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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

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Susie & Larry Bowen

Larry Bowen was born in 1960 and was raised in a military family. Susie Bowen was born in 1962, and raised in Panacea, Florida. Mr. Bowen grew up throughout the United States, but he was deeply connected to his extended family in Panacea, Florida. His grandparents owned an oyster house and his uncles, Clark, Joe, and Alex Nichols, shrimped, fished, and oystered in Apalachee and Apalachicola Bays. Bowen spent his summers fishing and oystering with them. Though she was raised in Panacea, Mrs. Bowen didn’t fish or oyster until she met and married her husband.

Mr. Bowen worked for St. Marks Powder, and Mrs. Bowen worked for the Sheriff’s Office. They would tong oysters and fish for mullet in their free time. After they retired, Mr. Bowen wanted to continue working on the water. He took an interest in oyster aquaculture after his friend, Leo Lovel, began experimenting with growing oysters from seed in Spring Creek. In 2015, the Bowens began to farm oysters. They gradually expanded their operations, but they are committed to remaining quality, small batch oyster producers. They sell their oysters to large oyster processors like Barber Seafood in Eastpoint, Florida.

Date of interview:

Annemarie Anderson

Annemarie Anderson

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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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