The Origin of the Film

The seeds were planted in May 1999 when Julie Kahn, a second generation Miamian, intrigued by Florida Crackers*, interested in Slow Food, and dismayed by the paving of Florida, decided to document a wild game feast in rural central Florida. As she began to trace the sources of game to wild boar, alligator and rattlesnake hunters, she discovered a near-secret community intimately connected with the disappearing primordial Florida landscape. She branched out from there when she realized the potential of the project not only to amplify the voice of an under-explored and often-stereotyped region, but also to address broader contemporary issues of conservation and community.

In 2002, Julie relocated to a derelict orange grove with funding from the Florida Humanities Council through the NEH to document Florida Crackers* and their disappearing connection to the land and the food chain. The first phase of the project, Swamp Cabbage: Cracker Culture in a Fast Food Nation, culminated in a multimedia exhibition and wild game tasting where families from all corners of Florida traveled to Miami to cook food they had harvested themselves from the wilderness such as: wild boar sausage chili, soft-shell turtle stew, quail in wine sauce, sour orange pie, and of course, swamp cabbage. Swamp Cabbage: a hot and sweaty documentary is the second phase of this 20+ year project.

*Note:  In Florida, “Cracker” is a term of pride referring to descendants of Florida pioneers known for their ability to survive in the treacherous Florida wilderness. It is unrelated to the slur meaning ignorant bigot.

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