National Resilience Fund
The current Covid-19 outbreak is presenting our food system with unprecedented challenges. Small-scale food producers are struggling to pivot to new distribution methods, chefs and restaurants are trying to maintain their delicate cash flow, and food security is a growing concern as more than 15 million people claim unemployment. Immediate action is needed to ensure that all workers in the local food chain — farmers, ranchers, fish-harvesters, chefs, advocates and laborers — continue to sustain the local economy, provide fresh and nutritious food to vulnerable communities and build resilience for future disasters.
Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, with initiatives that protect and promote economic, social and environmental sustainability. In the USA, over 100 volunteer-run local chapters are integrated into the local food economy, and groups like Slow Fish and Slow Food Turtle Island Association have deep relationships nationwide. This diffused and rooted network of farmers, producers, processors, chefs and educators are committed to taking care of our planet and keeping traditional techniques alive. They understand the unique needs of their communities during this pandemic.
We are creating the National Resilience Fund to give direct financial support to vital businesses and workers in community-based food systems, through local Slow Food chapters and groups. The fund is an investment in long-term biocultural diversity of our food chain. We know that COVID-19 is not the last crisis we will face; climate change is putting pressure on all links of the food chain. By injecting extra funds to local community initiatives that most need support now, we will help them survive the current crisis and build resilient economies and communities for the future, with good, clean and fair food front and center.
Who It Benefits and How We Prioritize
Participation will be available to Slow Food chapters and communities who are actively collaborating with farmers, ranchers, fish-harvesters, chefs and others who 1) prioritize food access to vulnerable communities, 2) play a pivotal role in the local community, 3) respect the Slow Food philosophy of good, clean and fair food, 4) are not able to get enough support from state or federal funds. We will prioritize chapter and partner efforts that support black, Indigenous, people of color and women. Decisions will be made by SFUSA staff in collaboration with regional coordinators and partners. The funds will be distributed directly from Slow Food USA to the chapters and key partners, to then distribute to their community.
As we listen to the network, it is clear that each region, each state and each community has vastly different needs. We cannot dictate a one-size-fits-all approach at the national level. Instead, we will rely on the producers, partners and Slow Food leaders to tell us what their community needs to build resilience. But the outcomes of this fund do share commonalities:
- A shortened supply chain between producers and consumers, creating diversified markets for long-term resilience, enabling direct sales to consumers, and improving livelihoods of local food workers.
- Improved nutrition and food security for households in vulnerable communities, with healthy and fresh food available instead of only shelf-stable foods from corporate chains.
- Retention of employees, creating stability for families in vulnerable sectors.
- Increased synergies between diverse stakeholders in the food chain, connecting tools and channels for direct selling, building partnerships between producers and local partners, and creating long-term robust local food economies.
Slow Food USA Executive Director
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