REMAKING A MOVEMENT
2021 ANNUAL REPORT
Last year was a challenging year for the Slow Food network. With COVID still severely limiting in-person gatherings, and many volunteer leaders in transition with jobs and families, 2021 was a year of evaluation, new relationship building and asking tough questions. It was a year of remaking our movement.
My primary guiding question for last year was, “How do we continue to decentralize power, create collaborative and participatory models with the network, and center equity in everything we do?” After the public statements in support of racial justice in 2020, we are determined to make joy and justice a daily practice that embeds equity and access into all of our work.
Throughout this Annual Report, you will see that our chapters are also making joy + justice a daily practice in their communities. Five streams of activity flow together into a powerful and intersectional look at the Slow Food movement across the United States: Embracing racial equity and justice, nourishing cultural and biological diversity, increasing access to food and nutrition, mobilizing people and communities, and advancing policies that transform food systems.
Thank you for your partnership with Slow Food last year through your generous donations, your time and your knowledge! As we begin to emerge from the global pandemic, we invite you to reconnect with your local chapters, to recommit to joy + justice in your daily life, and to remake this movement with us.
Anna Mulè, Executive Director
explore the report
EMBRACING RACIAL EQUITY AND JUSTICE
Slow Food USA is dedicated to the development of an equitable, just, and healthy local food system that truly works for all of us. We recognize that injustices are rooted in race, class and gender disparities and work to end oppression and white supremacy in food systems and beyond.
NATIONAL OFFICE ACTIONS IN 2021
SFUSA deepened its commitment to embracing racial justice and joy for all in 2021 through hiring an equity, inclusion and justice strategist and transforming our mission, vision and purpose statements to center the pursuit of joy and justice in our work.
SFUSA launched a campaign in September to welcome new members to the Slow Food table and articulate our position on food justice and equity through a series of essays.
A team of volunteer leaders and staff also overhauled the National Statute and developed a Code of Conduct that gives a baseline community standard for how we create safe spaces within our communities.
Slow Food Columbus hosted a lecture series in winter 2021 on equity, inclusion and justice called “Adaptation and Resilience: Food, Food Security, and Food Systems in and outside of central Ohio.”
Slow Food Minnesota produced a documentary focused on sharing the stories of people in the Twin Cities region who have historically been prevented from accessing arable land, been removed from or exploited in foodways and had intergenerational agricultural knowledge ignored or erased. The film focuses on these stories to reintroduce them into the mainstream cultural narrative about who grows our food.
Slow Food Portland hosted an International Women’s Day panel discussion that featured Native American farmers and seed savers.
Slow Food Prescott wrote an opening acknowledgement statement, connected with local Indigenous tribes and the Museum of Indigenous People, and partnered with an LGBTQ+ community organization.
NOURISHING CULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
The amazing diversity of plants, animals and foods is preserved and enhanced within cultures and families, and so we put people and relationships at the core of our biodiversity work. Our aim is to create equity and access within Slow Food by building a network of trust, honor and respect, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s culinary traditions that have been intentionally co-opted, colonized and otherwise disrespected.
NATIONAL OFFICE ACTIONS IN 2021
SFUSA deepened relationships with Slow Food Turtle Island Association (the Indigenous-led entity) through winning a grant to support Native American / American Indian farmers, and through an ongoing partnership with SFTIA and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) that culminated in a vibrant virtual event, Co-Producers Unite!.
In the fifth year of SFUSA’s Plant a Seed campaign, 250 growing kits containing Ark of Taste seeds were donated to school gardens, and 325 individual gardeners purchased kits for home use. Share a Seed piloted in Washington, D.C. and hosted community seed exchanges.
SFUSA hosted its first Slow Seed Summit in March 2021. This six-day virtual symposium featured 55 speakers discussing seed sovereignty, preservation and other central topics in the world of seeds. 340 people attended the summit, which was reprised in spring 2022.
The Ark of Taste national committee conducted a major review and update of entries, and collaboration with the Cooks’ Alliance began for a producers matrix.
Slow Food Charleston nourished a project to grow out the Lemon Cling Peach Project, an Ark of Taste heirloom peach, in partnership with the MUSC Urban Farm.
Slow Food Denver hosted a seed saving event with Spirit of the Sun and Ekar farm, teaching the community about seed saving practices from Indigenous communities, and the importance of seed saving in our society to ensure biological diversity.
Slow Food DC connected with mutual aid groups, farmers’ markets, and community gardens around the city as part of the Share a Seed program. The efforts helped collect extra seeds and garden supplies and redistribute them to others.
Slow Food Wallowas’ producer grant program has continuously grown over the past five years. They provided one grant in 2021 for $3,000 and then fundraised to create a $5,000 grant application released in November 2021.
Slow Food Seattle arranged for planting, growing and purchase of seeds of the Makah Ozette Potato, an Ark of Taste product. The potato seeds were sold (without profit) to community growers and donated to Indigenous organizations and farmers.
Increasing access to food and nutrition
Slow Food USA chapters responded to families and communities facing economic burdens and food apartheid across the country. Access to local, affordable and healthy food is an ongoing issue that was aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to be one of the most critical issues facing our country.
Slow Food NYC harvested nearly 1,000 pounds of farm-fresh vegetables through their Urban Harvest Farm at Ujima and distributed it themselves and with partner organizations like Coretta Scott-King Senior Housing Facility and a mutual-aid fridge at Universe City.
Slow Food North Shore (New Jersey) restored a garden at Volunteers in Medicine (VIM), a volunteer-based free clinic. Now, vegetables are given to clients and the garden is incorporated into their counseling on nutrition.
Slow Food Lake Tahoe’s Food Bank Garden produced nearly 400 pounds of fresh, organic produce in 2021. Those vegetables are then distributed through local partner Sierra Community House.
Slow Food Springfield (IL) partnered with local nonprofit Compass for Kids on a program called Meals That Matter, which worked with local restaurants to prepare meals for under-served families.
Slow Food Upstate (Greenville, SC) provided Ark of Taste foods, recipes and stories to SNAP-Ed and Clemson Free Clinic clients.
Educating, inspiring and mobilizing people
We understand the world best when we hear, taste, see, and embrace the world around us. It is through this lens that we celebrate the joy and pleasure of connecting with and around food. Our approach to creating educational events, advocacy campaigns and training tools is rooted in relational learning, in which each of us is simultaneously student and teacher. We create intentional space in our in-person and virtual gatherings to learn from chefs, policy experts, historians, farmers, food professionals and storytellers.
NATIONAL OFFICE ACTIONS IN 2021
Our Slow Food Live series featured 19 panel discussions and workshops that engaged thousands of attendees and revealed the many facets of our movement toward good, clean and fair food for all.
The Snail of Approval program in the US expanded from 16 individual chapter initiatives into a national network of 345 businesses, all displayed in an interactive map and governed by a unified set of criteria centered on sourcing, environmental impact, cultural connection, community involvement, staff support, and business values.
Slow Food Greater Olympia partnered with The Evergreen State College to highlight the stories of past and present regional farmers who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. This event culminated in a virtual gathering where students trained by one of our members in the art of oral history read aloud the stories they wrote about these farmers.
Lil’ Sprouts is Slow Food Denver’s K-5 enrichment program that teaches children the entire seed-to-plate process. They use a learner driven approach that inspires students to develop healthy, lifelong eating habits by making the connection between where food comes from and how it is prepared.
Slow Food O’ahu sponsored and promoted foraging tours on the island. As an outside activity, this was one of the few events they felt comfortable hosting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Slow Food St. Louis started a virtual fundraising campaign called Slow Food U, a monthly virtual speaker series showcasing the work of local farmers, makers and chefs.
Advancing policies that transform food systems
We must go beyond focusing on the role of individual choices, and advocate for the world we want to live in through collective action. Slow Food USA engages both the public and private sectors to discover how we can build a better future. We collaborate with other organizations and voices in order to defend those most adversely affected by the industrial food system. We activate our network to connect with legislators, corporations and communities to advocate for real, meaningful change.
NATIONAL OFFICE ACTIONS IN 2021
We collaborated with organizations across the food justice spectrum to host The People’s Kitchen Counter-Mobilization: Food System Take-Back, a half-day protest against the UN Food System Summit in September 2021. The virtual event garnered more than 250 attendees and has been viewed thousands of times.
Slow Food Memphis continues efforts to double the value of EBT dollars spent at the local farmers’ market. This lowers the barrier to fresh, local produce and goods for community members going through economic hardship.
Through Slow Food Phoenix’s advocacy platform, they focus on healthy food in schools and continue their work with Blue Watermelon Project, Pinnacle Prevention and the AZ Food Action Plan.
Slow Food Vegas advocated for Nevada Assembly Bill 138. This bill removed barriers to SNAP benefits for those convicted of drug offenses.
by the numbers
plant a seed kits donated to school gardens
chapter in-person events
snail of approval awardees
chapter virtual events
slow seed summit attendees
chapter leaders and volunteers
people impacted by chapter programs
Unaudited financials from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021. Hover over charts for more information.
Total revenue: $942,228
Corporate sponsorships: $31,724
Program Fees: $9,974
Total expenses: $586,137
MEET OUR MEMBERS AND DONORS
Colehour Bondera, member
“Slow Food is a means to stand together and demonstrate that we are all in this Ark together and that we must pull our weight and support one another through the calmness and through the storms that happen over time. We must learn from the storms of the past about how to be more effective for the future. We must hold hands with our neighbors and share the responsibilities of maintaining our Ark.”
Robert Tod Chubrich, Donor
“I’ve been a longtime supporter of Slow Food USA because it shows us how our ecological and cultural heritage are inseparable and essential, and how good taste is the surest guide to sustainability and the key to conserving agricultural biodiversity. Slow Food’s insistence on the right to pleasure sets it apart from other organizations and inspires us all to create a fairer, more delicious world together.”
Jileen Russell, Donor
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Slow Food USA national team with Board co-chairs at a November 2021 retreat in New York.
We’re deeply grateful for the many contributions our board of directors and national office staff make to the national and international movement toward good, clean and fair food for all!
Board of Directors
National office team
Giselle Kennedy Lord
Joined in 2021
Left in 2021