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A celebration of PEOPLE going above and beyond for good, clean and fair food for all.

Sunday, Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. ET

MEET OUR 2021 SNAILBLAZER AWARD WINNERS

This year, past Snailblazer Award recipients gathered to review 69 nominees across 10 categories. Rather than choosing only one exceptional food leader for each category, they chose two winners that made a thematic pairing per category. We honor and celebrate these 20 incredible people and thank them for advancing good, clean and fair food for all.

Learn a bit about each awardee from their nominator below!

Biodiversity

Mona Esposito

Mona Esposito, aka The Grain Lady, is an activist and advocate of restoring heritage grains to Colorado and supporting and recreating the network of farmers, millers and makers needed to make a regional grain economy thrive.”

Jennifer Holmes

“Jennifer is a UFIFAS Master Beekeeper, UFIFAS Senior Welsh Honey Judge, current President of Florida State Beekeepers Association, and Co-Chair of Slow Food Treasure Coast. Jennifer maintains a posture of engagement with nature.”

COOKING AND COMMUNITY

Joi Chevalier

“Joi opened Austin’s first food incubator hub. The Cook’s Nook is a community of culinary professionals working to create businesses, events, and policies that are profitable, sustainable, equitable, and engaged.”

Daiken Nelson

” Daiken’s business, Mandala Kitchens, introduces trainees to the basics of culinary work. Though open to all, there is a focus on providing support for those with barriers to employment. Mandala Kitchens also has a catering company which is staffed by trainees and graduates from a culinary training program and provides a  free weekly meal in Harlem, NYC and a twice-monthly meal in the Upper West Side, NYC.”

FAMILY FARMING

Rosalind Brooks

“Rosalind converted a 5 acre donated lot to a community garden. Vegas Roots is a black-owned community garden that provides locally grown produce to the community for an affordable price.”

Sue Salinger

“Grounded in the ancient, earth-based Jewish wisdom tradition, Sue brings several decades of transformational project design and execution to Ekar Farm, a non-profit educational farm in Denver, Colorado that trains farmers, educates over 5000 students and program participants each year, and grows and distributes over 20,000 pounds of produce for people experiencing food insecurity.”

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ADVOCACY

Whitney Roberts

“Whitney is the founder and executive director of the Cheese Culture Coalition, a nonprofit organization with the goal of promoting equity and inclusion within the cheese industry. They offer educational cheese classes for BIPOC youth and provide a grant for BIPOC individuals who would like to further their careers in the industry.”

Matthew Vernon

“Matthew has helped immigrants and refugees find their passion in the kitchen by providing a safe space for them to train and grow their job skills.”

FOOD STORYTELLER

Adrian Miller

“Adrian is an author who writes books that are focused on African American culinary history. He also educates individuals in his community of Denver about stories of African Americans and their relationship with food.”

Inga Witscher

“Inga’s television series communicates to all ages and all political views about the importance of healthy soil to produce healthy food and healthy people.”

2021 Snailblazer Awards photography by Joanna Kosinska via Unsplash

CHILDREN AND EDUCATION

Kawika Lewis

“Kawika and his family have done so much to educate and spread awareness about food sustainability on an ʻohana-based(family based) educational farm forming community partnerships for the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture and aloha ʻāina(land stewardship).”

Lauren Maples

“Lauren is the executive director and founder of PEAS (Partners for Education, Agriculture and Sustainability) founded with the mission to cultivate joyful connections with the natural world through outdoor learning and edible education.”

EMERGING LEADER

Te’Lario Watkins II

“Te’Lario is 13 years old. He started a community garden to feed his community, donates some of his produce to local food banks and pantries, and also speaks to children and adults about his mission to help end. He’s starting a new garden soon.”

Sara Jean Whelan

“Sara Jean is an incredible Slow Food advocate. When she served as president of Slow Food Vermont, she worked year-round to support farmers and to help keep local communities fed. Sara Jean is a co-founder of SFYN USA and also serves on the international board of the Slow Food Youth Network.”

FISHING AND WATERWAYS

Melanie Brown

“Melanie is an Indigenous organizer at Salmon State, the owner and operator of Fish People Consulting and Services and a champion for sustainable fish management in Bristol Bay, Alaska.”

Colles Stowell

“Colles is an incredibly thoughtful, caring, and passionate activist who rallies diverse networks to come together and align around shared values. He is the glue in the Slow Fish network.”

FOOD JUSTICE

Lyn Farrugia

“Lyn is the leader and inspiration behind the Chubby’s Project and a tireless advocate for intentional neighboring. She believes that every lunch, every smile, every conversation builds trust and moves us all forward together.”

Briana Tejuco

“Briana created a program called Nourishing Pregnancy that increases food security, cooking confidence, and community support among Black and Latinx birthing parents.”

OUTSTANDING SLOW FOOD USA LEADER

Paula Shatkin

“Paula has devoted close to 2 decades saving the livelihood of apple farmers and biodiversity of apples.”

Willow Blish

“Willow revamped our inactive Slow Food East Bay chapter and put it on the map, bringing the San Francisco East Bay community together from the ground up.”