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Snail of Approval

Good, clean and fair food in your neighborhood – and beyond!

The Slow Food Snail of Approval award is a recognition given to food and beverage establishments that are pursuing and practicing Slow Food values in their business:  restaurants, farms, ranches, fisheries, cafes, bars, food trucks, breweries, wineries, caterers, value-added food producers+

The Snail of Approval award is given by local chapters based on evaluations focused on the following six areas:

Sourcing

Environmental Impact

Cultural Connection

Community Involvement

Staff Support

Business Values

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The Goal

Slow Food recognizes the impact of vital food organizations and aims to create nationwide awareness of these producers and purveyors. The goal is to stimulate greater support for these important businesses— by eating, participating, volunteering, patronizing, donating, and spreading the word.

Always Local

The Slow Food Snail of Approval is grassroots initiative judged and administered on a local level. Members of Slow Food organize in their local communities to nominate and to give awards to local businesses. [Slow Food USA’s national office will not be an awarding body.]

Recognized Internationally

Mirroring both Europe and South America’s concept of ‘Slow Food restaurants,’ which gives patrons a sense of the landscape and labor that makes up their meal.  We envision an ever growing network of consumer, business and environment-friendly food operations. 

Apply for the snail of approval!

How to apply?

Step 1. Reach Out to Your Local Chapter
Slow Food Snail of Approval awards are given out by local chapters and communities. Check out the list of participating chapters below!

Step 2. Engage with your local chapter’s award process
Since our chapters span many different kinds of communities, all of which have different needs and abilities, the award requirements will vary across the country. Every chapter’s process is thorough but also designed to respect applicant’s busy schedule.  As a standard requirement nationally, every chapter’s process includes filling out the Eligibility Application. All awardees must pass the Eligibility Application.

Step 3. Receive the Snail of Approval Award from your local chapter!
Your local chapter will award you the Slow Food Snail of Approval- and also make sure you are included on the national map of awardees and take part in national marketing campaigns. This is in addition to the local awareness the chapter will bring.

Who should apply?

Any food business or organization that produces and/or offers food for public consumption and is pursuing and practicing Slow Food values of good, clean, fair food for all—restaurants, farms, ranches, fisheries, cafes, bars, food trucks, breweries, wineries, caterers, value-added food producers+

 

How are applicants reviewed?

The Snail of Approval is awarded locally by a Slow Food chapter, community or working group. Every local process includes passing the Snail of Approval Eligibility Application plus each local group’s requirements. All awardees will be recognized on the national level, including use of the official Slow Food Snail of Approval award mark, listing on the national awardee map and directory, and chance to be included on national and local marketing campaigns.

List of participating chapters who award

CA – Sonoma County

DC – Washington DC

FL – Gold and Treasure Coast

IL – Chicago

IL – Springfield

NJ – Northern New Jersey

NV – Las Vegas

NY – East End (Long Island)

NY – Hudson Valley

 

 

NY – New York City

OH – Cincinnati

TN – Middle Tennessee

TX – Dallas Fort Worth

UT- Utah

VT – Vermont

WY- In the Tetons

FAQs

WHAT IS THE SNAIL OF APPROVAL?

Snail of Approval is a recognition given to any food business/organization — restaurants, farms, cafes, bars, wineries, farmers markets, social enterprises — that are pursuing and practicing Slow Food values of good, clean, fair food for all. The Slow Food community aims to create nation wide awareness that recognizes the impact of vital food organizations. As a locally adjudicated but internationally recognized program, Snail of Approval is a powerful recognition. 

Unlike other food awards, Snail of Approval always awards locally and  through the lens of a sustainable food system. Applicants are evaluated on Sourcing, Environmental Impact , Cultural Connection, Community Involvement, Staff Support, and Business Values. We hope to celebrate the great achievements of local establishments as well as provide resources for them to continue their sustainability journey. The goal is to stimulate greater support for these important businesses—by eating, participating, volunteering, patronizing, donating, and spreading the word.

HOW IS SNAIL OF APPROVAL AWARDED?

This award is always be awarded locally by a Slow Food Chapter or community. In order to create a national standard, we have created a standardized national eligibility application. The minimum requirement to win the Snail of Approval award is to pass this eligibility application. From this point, each local chapter/group can add their own requirements– such as an interview, site visit, a vote by a panel, or additional questions. Or the local chapter/group can decide that passing the initial evaluation is enough!  Once the local Slow Food chapter or community decides to give the award, they will submit the awardee information to Slow Food USA to be included in the national directory of award winners.

HOW IS THE STANDARD EVALUATION APPLICATION SCORED?

We have borrowed the evaluating principles from B-Corp. The evaluation calls for a minimum score of 56 out of 128 points. While the minimum is a high standard for any food establishment, we realize that the road to sustainability is a journey and we want to partner with our awardees on increasing their scores every evaluation period.

That means, some of the questions are brownie points – scoring the applicants extra but not punishing those who aren’t quite there… yet! So each question is another opportunity to gain points, not a test meant to deduct points. 

HOW CAN I APPLY?

We are excited that you are interested in joining a network of like-minded food entities leading the fight for a sustainable food system. To apply, please refer to list of participating chapters and go to their website. On their webites, you will  learn about their awarding process and find a link to complete the Slow Food Snail of Approval Standard Eligibility Application.

WHAT IF THERE ISN’T A LOCAL SLOW FOOD CHAPTER WITH A PROGRAM?

Since Snail of Approval is a locally administered program, there must be a local chapter or community to give the award. 

If there is a local chapter but they do not have a Slow Food Snail of Approval award program, then the local chapter can begin a program! Check out this onboarding guide on how to establish a program in an existing chapter!

If there is no chapter or community in your area, then we will need to establish one! If you have a group that is interested in participating and hosting more than one Slow Food initiative, then a chapter is the best organization to form. If you have a group that is singularly interested in hosting a Snail of Approval program, then a Slow Food community is the best organization. Please email chapters@slowfoodusa.org for more info!

HOW IS SNAIL OF APPROVAL DIFFERENT FROM OTHER AWARDS?

Unlike other food awards, Snail of Approval does not have a group of people huddled away in an office adjudicating far away chefs and restaurants. Snail of Approval is a grassroots award, administered by local Slow Food chapter leaders. That means awardees can build long lasting relationships with other like minded slow foodies around good, clean, fair food for all. We also don’t just award for excellent food (although we love delicious food). We care about sustainable practices inside the kitchen, the establishment’s relationship with the community, and the cultural connections in sourcing. 

WHAT BENEFITS DO I RECEIVE BY BEING AWARDED?

By being awarded with the Snail of Approval, you join a national network of like minded food entities fighting for a sustainable food system. We are excited to welcome awardees who each bring their own story, experience, and expertise. Snail of Approval is all about supporting vital businesses and organizations  in a local food system. It is how we will continue to be resilient, diverse, and strong. Practically speaking as an awardee you will be:

    • Receive official Slow Food Snail of Approval award mark
    • Listed on national awardee map and directory
    • National marketing campaigns and events
    • Spotlighted on local chapter email blasts, social media, and networking events
HOW DO I KEEP MY AWARD STATUS?

All Snail of Approval awardees are re-assessed every two years after their initial award. The review process is at minimum a refilling of the eligiblity application to reflect current business practice and status. The hope is that all awardees continue to score higher each review– as the journey toward better food and better food systems is a lifelong endeavor.

WHAT IS THE SNAIL OF APPROVAL NATIONAL COMMITTEE?

The Snail of Approval committee is composed of volunteer leaders who serve a two year tenure. They convene twice a year to address issues and proposed amendments to Snail of Approval processes. If you would like to suggest a change in the evaluation process, you can submit your suggestion to snailofapproval@slowfoodusa.org. The committee has the power to call a general vote for all chapters involved in the Snail of Approval program for significant amendments to the program.

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