Picture yourself at a garden party. It’s evening, food and libations are plentiful. And everyone has come with a single purpose: to celebrate the healing power of food traditions. This isn’t our usual Zest episode. This is a special conversation that feels like a warm hug. We promise, you won’t want to miss it.
This week, we’re bringing you something a bit different. Collards After Dark is an intimate evening of food and conversation that precedes the annual Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival.
At this year’s event, Dalia facilitated a discussion between Gabrielle E. W. Carter and Dr. LaDonna Butler about the healing power of African-American culinary traditions. We also discussed seed-keeping as a form of resistance, the ritual of drinking potlikker and much more.
Ms. Carter is a cultural preservationist and co-founder of Tall Grass Food Box. It’s a community-supported agriculture model that sources produce from Black farmers in her home state of North Carolina. She also hosts community meals on her family’s homestead in Apex, N.C. You may have seen in the Netflix docuseries High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America.
Dr. Butler is founder and executive director of The Well for Life, a St. Petersburg space dedicated to mental wellness and self-care. She’s also a therapist and licensed mental health counselor.
The event was recorded on the evening of Feb. 18, 2022, in the garden of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg, before a diverse audience. The evening began with a screening of The Seeds We Keep, Carter’s short film about seed preservation and African-American land ownership.