One of the great things about putting together a magazine on local food is all the great people I get to meet along the way. In the process of getting the content for this first issue, I have had the opportunity to have some fascinating discussions about our local food system with some of the people who are integrally involved in its well-being.
I’ve been particularly excited to collaborate with Jon Jackson and Jovan Sage, two individuals who will be sharing their own unique perspectives on food through their regular features in Southern Soil. Jon and Jovan are passionate advocates for food produced responsibly and, in their own ways, encourage those around them to truly reconnect to their food.
Jovan is an herbalist and health coach who believes that building a healthy relationship with food is key to living a joyful and fulfilling life. Jovan is passionate about inspiring others to use food as medicine, reconnect with the seasonal nature of foods, and sharing her love and knowledge of preserving foods at their peak of freshness.
In her feature series, Jovan will be sharing personal narratives from her own experiences that readers will no doubt connect with, as well as, sharing a recipe or practical application that readers can use to begin or further their own food journey.
Jovan lives and works in Brunswick. She is the herbalist and alchemist of Sage’s Larder. Her tea blends have recently been added to the menu of Peachdish, a subscription service out of Atlanta that delivers farm fresh foods to your door. Jovan is also co-owner of the Farmer and the Larder restaurant.
Jon Jackson is a former Army Ranger turned hog farmer who founded and runs Comfort Farms in Milledgeville. The farm, in addition to raising high quality pork, also serves as a place of refuge and restoration for veterans facing issues such as homelessness and PTSD.
Jon is passionate about pork. He has chosen to specialize in heritage breeds that are slow-growing. His focus is on producing the best tasting pork possible and some of the top chefs in Atlanta would agree that he’s doing a great job. Jon will be sharing his hog farming experiences in his regular feature, High on the Hog.
With both of these wonderful contributors, readers can expect to gain insight into our local food system and a deeper appreciation for our food and what it takes to get it to our tables! I can’t wait for you get to know them.
I’m also really excited about another regular feature that will be included in each issue of Southern Soil, Table Talk.
Table Talk will include an in-depth conversation between myself and a different individual involved in some aspect of the local food system. For this first issue, I sat down with Chef and Restaurateur Dave Snyder of Halyard Restaurant Group.
Dave owns three unique restaurants on St Simons Island, as well as, a charter business, Hook and Knife. His passion is fish. Not just catching and cooking fish, but also protecting the local fisheries and ensuring that the species of fish we enjoy eating will be around for a long time.
Chef Snyder loves food and credits his mother for raising him to appreciate good food created from quality ingredients and made with love. His insights are, at times, brutally honest and always compelling.
We had a great discussion on the state of the local food system, how it can be improved, and the importance of consumer demand for quality products.
Table Talk will provide an important and ongoing dialog about our local food system and how we can work together to strengthen what is good about it and to improve those areas that are lacking. It is my hope that this feature will inspire a true conversation, whether online or in person, and get people talking about our food and where it comes from.
In addition to these regular features, each issue of Southern Soil will endeavor to tell the stories and share the efforts of those who work so hard to make sure that our local food system is always growing and improving. In this first issue, I had the pleasure of writing about Georgia Buffalo Ranch in Darien, The Farm Truck 912 - an innovative program of Forsythe Farmers Market in Savannah, The Hancock Farm in Bartow, and Midnight Run Distillery - a moonshine operation owned by the Mayor of Bartow himself.
I’m excited to have the opportunity to introduce each of you to these unique individuals and I can’t wait to get started on my next issue and begin to uncover more of the stories that make the local food system here in Southeast Georgia uniquely ours.