Written By Deirdra Stockmann, Slow Food USA volunteer and former leader with Slow Food Huron Valley
The hills of Southern Appalachia and the people who live there have long been shaped by their foodways – the cultural, economic and geographic paths that weave people and land together. And those green hills have listened silently as generations have passed down recipes, farming techniques and stories about growing and eating together. People, of course, have listened to these stories as well, but most of them have never been recorded, some have been lost, and countless tales and tricks of the trade reside only in the minds and memories of the region’s elders.
In 2011, Slow Food Asheville created the Appalachian Food Storybank as a way to “acknowledge, honor, and archive Appalachian heritage foods and foodways in order to promote the preservation of diverse local knowledges, natural resources, and food biodiversity.” In less than two years, the program has established a committed group of volunteers, built partnerships with other organizations, and created an enthusiastic buzz among local media and area residents eager to help preserve their own local history.