Featured Library: Birmingham Public Library

This month we’re highlighting Birmingham (Ala.) Public Library’s upcoming Eat Drink Read Write Festival. Designed to “feed the mind, body, and soul,” the festival will bring “food, culinary arts, and literature to the table in a format that will help foster community in a diverse city [and] increase awareness of food-related concerns in our community by exploring them from a variety of perspectives.” Here’s a rundown of the planned events:

  • The Foodies Book Club will host a discussion of Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit led by the book’s author, investigative food journalist Barry Estabrook. In addition, chef Frank Stitt, three-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation Chef of the Year, will discuss the different varieties of tomatoes and share tomato-based dishes.

  • A brown bag program will offer pie samples from PieLab, a cafe, design studio, and civic meeting place in rural Greensboro that was developed to bring the community together through pie and conversation.

  • Modeled after NPR’s “The Moth” program, Food Stories will feature local storytellers, who will each have five minutes to tell a true, food-related story in the first person. The event includes free refreshments and a cash bar.

  • A montage of short, food-related films by Joe York, filmmaker for the University of Mississippi Center for Documentary Projects, will be screened. In partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance, York has created films on such topics as Southern artisanal cheese producers and Vietnamese fishermen’s journey to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. Refreshments will be provided.

  • Bards & Brews, a monthly poetry slam and beer tasting, will feature winners of previous Bards & Brews events. The event will also include information on craft beers, with beer samples and other refreshments available.

  • Informal food writing workshops with DISCO, a nonprofit that offers creative writing programs for kids, will be held for children and adults, while BPL librarians hold food-related craft activities for kids.

  • “At the Table with Robyn O’Brien and Michael Nolan” will feature a discussion between O’Brien, author of Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It and founder of the Allergy Kids Foundation, and Nolan, aka “The Garden Rockstar” and co-author of I Garden—Urban Style. Refreshments will be provided.

The four-day festival launches on September 13.