AFC Homegrown Foodways Film
El Camino del Pan a Baltimore chronicles the life of José Vargas, owner of a bakery and taqueria located in Highlandtown, a neighborhood in East Baltimore. Vargas migrated to Baltimore from Huaquechula, Mexico and decided to build on his family tradition of baking bread. José’s story began in Mexico with his family’s bakery, but after arriving in Baltimore he established a business selling Mexican fare using a pushcart stationed in Patterson Park. His first brick and mortar location was a bakery located in the Greektown neighborhood amidst a dwindling European immigrant community. With support from family and friends, he has since grown into a four-business enterprise—a bakery, taqueria, bar, and restaurant in Essex. Traditions of waking early to prepare the dough began with his grandfather and he has since used that knowledge to build his businesses in a changing neighborhood.
This is the first of two films in the 2023 Homegrown Foodways Film Series
Film #1: El Camino del Pan a Baltimore
Film #2: El Camino del Mole a New Orleans
The films are produced by Professor Sarah Fouts, Fernando Lopez, and Andy Dahl (see bios below). Together, the films ask the question: “How do immigrants use food cultures to shape space and place in these Southern cities?” From their work as street vendors to building community through their food traditions, José and Ivan have each taken unique approaches to carve their own niches in these urban places.
Dr. Sarah Fouts, Production Team
Dr. Sarah Fouts is an Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies and director of the Public Humanities Minor program at UMBC who is completing a book manuscript on the stories of Central American and Mexican food industry workers in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Andy Dahl, Production Team
Andy Dahl is a public artist, filmmaker and Manager of Neighborhood Programs at the Southeast Community Development Corporation. Andy came to Baltimore from New Orleans in 2012 to complete an MFA program from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Fernando Lopez, Production Team
Fernando Lopez is a Mexican-born cultural documentarian, organizer and interpreter who has helped organize and curate spaces dedicated to BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities across the US south for the last 10 years.