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Slow Food Leader Summit

September 2020

Thank you for making our first ever Virtual Leader Summit a success!

This year, we are bringing the Leader Summit to you! A network committee has put together a dynamic lineup in September for you to build skills and connect with one another. Our goals are to 1) provide hands-on tools for leadership development for chapters, national working groups and communities in the SFUSA network; 2) deepen our commitment to and understanding of equity, inclusion and justice; and 3) present sessions that are grounded in the needs of the Slow Food network.

We have four themes:

  • Programming: sessions on the Ark of Taste, Snail of Approval, advocacy, and more.
  • Board and leader engagement: tips and best practices for how to attract and retain fabulous and diverse leaders.
  • Grassroots fundraising: from membership to grant writing, we’ll focus on how to raise money to support your amazing work.
  • Public relations and communications: sessions on digital storytelling, crafting the Slow Food voice, and working with the media.

Each week will feature a mix of panels, interactive workshops and informal happy hours so we can raise a toast and get to know each other.

Summit Schedule

Week one

Sept 1 @ 6pm EDT

State of the Snail

Kick off the Slow Food Leader Summit with a high-level look at Slow Food in America. Executive director Anna Mulé will talk about national strategy, the future of events, the new community model, and how to integrate equity, inclusion and justice into everything we do. You’ll also hear from communications director Giselle Kennedy Lord and network engagement director Felix Wai. We’ll leave plenty of time for questions before mixologist Danny Childs shows us how to whip up a special Slow Food cocktail so we can raise a toast together to our first-ever virtual Leader Summit!

With Anna Mulé, Felix Wai, Giselle Kennedy Lord, Danny Childs

Sept 2 @ 6pm EDT

Centering Equity, Inclusion and Justice

Join three of the key authors of the Slow Food Equity, Inclusion and Justice Manifesto to understand the history of how and why the manifesto was created, deepen your understanding of its meaning, and to connect in breakout groups to workshop your own chapter’s action steps.

With Jovan Sage, Jim Embry and Denisa Livingston

Sept 3 @ 6pm EDT

Formal and Flexible Leadership Teams

Maintaining an effective, healthy leadership team is a universal challenge for Slow Food chapters. In this panel discussion, we are bringing together 3 leaders with plenty of experience in building great leadershiop teams. These leaders will discuss what practices, policies, and processes they have in place that are critical for both effective leadership and sustaining a healthy leadership team. They will also discuss how they handle conflict.

75 minutes+

With: Marilyn Noble, Arizona Slow Food governor
Mara Welton, Slow Food Vermont board member, former Slow Food Vermont chair, Northeast regional lead
Julie Diaz, Education Chair, Slow Food Urban San Diego board member

Sept 4 @ 6pm EDT

This is Slow Food: Communicating Our Mission

How do you answer the question, ‘What is Slow Food?’ In this panel, we’ll discuss how we present and talk about what Slow Food is, what we do and why it’s important. Panelists Sara ElSayed and Carrie Larson will discuss communicating the mission both from a broader international perspective and a localized point of view. Giselle will discuss the visual identity of Slow Food and the importance and logistics of keeping it consistent, as well as how our presentation of Slow Food’s mission impacts engagement and support. We’ll work in groups to develop your elevator pitch and brainstorm the overall presentation of the Slow Food message and mission for your chapter.

With: Sara ElSayed, Carrie Larson, Giselle Kennedy Lord

Week Two

Sept 8 @ 2pm EDT

SFUSA Office Hours

Open office hours focused on financial management, how to make a budget, IRS filing, and more. Office hours are conducted as a general Q&A session, so get your budgets our and have your questions ready!

With Felix Wai, Slow Food USA Network Engagement Director

Sept 8 @ 6pm EDT

Sustainability in fundraising: How to attract and retain members and donors

The key to creating a sustainable, robust, and secure fundraising program is to attract and retain individual donor, members, and volunteers. Consistent and patient stewardship of these individuals is the key to success. This requires excellent data management and consistent processes for communicating with constituents. In this workshop, you’ll learn how a strong individual fundraising program is critical for a healthy organization, discuss the importance of a culture of philanthropy, and get tips for processes and tools required for fundraising success.

With Rick Eaton

Sept 9 @ 6pm EDT

Advocacy Beyond the Fork

The Slow Food USA Food and Farm Policy Committee will lead us in a participative, advocacy skills-building session focused on how grassroots advocacy can lead to positive outcomes and three immediate policy challenges. Our panel will discuss food and farm immigrant labor justice, the effects of aquaculture commodities on community and tribal-based fisheries, and agricultural resilience in climate change. We’ll work in groups led by the panelists to analyze issues and frame effective advocacy positions.

with: Reana Kovalcik, Slow Food DC & SE Regional Coordinator
Kevin Scribner, Slow Fish
Caitlin Balagula, SLow Food Policy Fellow
Vanessa Garcia Polanco, Federal Policy Associate, National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC)
Rosanna Maria Neal, Policy Counsel, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA)
Adam Zipkin, Office of U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Sept 10 @ 6pm EDT

The COVID Pivot: Events to Action

Slow Food chapters have pivoted from in-person events to a focus on action, leveraging Slow Food’s renewed commitment to equity, inclusion and justice to help their communities navigate this crisis. We’re bringing a few of these chapter leaders together to share reflections on their process and how others can do the same.

The National Resilience Fund has supported some of the projects that have emerged in community food hubs and alongside local chapters — inspiring projects that bring together youth, farmers, chefs, and community to address the systemic weaknesses in our food system laid bare by the COVID pandemic, issues that Slow Food has been advocating to change since 1989.

with: Willow Blish, Slow Food East Bay
Chef Phil Jones, Slow Food Detroit
Amanda Vanhoozier, Slow Food Dallas Fort Worth
Moderator: Seth Brammer

Sept 11 @ 8pm EDT

Film Screening of Gather: The Fight to Revitalize Native Food Ways, with Q&A Panel

GATHER follows Native Americans on the frontlines of the growing movement to reconnect with spiritual and cultural identities devastated by genocide. An indigenous Apache chef embarks on an ambitious project to build a cafe on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, serving traditional foods lost to time; in South Dakota, a gifted high school student, raised on a buffalo ranch on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, is proving her tribe’s native wisdom through her passion for science; and a group of young men from the Yurok Nation in Northern California fights to keep their culture alive and rehabilitate the habitat of their sacred salmon. All these stories combine to show how the recovery of ancient foodways marks a path forward for Native Americans to bring back health and vitality to their people.

Watch the film anytime (look out for an e-mail with the password!), then join us on Zoom for a panel discussion with filmmaker Sanjay Rawal, executive producer A-dae Romero Briones (Cochiti/Kiowa), and Indigenous chef Hillel Echo-hawk.

September 12

Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) Future Food Leader Training

Week Three

Sept 14 @ 6pm EDT

Tips and tricks for finding and applying for the best grant opportunities

Learn from professionals how to find the best grant funding opportunities, and how to get your applications noticed so that applying is worth your time.

Emily Sanders, ZIM Consulting Director of Grant Research, and Rebecca Conway, ZIM Consulting Director of Grants

Sept 14 @ 8pm EDT

Resiliency Gardens & Online Adventures: A Pivot Story

Lauren Maples and her team from PEAs in ATX will share the creative ways that they have pivoted with their school garden program. They are working on Resiliency Gardens and Online Adventures for their students. Find out what the new year will bring for their organization in the time of COVID.

with Lauren Maples, founder and educator of PEAS

Sept 15 @ 2pm EDT

SFUSA Office Hours

Open office hours focused on membership, fundraising and donors. Office hours are conducted as a general Q&A session, so get your notes out and have your questions ready!

With Anna Mulé, Slow Food USA Executive Director

Sept 15 @ 6pm EDT

International Slow Food Relationships and Strategy

Every few years, Slow Food delegates from around the world participate in the International Council, a critical event in shaping the direction of Slow Food International. Denisa Livingston, Jennifer Breckner, Kathryn Underwood and Tiffany Nurrenberg will share key strategies from these meetings and help all of us connect with people at work doing amazing things with Slow Food. They will focus on the Chengdu Declaration and help us align with Slow Food’s future.

with Jennifer Breckner, Denisa Livingston, Tiffany Nurrenbern, Kathryn Underwood

Sept 16 @ 6pm EDT

Ark of Taste: Nominating At-Risk Foods

This event will start you on your journey to document and advocate for preserving at risk local food biodiversity. Your first step is writing a nomination, and that’s open to the public. The national Ark of Taste committee welcomes local community members to work with them, and is there to assist you on your journey through the protocols, and the research that’s needed. We are biodiversity — when we preserve it, we preserve ourselves.

with Jeff Quattrone and Mimi Edelman

Sept 17 @ 6pm EDT

Building Diverse Leadership

Diversity is reality. Waking up to this realization is but the first step to not only demonstrating how we value diversity but how we’re willing to adapt to it. Cultural competence is key to cultivating an atmosphere where all are welcome, heard and empowered to lead. During this session, we’ll explore five steps along an action continuum and evaluate our readiness to invite in diverse populations and perspectives.

With Dan Mueller, California Project Developer and Slow Food USA Leader Summit Lead

Sept 18 @ 6pm EDT

The Slow Food Community Model

Slow Food Communities are an alternative organizing model to chapters. They have been activated and adapted around the world, but not widely implemented here in the US. In this session, we’ll walk through what a Slow Food community is and how it differs from a chapters, as well as the benefits and expectations for communities and why they matter to our network. Bring your questions!

with Felix Wai, Slow Food USA network engagement manager and TBA Slow Food USA community lead

Week Four

Sept 21 @ 6pm EDT

How to Build Successful Sponsorships

Building sponsorships for Slow Food starts with developing relationships with aligned businesses and creating compelling appeals. Join a conversation with a group of talented Slow Food fundraisers about the process of sponsorships — how to solicit sponsors, how to make decisions on who to accept money from, how to create a pitch deck, and how to make this a sustainable process with your board. This will be an interactive conversation, so we can learn from each other. Bring your ideas!

with Chelsea Huson is chair of Slow Food Chicago
Pennie Schwartz is chair of Slow Food East End
Scott Steen is ED of Slow Food in the Tetons
Jen Casey has been governor of WI and is ED of the Fondy Market

Sept 22 @ 2pm EDT

SFUSA Office Hours

Open office hours focused on programming and project brainstorming. Office hours are conducted as a general Q&A session, so get your notes out and have your questions ready!

With Dan Mueller, California Project Developer and Slow Food USA Leader Summit Lead
Chanowk Yisrael, California Project Developer

Sept 22 @ 6pm EDT

Programming Ideas Fair

There are so many amazing projects happening all the time in our national network of Slow Food chapters and advocates! This panel is dedicated to celebrating and sharing some of these stellar initiatives. Our panelists will discuss why they started their projects, challenges they have overcome or are still overcoming, and plans for the future. We hope for this to be a lively ideas fair where sharing experiences will inspire participants and plant the seeds for more action ahead!

with: Colles Stowell, Slow FishNorth America – Slow Fish Crew Together Webinars
Beth Gates and/or Madi Taylor, Slow Food Portland – Market Scouts
Sara Jean Whelan, Slow Food Vermont – Disco Soup
Charlene Badman, Slow Food Phoenix – Blue Watermelon Project
Carrie Larson, Slow Food Charleston – Ark of Taste Dinners

Sept 23 @ 6pm EDT

Communications Strategy: Content, Marketing and Media

The brass tacks of communications can be really overwhelming, but even a little strategy goes a very long way! Jana Kopp of Swell Collaborative will present on communications strategy, marketing and working with the media as it all relates to Slow Food and localized work. This is a great opportunity to develop a communications strategy for your chapter, working group or community, or dive deep into your existing communications strategy.

with Jana Kopp of the Swell Co-Lab, in conversation with Giselle Kennedy Lord, Slow Food USA communications director

Sept 24 @ 6pm EDT

Looking at The Ark of Taste Through Two Lenses

Join us as a panel of Ark of Taste advocates discuss the AOT from cultural and historical perspectives, and find out what is happening with these treasures as we explore this new world with COVID-19. From their nutritional value versus commercial crops to navigating a perilous supply chain, even under normal circumstances, find out how you can lift AOT ingredients for the benefit of people, planet, and profit.

With: Chef Kevin Mitchell
Historian David Shields
Mixologist Danny Childs
Grower Mimi Edelman

Sept 25 @ 6pm EDT

Knowing and Growing the Snail of Approval program

In true grassroots fashion, Slow Food chapters conceived of a incredible program — the Snail of Approval — that recognizes farmers, chefs, and business owners pursuing sustainable food systems and practices. Join the national office and chapter leaders as they discuss Snail of Approval in the COVID era, as well as upcoming new resources to help unite participating chapters and guide new chapters who want to start their own program.

With: Tyson-Stoehr, Slow Food East End
Carol Diaz, Slow Food Russian River
Slow Food Sonoma County North Joint Venture
Alison Macbeth, Slow Food USA

Week Five

Sept 28 @ 6pm EDT

Digital Content and Virtual Programming

A workshop-style session covering the where, when, why and how of digital media and virtual programming. We’ll look at the social media landscape and discuss best platforms and practices for different Slow Food USA chapters and communities. Giselle will lead a training on how to manage and host virtual programming á la Slow Food Live. We’ll hear from Alexander Craig of Slow Food NYC and Seth Brammer of Slow Food Dallas Fort Worth on their approach, success and challenges with digital media and virtual programming, respectively. Q&A session to end.

with Alexander Craig of Slow Food NYC, Seth Brammer of Slow Food Dallas Fort Worth, and Giselle Kennedy Lord of Slow Food USA

Sept 29 @ 2pm EDT

SFUSA Office Hours

Open office hours focused on digital platforms, social media, content creation, storytelling, and virtual programming. Office hours are conducted as a general Q&A session, so open up those dashboards and have your questions ready!

With Giselle Kennedy Lord, Slow Food USA communications director

Sept 29 @ 7pm EDT

Enriching the Slow Food leader experience

Join Slow Food Urban San Diego for a dialogue on what it means to be a part of the Slow Food movement. Let’s dive in as we create shared meanings and cultivate a unique understanding of how we all play a part in upholding the “Good, Clean & Fair” ethos.

with Dan Mueller and Rachel Hommel, Slow Food Urban San Diego

Sept 30 @ 6pm EDT

School Garden Leader Pivot Party

A happy hour of school garden leaders in the network to share ideas, plans, frustrations and a drink and snack. Focus will be on regrouping in the time of COVID. Breakout sessions and discussion topics to be included.

Sept 30 @ 7:30pm EDT

You Say Tomato 
Dinner Party
& Summit Closing!

“You Say” Dinners are an exercise in diversity. Many chapters are faced with a membership that lacks diversity where diversity should not be an issue, so this is a tool that intentionally seeks to engage BIPOC, LGBTQ and other generally underrepresented members of our communities, allowing them to share their food stories. These dinners can also be unique fundraisers with food justice and cultural awareness at their core.

With Phil Jones, Slow Food Detroit



We are offering some assistance to cover registration to the Slow Food Leader Summit on a need basis. Apply for a scholarship here.

In order to qualify, you must:

  • Plan to attend a majority of the Slow Food Leader Summit events.
  • Be unable to receive support from your local chapter or other funder.
  • Submit the form below by August 25, 2020.

Priority will be given to students/youth, Black, Indigenous or People of Color, and Slow Food Leader Summit participants. Other factors will include geographic representation and diversity of representation throughout the network.

The Zoom App

You will need Zoom installed on your computer to participate in the Leader Summit sessions. Download the app from the link below!