Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award
Each fall, the SFA, with support from the Fertel Foundation, honors an unsung hero or heroine, a foodways tradition bearer of note, with the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award.
We now pay homage in two ways: We commission a documentary film and we make a monetary contribution.
Our first documentary film, Saving Seeds, an homage to Kentucky bean and tomato farmer Bill Best, was a finalist for the Golden Snail award from Slow Food. And they’re getting better each year.
- 2011 Hardy Farms -- peanut farm in Hawkinsville, GA
- 2010 Peter Nguyen -- on behalf of Gulf Coast Vietnamese fishing communities, MS
- 2009 Geno Lee -- restaurant owner, Jackson, MS
- 2008 Earl Cruze -- dairy farmer, Knoxville, TN
- 2007 Elizabeth Scott -- tamale maker, Greenville, MS
- 2006 Tommy Ward -- oysterman, Apalachicola, FL
- 2005 Martin Sawyer -- bartender, New Orleans, LA
- 2004 Martha Hawkins -- restaurant owner, Montgomery, AL
- 2003 Bill Best -- bean and tomato farmer, Berea, KY
- 2002 James Willis -- pitmaster, Memphis, TN
- 2001 Ed Scott -- catfish farmer, Drew, MS
- 2000 J.C. Hardaway -- pitmaster, Memphis, TN
Original artwork by Amy C. Evans Streeter.