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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com. 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.