Climatic complements, cultural ties, and transportation link the American South and Africa. Fittingly, Atlanta is now a beacon for African refugees. Resettlement agencies place three to five thousand refugees here each year, I learned over two days of bounding through Atlanta, visiting four farm sites managed in whole or supported in part by Global Growers.
It’s a summer night, circa right now. I’m in the backseat, leaching liquor and perspiration onto the vinyl. Chris Shepherd, who spent the afternoon at a Vietnamese nail salon here in Houston, is digging his shellacked toes into the front passenger-side pile, while Bryan Caswell palms the steering wheel and blasts Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears through a removable-face Blaupunkt that would have gotten him laid in tenth grade.
We ate yellowfin tuna, dressed with a buttermilk sauce and tucked in a nest of cucumber noodles. And spring onion pesto-swaddled black grouper, served on a drift of creamy lemon grits. And banana pudding ice-cream cake, capped with toasted meringue.
A white man clutching a brown paper bag stands in the dirt-and-gravel lot that fronts Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in the Arkansas Delta town of Marianna. Grease splotches the bag, a stain that envelops the bottom and flares up the sides.
John T. Edge, THE OA's food columnist and our guest editor for the Southern food issue, visits a group of African-American farmers in Alabama who are reclaiming their land through a collective strength.