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Gerry Warren founded the Seattle’s Slow Food chapter in 1997 and is a chapter board member and the Slow Food State Governor of Washington. Professionally, Gerry is a retired Clinical Professor in Rehabilitation Medicine and Bioengineering at the University of Washington Medical School. He and his wife Diane organic garden, enjoy cooking, and have been making wine for 45 years.  Gerry spoke with us about how he has championed for the Ark of Taste and Presidia since their inception in 1997 – read the full interview below. 

Slow Food USA: How long have you been a Slow Food member?
Gerry: Since 1997.

What inspired you to decide to become a member?
I was fascinated initially by the ingenuity and romance associated with Slow Food’s mission. At that time, it was rather unique and “farm to table” was a new concept back then. It was very entrepreneurial, and for someone who considers himself entrepreneurial, as well, it seemed like a great opportunity to maximize the potential for resources.

What does Slow Food mean to you?
The niche I found most exciting of the Slow Food initiatives, was biodiversity and the Ark of Taste (for which Gerry was reconigzed as a Slow Food Snail Blazer at Slow Food Nations this summer in Denver). I have great respect for farmers and fishers and chefs as they work so hard to maximize the potential of what they have available. Being on the west coast in Washington, I’m very interested in sustainable fishing and seafood. I get behind a lot of those initiatives.  For example, I’ve been working on the blockage of the proposed Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay that could devastate of a river that produces 50% of the sockeye salmon harvested in the world.

I stand behind everything Slow Food stands for. Like politics, SF thrives on being local. Most importantly is the communality that comes from gathering behind the mission of Slow Food. The mission is evolving to become more universal in our country, and potentially can assist the relationship between urban and rural.

How do you engage Slow Food members in your community?
I tell them stories about the Ark of Taste and presidia. They are two of the pillars of Slow Food, and something that is completely unique to this movement that people are intrigued by.

How do you help people feel connected to Slow Food?
Invite them to dinner and bring them to an experience that allows them to connect with likeminded people.

What are you growing in your garden right now?
Makala Potatoes, something I want to submit to the Ark of Taste, Pellegrini Beans, Flat of Egypt Beets and Hubbard squash. 

Try this Ark of Taste recipe, inspired by Gerry: Makah Ozette Potato – Crispy, Pan-Fried Potatoes with Lemony Dipping Sauce