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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.

< Back to Oral History project: Highlands Bar & Grill at Work

ORAL HISTORY

Michael and Lindy Dean


Terra Preta Farm

Michael Dean, born in 1970, and his wife, Lindy Dean, born in 1978, grow produce for Birmingham restaurants. Michael waited tables at Bottega from 1996 to 2001, at a time when Stitt began building a network of local farmers. Stitt asked his employees if anyone wanted to grow vegetables. Dean took him up on his offer. Dean continued to wait tables and grow vegetables for two years before he began to farm full time in 2001. Lindy began to volunteer at Dean’s farm that same year. In 2003, Michael and Lindy became business partners.

Today, Michael and Lindy grow vegetables and herbs for Highlands and more than a dozen other Birmingham restaurants. Now called Terra Preta, their farm in Vincent, Alabama, catalyzed a network of small farmers that now feeds a city increasingly dedicated to locally grown food.

Date of interview:
2019-01-26

Interviewer:
Eric Velasco

Photographer:
SFA Archive

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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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