Women, Work, and Food in Richmond, Virginia (and Charlottesville)
June 20-22, 2013

SFA has staged summer Field Trips for more than a decade. This year, we reinvented that annual tradition when we staged our first Summer Foodways Symposium, June 20-22, in Richmond, Virginia (with a prequel in nearby Charlottesville).

Our programming theme for 2013 is Women, Work, and Food. Instead of focusing on women as stewards of hearth and home, the symposium told stories of women who began their working lives at home and on the farm, but leveraged those skills to join the entrepreneurial class and drive local economies.

Among the highlights:

  • Anson Mills Artisan Supper at Whiskey Jar in Charlottesville on Thursday night, featuring female cheese makers, cider makers, and rabbit farmers
  • “Boxed Lunch,” a short film by Nicole Lang about Sally Bell’s Bakery (Kitchen), which has sold Richmond its lunch for almost a century. Women have staffed Sally Bell’s since Sarah Cabel founded the business in 1924. The film was followed by, of course, a Sally Bell’s boxed lunch.
  • Leni Sorenson on Mary Randolph, The Virginia Housewife, and the enslaved women who worked her kitchens
  • Meats, Sweets, Cocktails, and Preserves for The Virginia Housewife Supper
  • Todd Kliman, author of The Wild Vine, on the female vignerons of Virginia
  • The Roosevelt Virginia Wine Lunch, a vegetarian meal by Chef Lee Gregory inspired by Kendra Feather’s food history
  • Psyche Williams-Forson on Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power
  • Liberia on the James Supper, featuring Ida MaMusu of Africanne on Main

Working for the SFA, Sara Wood collected oral histories from Virginians, that showcased women entrepreneurs, cooks, waitresses, bakers, and more:

  • Deborah Pratt & Clementine Boyd­—Rappahannock River oyster shuckers
  • Kendra Feather—The Roosevelt, Garnett’s, Ipanema, WPA Bakery
  • Tanya Cauthen—Belmont Butchery
  • Argentina Ortega—La Sabrosita
  • Marcyne Jones & Martha Crowe Jones—Sally Bell’s Kitchen
  • Stella Dikos and Katrina Giavos—Stella’s
  • Ida MaMusu—Africanne on Main
  • Ira Wallace—Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Mineral, Virginia
  • Catherine Via & Beatrice Taylor–Retired Crabbers, Urbanna, Virginia
  • Rachel Zell—Chef, Food Stylist, Waitress
  • Tiffany Gellner—The Magpie
  • Velma Johnson—Mama J’s

The Jefferson Hotel provided headquarters for the weekend.