Ashley Epling has been a part of the Appalachian Food Storybank project since its beginning in 2010, and participates on the Board of Directors for Slow Food Asheville. She and her husband live in Horse Shoe, NC, homesteading with their sheep, chickens, bees, orchard and gardens. Ashley’s favorite heritage foods are biscuits and cherokee purple tomatoes.
Susannah Gebhart, owner of OWL Bakery in Asheville and founder of the Appalachian Food Storybank, is passionate about food and food culture as an entryway to understanding the places in which we live. She is a story-gatherer, tango dancer, and gardener. Susannah’s favorite heritage foods are stack cakes and persimmons.
Barbara Swell is a story-catcher for the Appalachian Food Storybank as well as a world traveler, author, mother, pie-baker and wood-fire cookstove aficionado. Barbara’s favorite heritage foods are candy roaster squash and beans.
Jennifer Thomas is a creative that brings design experience and a love of food, baking and cooking to the committee. Her favorite heritage foods are dried apples and cornbread.
Maia Surdam is a baker, historian, gardener, and educator. Maia earned a doctorate in U.S. History in Wisconsin, and has taught in college classrooms in the Midwest and, more recently, in Western North Carolina. These days, she spends most of her working hours at OWL Bakery in West Asheville. She loves food and its histories, and is interested in the stories of people who live off the land, past and present. Maia’s favorite heritage food of WNC is the butternut, which is fun to crack and tasty to eat.
Ariel Dixon grew up on a farm in Cabarrus County and she studied Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry at Warren Wilson College. Ariel works for Buncombe County Soil and Water as the Farmland Preservation Coordinator. Ariel lives with her partner in Mars Hill, NC on a 2-acre homestead, where they host farm dinners and workshops. Ariel plays old-time string band music and loves to square dance. Ariel’s favorite heritage foods include apple stack cakes and pork cracklins.
Peter Kent is a writer and audio producer looking for stories that capture culinary tastes, traditions and sense of place for the people who call this region home. The sounds of supper sizzling in a hot iron skillet and voices made musical in recalling memories of meals made and shared need preserving and celebrating. He is a volunteer editorial board member of Plough to Pantry magazine and an intrepid eater. Peter’s favorite heritage foods are cornbread and collards. Contact him at email@example.com or 828-423-0211.
The Appalachian Food Storybank seeks to acknowledge, honor, and archive Appalachian heritage food stories in order to preserve diverse local traditions, natural resources, heirloom varieties and breeds.