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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Downtown Greenwood Farmers’ Market


Alisa Lay

Alisa Lay comes from a family of Mississippi sharecroppers. Her great-grandmother had seventeen children and stretched resources and ingredients to feed the family. Her grandmother saved seeds. Okra seeds. Those seeds made their way down the branches of the family tree to Alisa and her sister, Brenda Glenn. When their grandmother died, Alisa and Brenda began poring through her recipe books. They found recipes for onion relish, black bean and corn salsa, and pickled okra.

Alisa and Brenda first visited the Downtown Greenwood Farmers Market in 2008, the year it began. They drove from their home in Carrollton, looking for some watermelons. They found an opportunity. Alisa and Brenda were inspired to turn their canning hobby into a business. They called themselves 2 Sisters in the Kitchen and got to work.

For the next four years they canned everything under the sun: cherry plum preserves, sour apple relish, their grandmothers black bean and corn salsa, and, of course, their family’s pickled Longhorn okra. Alisa also brought baked goods to their table. They quickly became a fixture a the Market.

In 2011, less than a month after this interview was conducted, Alisa Lay passed away. She had predicted that the future of 2 Sisters in the Kitchen was uncertain, but no one expected such an untimely end. Their legacy will live on through Jason Glenn, Alisa’s nephew and Brenda’s son, who has taken to canning and will definitely be saving the family’s okra seeds.

Date of interview:

Amy Evans

Amy Evans

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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