2011 Slow Food Santa Cruz Board Candidates

We are pleased to announce the 2011 Slow Food Santa Cruz board candidates!  We asked each candidate to answer the following questions and what appears below are their answers.  Take a look at what this talented group has to offer – 2011 is going to be an exiting year for anyone at the Slow Food SC table!  Be sure to attend our Annual Meeting to learn more and find out how you can help out.

Why are you interested in serving on the Chapter Board of SFSC?

What is your top priority for SFSC in 2011?

What can you bring to the SFSC Chapter Board?

Allison Clark – Chair

I got involved with Slow Food while completing my Master at the University of Gastronomic Sciences.  Slow Food Italy emphasizes traditional products and connections between Slow businesses with consumers – I’d like to see more of that in the U.S.  I am looking forward to serving on the Board for my third year and capitalizing on the momentum we’ve built locally.  I’m also excited to collaborate more with our neighbors in the South Bay and Monterey, as well as the Greater Bay Area.  I want to focus on events and projects that will draw and serve local farmers and help local food producers and vendors connect with consumers.  I have a background in food, food science, and nutrition, experience with Slow Food in Europe, as well as other U.S. communities, and I’m dedicated to pushing for a Good, Clean, and Fair food system!  As Chair, I hope to balance fun and conviviality with a focus on the serious implications of our food choices.

Jody Biergiel – Vice Chair

It was satisfying to develop some foundational tools for SFSC in 2010. We stayed active in the community via events each month, while also forming bylaws, updating the website and creating marketing tools such as a logo and market banner. With these tools in place I am excited for the 2011 Board to hit the ground running, increasing the buzz about Slow Food in Santa Cruz and working more with existing food organizations to increase our influence on slow food access and education in Santa Cruz.  Partnering with existing organizations such as SC Farmer’s Markets, UCSC Farm and Garden, CAFF and Second Harvest to increase our reach, as well as with restaurants and other food purveyors who embody the Slow Food mission. I would like SFSC to host a movie or lecture series about slow foods in our county and in the US. I would also like to see a comprehensive web resource for locals and tourists to find slow food growers, makers and sellers in SC County. I am organized and helped focus the Board during meetings in the last year to get the most done with limited resources. I will continue to encourage the 2011 Board to be realistic about what it can do and to involve more member-volunteers to help us reach out to a broader community.

Joelle Heidinger – Membership Chair

Air. Water. Food.  These three components are all vital ingredients necessary to generate and maintain life on Earth.   Among these three, food in particular has become a foundation for numerous cultures, traditions, and problems (blights, wars, illnesses, etc.).  Food and its production have ultimately helped forge out individuality and individual cultures by becoming the cornerstone of what defines a country/society, region, family, and person.   Unfortunately, not all food production or foods are made with the intent to maintain the health of the consumer or the environment.  As a result, the health of those who consume these foods can suffer, and the environment on which we depend is being damaged for future generations due to irresponsible land stewardship and concern.  In addition, as the food industry has grown there has been an increasing disconnect for many consumers in their knowledge about where food comes from and the price that is paid by the growers, producers, and the environment.  This trend has led to a society in America where when asked where a food comes from they reply “a can, a box, or a grocery store” as opposed to “the soil, a tree, or a farm”.

I would like to serve on the Slow Food Santa Cruz board because I believe strongly in the importance of making sure that all individuals have equal access to food that has been responsibly produced and will help maintain the health of the consumer and the culture of which the food is associated. I believe that there needs to be a larger societal emphasis on developing a food system that is built upon a solid production foundation where it can responsibly provide whole nutritious food for all members of our communities while also allowing for unique food culture to be maintained and to grow.  If provided the opportunity to serve on the board I feel I would be able to help the Slow Food Movement grow locally by helping educate the community about the importance of making informed decisions about deciding what and how we eat.

My top priority for 2011 would be to bring the discussion and importance of consuming/providing nutritious responsibly produced food to as many in the Santa Cruz area as possible. As with most other movements, I think the first steps for 2011 would be to continue to reach out into the community to educate and communicate the Slow Food message whenever possible. Despite the Slow Food Movement having so many strong objectives I feel that it still seems to lack a large mainstream following and recognition.   I would like to assist SFSC in bringing the Slow Food Movement to the forefront of discussion and thought especially to those who know the least about where their food comes from and how it impacts their health and life.  If allowed to serve on the SFSC board, I would prioritize my time, effort, and interests to the requirements of the position of Membership Chair, and ultimately help assist the board/group in achieving the needs/goals of the chapter.

Throughout my life I have always had a passion for the food industry and for all things related to food.  I was raised in an agricultural community in Central California where I witnessed first hand the trials and tribulations a community can experience while trying to produce fruits and vegetables on a large scale.  In addition, my mother was a food scientist for a local nut, coffee, and dried fruit company while I was young.  During my childhood, I frequently went with her to her work where I spent my days playing amongst the roasting nuts, roasting coffee, and packing of dried fruit.  I observed the pleasure obtained when people came to purchase and eat these wholesome products, and as a result I ultimately developed a lifelong passion for food, and knowledge about the importance of food for people’s happiness and health.  Building upon these childhood experiences, I decided to obtain my Master’s degree in Food Safety Microbiology at U.C. Davis.  Following my schooling I was fortunate to be able to obtain a position in the food industry and am currently employed by Earthbound Farm in San Juan Bautista, CA as the Organic Integrity Manager.  My position has allowed me to continue to learn about the intricacies and practices of a large food company, and has provided me an amazing opportunity to learn more intimately the details and benefits of organic production for our society.  Ultimately, I feel that my lifelong passions for healthy food and lifestyles, my education, and my personal background would be a useful attribute and provide a distinct perspective for the SFSC Chapter board.

Martha Coulter (Marcie) – Treasurer

I am interested in serving on the Board because food injustice, in my opinion, is the most important issue facing humanity today. I was invited to participate in global discussions about land grabs in Africa, GMOs in Venezuela and Cuba and the loss of local artisans in Italy while at Terra Madre. If I am elected to the Santa Cruz Chapter’s Board of Directors, getting this message of injustice and the related effects on humanity to as many people as possible would be my priority. What that means to me is educating people about food systems and demonstrating that consumption and food choices have global impacts.

Margherita Pagni – Partnerships

I have experience, skills, and expertise to offer. I am inspired by Slow Food vision, and I think I can make a contribution. Also, I work for a no-GMO Campaign and I believe I can be helpful in increasing consumer awareness of the dangers of GMOs. My top priority for Slow Food Santa Cruz in 2011 is to build an effective non-GMO public education Campaign & bring it to the general public, into the schools and campuses. And, more broadly, increase awareness and involvement in the general public and the media re: food & agricultural issues. The Farm Bill 2012 is also a priority. I can bring 20+yrs experience in the non profit sector, knowledge of global agriculture & food issues, having attended a Terra Madre conference in Turin and having a sense of the global membership, deep concern for social justice, experience in Board participation, currently working on a consumer education and activism campaign for the Institute For responsible Technology.

Kim Sammet – Secretary

The revolution begins and ends with Food! My philosophy is completely in line with Slow Food’s Mission. And, I want to engage in effecting the mission locally in Santa Cruz County. Food is my passion, and I am enthralled with the natural cycle from food sheds to table and back. Food lies at the base of all issues facing our world, health, wealth, environment, social and economic systems. Clean, healthful, intentionally grown and naturally derived food ensures a healthy, happy and thoroughly enriched community. I look forward to being a leading member of an organization that promotes these tenets in our community.

Although past efforts of SFSC are unknown to me, I plan on organizing a Farmer’s Market program with Kathryn Lukas. We hope to bring local luminaries in the fields of ecology, farming, food production, and food economics as well as local chefs to the Wednesday Santa Cruz market for a chautaqua of sorts, a demonstration and celebration of local seasonal food.

My jill-of-all trades skill set is suited to plug into a wide variety of duties and responsibilities from brainstorming, creative ideating and solution making, to good old fashioned know how of getting the job done. I have worked in the natural food industry for 15 years as a food broker/sales rep, which has created many contacts in the natural food world. I recently wrote, directed and completed a trailer and promotional package for a televisioin show concept, The Counter Culture Kitchen Show. We are currently marketing this show to television networks. During the development of the show, I researched food systems, chefs, farms, restaurants, food education and activism. I am an active gardener, great cook and have always believed in creating beautiful and delicious food based on the principals of Slow Food.

Kate Purcell – Events

My interests stem from early childhood experiences growing up on a family farm in Connecticut. The magic of the natural world and the pride of harvesting home grown vegetables profoundly influenced my passions in life. I value people, the outdoors and the simple pleasures of life. Growing up with the pace and activities of farm life gave me a taste of what is now called an “alternative lifestyle”. I believe that we all need to slow down and reconnect with what’s real in our lives. I believe our fast paced lifestyle is making us sick and depressed. I am committed to reconnecting my community to healthier foods and to the food traditions that connect us to our histories, our land and to each other.

I am excited about the Santa Cruz Chapter of Slow Foods because it is different than other chapters I have known. The young board with professional goals in food justice is inspiring. Santa Cruz itself is full of young folks interested in healthy living. My top priority would be to raise the profile of SFSC and create events and opportunities that would bring new diversity to the chapter. In turn our message and values will be shared widely in the community.

My college experience is in sustainable agriculture and horticulture. I have over twelve years of professional experience in gardening, garden-based education, community organizing and environmental conservation. My work experience has developed my skills in event management and volunteer coordination. I believe these skills would be a perfect match for the Slow Foods Board of Directors. I will bring dedication and enthusiasm to the position.

Rosemary Quinn – Communications Co-Chair

I would like to be a board member of Slow Food Santa Cruz to be a part of an international movement at the local, community level and to help translate the vision of the Slow Food movement to fellow members of my community.  My top priority for Slow Food Santa Cruz for 2011 is to clarify Slow Food’s mission and values for the Santa Cruz community and to foster inter-community awareness of our local food shed and local artisan food producers through outreach and networking opportunities.  I will bring my experience in marketing, event promotion and social media, as well as my commitment to food justice and passion for sustainable food.

Erin Justus – Communications Co-Chair

My interests in serving on the board are to help our community learn more about food, politics and resources here in our local area. Education and advocacy. Top priorities: helping to bring Slow Food Santa Cruz into the spot light. Grow our membership and small workshop series (opposed to large events) to include people in the community. I can bring an honest love for food farming and people!

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