Monday, March 12

Egerton Prize, Past Winners Update

John Egerton Prize Call for Nominations -- and update on past winners

For his work in chronicling and championing the cause of civil rights in America, and for his contribution to our understanding of the power of the common table, the John Egerton Prize recognizes artists, writers, scholars, and others--including artisans and farmers and cooks--whose work, in the American South, addresses issues of race, class, gender, and social and environmental justice, through the lens of food.

The $5,000 prize, administered by the Southern Foodways Alliance, identifies
people whose work would benefit from greater freedom, support, and exposure.

Nominations of 50 words or less in length are being accepted through March 15.

If you would like to nominate someone, you have until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. to email

To get an idea of the sort of good work that the Egerton Prize supports, here are updates
from the three previous winners.


SFA John Egerton Prize: An Update on Honorees

2009--Haley Downs and Julie Kahn, Florida filmmakers, for “Swamp Cabbage”

We are in post-production for the film. With funding raised from our Kickstarter campaign, the Winston Foundation, and a wild game feast, we were able to hire an associate to help us finish editing over 300 hours of film into a 90-minute documentary. We also participated in Hot Topics, a lecture series at the Art & Culture Center of Hollywood.

We thought y’all might you might be interested in the wild game feast menu. On the table were pickled bamboo shoots, fiddlehead ferns, a bubbling pot of raccoon stew, and seven types of jerky, including alligator, caribou and buffalo.

As always, we will keep you posted on our milestones and can't wait to celebrate the premiere with you! Keep up with us online at

2010--Calvin Head, Mississippi farming activist, for the West Holmes Community Development Organization

The Egerton Prize allowed WHCDO to secure the necessary cold storage to satisfy our markets, retain those markets, and also add new markets. We are building our own processing facility, scheduled to begin construction this month. Your support has also allowed our youth organization to maintain current membership and add new members to work with our vegetable growing initiative. WHCDO has recently partnered with a farmers cooperative to grow vegetables on a larger scale, which will allow us to sustain the organization while using our youth as a labor force.

Equally important, the Egerton Prize has afforded us the opportunity to create an alliance that stretches across county and state lines in an effort to replicate our work in other places where similar economic hardships exist. We are now providing technical assistance training to landowners, farmers, and youth in vegetable production, marketing strategies, distribution, and crop plans.

2011--Phil Blank, North Carolina artist, musician, and librarian

Since the SFA event in the fall, I've been working on a variety of projects. I've done an illustration for a fascinating story by Nancie McDermott on important gathering places for the African American community in Greenbsoro, North Carolina, during the sit-ins. It is a really vital piece of that larger story and an inspiring piece of "third places" history.

I’ve created weekly illustrations for the Carrboro Citizen. And I was pleased to contribute a painting for an event poster honoring and remembering Mike Seeger's legacy.

Most of my time lately has been taken up with longer form projects—including multi-page graphic stories about two fascinating Southern characters—harmonica player Jimmie Anderson, from Natchez, Mississippi, and comedienne Moms Mabley, from Brevard, North Carolina, who performed in the early days of the Chitlin' Circuit.


The illustration at the top of this entry was sketched by Phil Blank, our 2011 Egerton Prize winner.