Their first stop is Alabama, and spent the day in Mobile and Bayou La Batre — the seafood capital of the state.
They had lunch with Dominick Ficarino, a fourth generation shrimper, and workers from the local fishing business right on the dock. They shared stories of their community’s perseverance through Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill five years later. They shared the challenges of low-priced foreign imports and not having enough workers to meet their labor needs.
One of the families we met were the Zirlotts — they run an oyster farm and are succeeding by using Facebook and Instagram to show their product directly to chefs. The fishing industry is more than a job to these folks — it’s their community and a way of life.
I’m looking at more of the world through the lens of building community these days. In Mobile, we joined a baptist church for services this morning and saw how the church provides an important social structure for the community. We saw a Mardi Gras parade and met folks at a bar who were part of a women’s organization that has created a float for the parade every year for decades. We met musicians in the local music community, and restauranteurs in the local culinary community.
We are all part of many communities. The strength of these local communities is what makes up our social fabric and that’s what enables us to come together as a global community as well.