Ideal
Steve Palmer
Hunter Lewis, moderator

3:30 p.m.
Promises of a Female Led Restaurant
Ashley Christensen
Mary-Frances Heck, moderator

4:30 p.m.
Happy Hour
with Feizal Valli


SFA thanks the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Alabama Department of Tourism and for underwriting this event.






The SFA has arranged two hotel blocks, Feb. 8-10, for the Winter Symposium. Book before January 18 to secure the special rates.

Doubletree by Hilton
808 20th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35205

$123+tax/night includes breakfast, complimentary shuttle service to/from hotel within 2 miles, complimentary wifi, and complimentary fitness center access.

Book your room online:

Rooms may also be reserved by calling 800-222-TREE. Mention the Southern Foodways Alliance Winter Symposium when making reservations to secure the special rate.


Hotel Indigo
1023 20th St S
Birmingham, AL 35205

Rooms are $129+tax/night and include complimentary wifi.

Book your room online:
https://www.hotelindigo.com/redirect?path=hd&brandCode=IN&localeCode=en&regionCode=1&hotelCode=BHMID&_PMID=99801505&GPC=SFA&viewfullsite=trueThe block code for the group is SFA.

Event Presenters

Annemarie Anderson is managing oral historian for the Southern Foodways Alliance.

John Archibald is a 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who writes for AL.com and the Birmingham News.

Patricia Bundy is a licensed psychologist who practices in Roanoke, Virginia.

Ashley Christensen is a James Beard award-winning chef, an author, and a successful restaurateur who leads AC Restaurant Group.

Mary-Frances Heck is Senior Food Editor at Food & Wine magazine.

Ashley Jones is a poet and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fellow.

Hunter Lewis is Editor in Chief at Food & Wine magazine.

Steve Palmer is the managing partner of the hospitality and consulting company, The Indigo Road Hospitality Group.

Melany Robinson is founder of Polished Pig Media, a national public relations firm.

Feizal Valli is an artist, bartender, and owner of the The Atomic Lounge in Birmingham, Alabama.