Welcome to Food Media South: Sharing Immigrant Stories, a Southern Foodways Alliance symposium, February 25, 2017, in Birmingham, Alabama.

This third annual event explores storytelling in the digital era and asks timely questions about how immigration and ethnicity and identity impact which food stories get told and who tells them.

If you work as a content creator or editor and wish to gain new perspectives on your work, this event is for you. If you’re good at what you do and want to get better, join us.

In addition to great content, we promise great food and drink. From tamales that showcase Mexican American craft, to keftedes cooked and served by Greek American restaurateurs, SFA has curated a roster of honest delights from the New South media capital.

Tickets for Food Media South, priced at $150 per person inclusive of food and drink, go on sale Wednesday, November 16 at 10 a.m. Passwords are not required to purchase tickets. For more information, follow #FMS17 on social media.

Buy Tickets

SFA partners with underwriters who respect the autonomy of working journalists and encourage you to explore the city and state that Food Media South calls home:

Alabama Tourism Department

Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau


A block of rooms has been reserved for Food Media South attendees at

SpringHill Suites Birmingham Downtown at UAB
2024 4th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233

$139.00 USD per night
Parking included ($10/day value)
Includes wifi, parking, and breakfast
*Reserve your room by February 6, 2017 for the special rate.



Happy Hour Welcome

Explore Birmingham: Curated Roster of Restaurants


All events at WorkPlay, 500 23rd St. South


Registration & Breakfast

Royal Cup Coffee


Short History of Twentieth Century Food Writing

Hanna Raskin, The Post & Courier


Greek Birmingham: From Chili Dogs to Snapper Throats

Eric Velasco, Birmingham magazine

Sara Wood, SFA oral historian

FILM: Johnny’s Greek and Three

Ava Lowrey, SFA Pihakis Foodways Documentary Fellow


Keynote: Reporting Immigrant Stories

Chris Ying, Lucky Peach

Osayi Endolyn, Gravy


Dinner Series as Platform and Pathway

Tunde Wey, Blackness in America


Networking, Keftedes, Spinach & Chickpeas, and Sweet Tea

Tim Hontzas, grandson of Johnny Hontzopolous


Korean Montgomery: From Bowling Alleys to Barbecue

Ann Taylor Pittman, Cooking Light


Are You Taco Literate?
Steven Alvarez, St. John’s University


Aural Storytelling

Debbie Elliott, NPR

Von Diaz, Story Corps


Navigating the Informal Economy

Tunde Wey, Blackness in America

Caleb Zigas, La Cocina


A Bite and a Sip

Back Door Tamales

Alabama Craft Beer


Steven Alvarez Steven Alvarez is a professor of English at St. John’s University in New York City. Alvarez specializes in literacy studies and bilingual education with a focus on Mexican immigrant communities.
Von Diaz Von Diaz is a food writer and radio producer at StoryCorps. Her forthcoming cookbook, Gordita: Craving Puerto Rico, uses storytelling and recipes to explore the colonial and contemporary history of the island.
Debbie Elliott NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott tells stories from her native South.  She covers the latest news and politics, and is attuned to the region’s rich culture and history.
Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee. Osayi Endolyn, SFA’s associate editor, has written for Atlanta magazine, Eater, and New York magazine’s The Cut, among others.
Raskin Prior to her nearly twenty years in journalism, The Post & Courier’s food editor and chief critic Hanna Raskin waitressed, sold wedding dresses, led mountain bike tours, and ran political campaigns in Asheville, North Carolina.
velasco Over three decades of newspaper reporting under his belt, Eric Velasco now works as a freelance writer in Birmingham, Alabama.
Tunde Wey cropped Tunde Wey is the force behind the traveling dinner and dialogue series Blackness in America, which he designed to promote black discourse and prioritize black perspectives.
Wood Sara Wood, SFA’s lead oral historian, holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Wilmington and studied radio at The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.
ying Chris Ying is the editor-at-large of the print version of Lucky Peach, the quarterly food journal founded by David Chang.
zigas Caleb Zigas is the executive director of La Cocina, a San Francisco nonprofit incubator kitchen that empowers immigrant entrepreneurs.