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By Michelle DiMuzio, Communications Coordinator

Every four years, the Slow Food USA community revisits its National Statute and makes revisions based on current needs. The current National Statute was ratified on Feb. 28, 2022. Click here to explore it.

What exactly is the National Statute? The National Statute contains a basic governance structure for Slow Food USA, and is in essence our “rulebook” — a document that organizational leaders can turn to for specific guidance. Changes to the National Statute can be proposed by Chapter Leaders, approved by the Board of Directors and Regional Governors, and ratified by Chapter Leaders at the National Congress.

What’s new with the National Statute? Read on for some high-level revisions.

One of the major changes you will witness in the statute is a shift in language from authority and power to collaboration and community-centered language. Examples that reflect these changes include governors being called regional councilors and working groups being called community action teams. We hope these changes cultivate a movement that represents connectors, mentors, and supporters versus people who govern. It also recognizes that chapters are the experts within their local arenas; proposed changes empower chapters to take ownership of their space. There is also a new section on conflict mediation for individuals. We are asking leaders to sign onto a Code of Conduct, and we outline a specific protocol to follow when that Code is breached.

The National Statue is the bedrock for our entire network, from chapters to community action teams, to regional councilors and national office staff. Therefore, throughout the process of making revisions, the National Statute team ensured they were not operating in a silo; to create this new document, they included the voices of various network members through a collaborative process. This was intentionally implemented to ensure the document was created through horizontal leadership, with every aspect being network-centered.