If you are interested in joining the Slow Food Santa Cruz Board or in working with us on a project or event, please email us at

If you are are a local business or organization interested in partnering with Slow Food Santa Cruz on a project or event, fill out our Partnership Form, Slow Food SC Partnership Form or our Event Promotion Form, Slow Food SC Partners Event Promotion and email it to We look forward to hearing from you!


2015 Slow Food Santa Cruz Board


Elizabeth (Liz) Birnbaum – Chair

Liz has contributed locally, nationally, and globally to the good food movement. She was a United States delegate to Terra Madre, the international conference of Slow Food, in 2014.

Liz’s interest in food began in 2007 when she began cultivating land as a guerilla gardener. That quickly grew into a deeper interest, and she subsequently worked to establish and manage a small, diversified farm at her alma mater. From 2012-2014, Liz coordinated the content and logistics for the oldest and largest ecological agriculture event in the West: the annual EcoFarm Conference. She then transitioned to focusing on events and community outreach in the farm-to-table sector, first with local restaurant group The Glass Jar, and now with Outstanding in the Field and the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

She is also the founder of The Chicago Food Museum, a photo ethnography called The Farm(er) Project, and a freelance curator focusing on shows of environment, culture, and food.


Michelle Gilkey – Vice Chair

Michelle Gilkey is a marketer, eLearning developer, and technology consultant interested in the intersection of food and learning technologies and how to popularize the notions of healthy and sustainable food and wine– and the skillful cooking and appreciation thereof– to as broad an audience as possible. She has an undergraduate degree in art from UCSC, and has also undertaken graduate, professional, and extended study in technology entrepreneurship, training systems development, marketing strategy, and culinary education, respectively. In the Vice Chair role with Slow Food Santa Cruz, she is eager to continue deepening the organization’s connections in the local sustainable food community.


Liz Hodges – Communications

Liz Hodges moved to the Santa Cruz area in 2006 and began helping her aunt with seasonal lavender and olive oil production at Valencia Creek Farms while doing latte art at Grind’s Coffee in Capitola, pouring wine at Hallcrest and completing her BA in Global Studies. She researched the far-reaching effects of our food systems throughout her academic career and learned about the traditional and sustainable farming methods of West Africa while she studied in Ghana for two semesters. Upon returning, she volunteered at the Salinas Chinatown Community Garden and the Pacific Grove Farmers Market.

While Liz was studying International Environmental Policy as a graduate student in Monterey, she realized that all of her focus was on sustainable and organic agriculture as the intersection of ecology, equality, health and happiness. This, coupled with her passion for growing her own food, led her to study horticulture at Cabrillo. During her time at Cabrillo, she worked as an intern, managing a crop of 10,000 organic veggie starts.

Currently, she keeps chickens, does freelance food writing and has a sustainable living blog where she shares her excitement for food, gardening and health at As Communications Chair, she looks forward to connecting the thriving sustainable food community of Santa Cruz with Slow Food members and all lovers of good, clean, fair food.


Julia Bell– Events

Julia has worked in ecological landscape and event design in and around the Monterey Bay for the past 15 years. Her company, Bell and Flourish Design, has evolved to create beautiful spaces that celebrate nature, health and community. Education from UCSC (BA Art, BA Biology), Cabrillo and West Valley College (Landscape Architecture, Horticulture, Engineering Technology, Graphic Design, Fine Art) provides a diverse backdrop for ongoing ‘freelance’ studies in Permaculture and land management. Engagement in community organizations and events provides a rewarding network for sharing her interest in the arts, ecology, botany and food.

Edible gardens and home-orchard management are specialties within her practice that stem from a passion for cooking with organic, local harvest. Stepping out from the kitchen to gather herbs, veggies and fruit, or pick a home-grown bouquet are luxuries she loves to create. Slow Flowers represent an extension of the Slow Food principals of celebrating local, ecologically responsible product. Organic event design and floral arrangement has become an additional opportunity for Julia to combine her artistic eye and ecological mindset. She looks forward to serving as Events Chair to help engage and educate the community in attainable, healthy, Slow Food!


Sonia de la Rosa – Outreach

Sonia de la Rosa has enjoyed participating as a Member of Slow Food SC and welcomes the opportunity to serve a more active role by participating on the Board. She appreciates the work that Slow Food SC is doing to build awareness and community surrounding the issue of healthy attainable food for all.  Sonia is interested in how we can cultivate new systems/opportunities that truly serve our financial and public health needs, particularly on the local level where business, healing, community, and creativity can more easily overlap.

Currently, she works as a freelance bookkeeper, providing Quickbooks training, services and support to small-businesses in SC County. Prior work experience includes non-profit program management, event planning, and customer service/sales/marketing roles for small-to-mid-size manufacturing firms. She holds a BA in Business Management Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Sonia has lived in the community since 2007, enjoying active membership in various organizations including: Transition Santa Cruz, TimeBank Santa Cruz, Friends of the SC Library, Kuumbwa Jazz, and the UCSC Alumni Association. She has been involved in some form of volunteer work over the past 25 years, more recently with organizations such as Homeless Garden Project, Reskilling Expo, Trips for Kids, Girls on the Run, and Ride-a-Wave. She is a nature lover, outdoor sport enthusiast, and healthy food faithful.


Audrey Matheson – Gardens

Audrey grew up the “slow food” way in the rural small town of Sierraville, California.  A large garden of everything from raspberries to rhubarb, honey from their own bees and warm chicken eggs from the “girls” make up the food memories of her childhood. As a result, she’s passionate about local, sustainable food systems like gardens that create and sustain our communities. While she currently works in retail at Anthropologie, her background is in the nonprofit sector, working in communications, development and client service. With the recent passage of the California Cottage Food Law and since completing a business class at the Food Craft Institute, she aspires to continue working to combine her background in nonprofit  management with her passion for healthy food into a “snail approved” food craft business that provides youth with job training and the public with sweet and savory vegetarian hand-pies. As the Garden Chair for Slow Food Santa Cruz, she’s excited to support the wonderful Edible Garden Tour committee as well as explore other ways to celebrate and encourage gardening as a way to connect our community around good, clean and fair food.  In her free time, she enjoys cooking, running, volunteering at the Ecological Farming Association and exploring on the beach with her love-a-bull pound pup, Poppy.


Anna Zivian – Treasurer

Anna Zivian has been a Slow Food member for over twenty years, since a friend in Italy introduced her to it when she was visiting the Veneto. She recently moved back to Santa Cruz, where she had earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at UCSC (something of a change from her BA in Russian and Soviet Studies many years prior). She is currently Associate Director of Knowledge Management at Ocean Conservancy, bringing together expertise, information, wisdom, and knowledge to try to solve complex ocean issues. Previously, she served as Senior Manager for Ocean Conservancy’s ocean use planning program. At Ocean Conservancy, she has also addressed transgenic aquaculture policy and aquaculture labeling. In addition to her work on ocean issues, Anna’s past research looks at the intersection of environmental policy, science, and society, and, in particular, issues of democracy and public participation in science. She has published articles on the role of subnational government in regulating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Europe and the United States. Annacomes by her interest in subnational government organically, having been an elected official in Colorado for ten years. She is passionate about food and food policy, and is excited to be part of the Slow Food Santa Cruz board.


Stephanie Webb- Snail of Approval

Upon completing her Master’s Degree, Stephanie took a position with AmeriCorps’ Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) Program at Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT).  During this time, her career motivations turned towards using education to preserve (access to) natural resources and using entrepreneurial approaches to create fair wages for producers. Within in this role, Stephanie became passionate about conservation, sustainable agriculture and seafood and immersed herself in understanding various hurdles within our supply chain and how to overcome them.  Using her finance expertise, applied and academic education and strategic planning skills, she developed, financed and staffed a community-supported fishery (CSF) – the first CSF in Oregon. A rising model among producers derived from the agriculture sector also known as a community supported agriculture (CSA) where consumers pay prior to the food being harvested, processed or distributed. Currently, Stephanie works as a freelance consultant for various community-based social justice, conservation and (sea)food system initiatives. She recently moved to Santa Cruz, CA to enhance her quality of life, expand a place-based consulting business and participate in a community with like-minded individuals. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, surfing, cooking and practicing yoga.


Mailing Address

Slow Food Santa Cruz

P.O. Box 7225

Santa Cruz, CA 95061

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