Friends & relations

Southern Foodways Alliance

John T Edge, director
Center for the Study of Southern Culture
University of Mississippi
Oxford, Miss.

The Southern Foodways Alliance documents, studies, and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. The institute stages symposia on food culture, produces documentary films, publishes compendiums of great writing, and—perhaps most importantly—preserve, promote, and chronicle the region’s culinary standard bearers. “We’re talking white tablecloth chefs and fried chicken cooks, barbecue pitmasters and peanut farmers,” writes Edge. “Though we are a lean and efficient organization, our work has great impact.”

The SFA is a member-supported organization of more than 800 people. Chefs and academics, writers and eaters: all are active participants. In the Atlantic Monthly, Corby Kummer dubbed the SFA “this country’s most intellectually engaged (and probably most engaging) food society.”

Center for Great Plains Studies

Jim Hoy, director
Emporia State University
Emporia, Kansas
In 1977, the Kansas Board of Regents authorized the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University, situated in tallgrass country near the West’s legendary trails.
Academic programs, public service activities, and research projects are intended to inform, interest, and promote appreciation of the sprawling mid-continental grasslands. Aacademic fields in the natural sciences, fine arts, social sciences, and humanities converge. Faculty members from art to zoology study the common and the uncommon elements of the Great Plains that invest the region with its particular texture and spirit.

Kansas Sampler Foundation

Marci Penner, director
Inman, Kansas

The mission of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, a public non-profit 501(C)(3) organization, is to preserve, sustain, and grow rural culture by educating Kansans about Kansas and by networking and supporting rural communities. The cause, Penner says, is to keep every town viable that shows the will and spirit to help itself.

Kansas Sampler Festival, Kansas Explorers Club, the 8 Wonders of Kansas contests, “Get Kansas!” and the 432-page Kansas Guidebook for Explorers are among the foundation’s projects.