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Eleanor Bertino 415/310-1953
Kelly Gibson 312/320-7116 OR
Contact Joshua Viertel directly: 203/410-6506

August 25, 2008


NEW YORK, NY?The Board of Directors of Slow Food USA today named Joshua Viertel as its first President. The newly created position is intended to bolster strategic and capacity-building leadership within the eight-year-old organization at a critical juncture in its evolution.

Mr. Viertel has made significant contributions to the sustainable food movement in the past as a teacher, farmer, and activist, and, for the past 6 years, as a co-founder and co-director of the Yale Sustainable Food Project. At Yale, Viertel oversaw the University’s transition to a local sustainable food program, created and managed an organic farm on campus, and built educational and academic programming around food and agriculture. Under his leadership, the Yale Sustainable Food Project has earned a reputation as a leader in the national and international sustainable food movement.

Viertel graduated from Harvard University with a degree in philosophy and literature. Before joining Yale, he worked as a teacher and as an organic farmer. For the past year, he has served on the Board of Directors of Slow Food USA and its subsidiary organization, Slow Food Nation.

As a board member Viertel spearheaded an effort to increase Slow Food’s work with youth and student activists in the sustainable food movement. He was instrumental in creating youth delegations at Slow Food’s 2007 International Congress in Puebla, Mexico, as well as at upcoming Slow Food Nation, and Terra Madre 2008.

?Food is a common language and a universal right. Good, clean, fair food can no longer be considered a privilege; we must acknowledge it as a right,? stated Viertel.

?Our work begins in a world where that right isn’t recognized, and can only end when everyone?particularly the people who are hurt most by our current food system?can have access to food that is good for them, good for the planet, and good for the people who grow it. The sustainable food movement today is diverse, vibrant and powerful. I am committed to finding the best possible way for Slow Food’s local chapters, its members, and its programs to serve, to galvanize and to further this movement.?

?Josh’s appointment and the creation of the position of President herald a critical time in our organization’s growth,? said Allen Katz, chairman of the board of Slow Food USA. ?As a dynamic and visionary leader who not only embodies the ideals of Slow Food, but also a skilled communicator and accomplished manager, Josh will work to strengthen existing relationships and forge new partnerships as Slow Food USA works to create a good, clean, fair food system.?

The selection of Mr. Viertel will allow Slow Food USA to channel the increased awareness and interest the organization will likely garner via its event Slow Food Nation, which will be held in San Francisco over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Slow Food Nation will be the largest event celebrating good, clean, fair food in America’s history; it will include a marketplace, workshops, teach-ins, eat-ins, dinners, talks, forums, films, and a music festival all geared to engage participants in the sustainable food movement and Slow Food’s work.

Mr. Katz added, ?We’re confident that, given Josh’s track record, he’ll be able to inspire and serve the increasingly diverse and active constituency of members, leaders, partners and other stakeholders who are part of the sustainable food movement and Slow Food.?

Slow Food USA formed a special task force among its Board of Directors to define the duties and goals of the President and conducted a national search over the course of a five-month process. More than 90 candidates from across the United States were considered. Mr. Viertel will take office on October 15, 2008, and will work closely with Slow Food USA’s Executive Director, Erika Lesser, and its Board of Directors to assure a smooth transition.

ABOUT SLOW FOOD USA: Slow Food USA is a non-profit working nationally and globally to create a just, sustainable food system. With 200 chapters and more than 16,000 members in the United States, Slow Food USA is part of a larger international network with 85,000 members in 130 countries. Through its chapters and its offices in New York City, Slow Food USA runs programs to promote Slow Food in schools, increase the security and diversity of our current food system through market-based change, and create national food policy that is conducive to a good, clean and fair food system.

Slow Food is guided by the belief that pleasure and responsibility are deeply linked, and that the act of gathering at the table and being connected to our place through shared work and shared food can inform us ecologically, socially, economically and politically.