Alamo serves local eats at SXSW screening of 'Eating Alabama'
By Virginia B. Wood,
11:22PM, Fri. Mar. 16, 2012
On Thursday morning, theater C at the Alamo Drafthouse Lamar was packed for the 11:30am screening of Eating Alabama, filmmaker Andy Grace's documentary about this year-long efforts to eat only local food in his home state.
Grace introduced the film and recommended we try the Eating Alabama special dish from the Alamo brunch menu, which turned out to be a bowl of Boggy Creek Farm stone ground polenta topped with sauteed vegetables and a farm-fresh egg ($10). The crowd got a belly laugh from the inside joke in the trailer entitled How Not To Be Lame at SXSW 2012 and then we all settled in to enjoy the movie. Watching Andy and Rashmi Grace's challenging and often humorous search for local food in their home state reminded me of the birth of Austin's local food movement nearly twenty years ago. In the Q&A after the screening, Grace said that in the four years since he made the film, a few more farms and CSA's have sprouted in Alabama, but it appeared to me that they are still years behind Central Texas in the development of local food programs. Thanks to a pioneering group of couples who started organic farms in this area in the early Nineties, bringing farm stands, farmers' markets, and community supported agriculture programs along behind them, sourcing local food in Austin is now a regular weekly activity for thousands of people. And we're lucky enough to watch a film about the difficulties in sourcing local food in another state brought to us by a home-grown theater chain with locally-sourced dishes on the menu. That just might be my proudest moment at South by Southwest this year!