The FatBack Collective is a group of chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, thinkers, writers and entrepreneurs who gather often to invest energy and intellect to forge stronger communities.

Founded by the original owner of the Jim ‘N Nicks chain of Barbeque restaurants, Nick Pihakis, the FatBack Collective includes Southern chefs such as Donald Link, John Currence, Ashley Christensen, Sean Brock, Pat Martin and Southern Foodways Alliance director John T. Edge.

These members became aware that small hog farming had either declined or even disappeared in much of the South’s agricultural landscape. This gave rise to discussions to determine the source of pigs that each member desired to use in their individual businesses. It was decided that it could not be just any animal, instead it had to be an animal that was all natural, raised humanely, and processed as close to the farm as possible. Old school breeds like Berkshire, Duroc, Yorkshire, and Mangalista are the pigs of choice.

Ultimately this heritage breed of livestock produces an animal known for its flavor, tenderness, fat marbling, a durability in certain climates, and a breed that fosters good mothering instincts in the sows. Starting first in Alabama, the FatBack Pig Project’s goal is to bring back small hog farming by recruiting new and existing farmers who want to grow hogs by their standards and processing those hogs at their abattoir in Eva, Alabama.

The FatBack Collective challenges the status quo, builds community, and supports farmers, artisans and progressive causes. Born in the South, FatBack has since expanded to include chefs, restaurateurs, thinkers, and entrepreneurs from beyond the region. All believe in the possibilities of heritage breed livestock, the farmers who humanely raise them, the cooks who coax flavor from them, and the celebrants who commune around them.

But the FatBack Collective holds several charitable events each year, raising valuable funds for very worthy causes.