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 We are currently seeking a Treasurer.

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!

2013 – 2014 Slow Food Santa Cruz Board

Stephanie Iwanciow Haas – Chair

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I have been a long time food lover but gained passion for “slow eating” when I began growing my own food in a little garden in Santa Cruz. In that year of growth (in many aspects) I discovered that I actually liked tomatoes!  Since then I have grown a passion for gardening, particularly in cooking and eating the food that I grow. My interest in local and organic food brought me to find interest in Slow Food Santa Cruz. In addition to all things edible, I am also a teacher and educator. I received my bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz in Community Studies emphasizing in sexuality education and HIV prevention for high risk youth. In more recent years I have found my second teaching passion in special education, recently completing my master’s degree in Special Education. I have been in the field for 9 years and currently teach young adults with autism skills to help them in their transition to independence, or wherever adulthood will lead them.  I have always found a way to combine my passions to produce positive social change. I look forward to a year of education on a new topic, that of slow eating, so that I may further my own education as well as help to spark passion for slow eating in the lives of others.


Mia Farber – Vice Chair

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I am focused on the application of successful business strategies to support vibrant, regional foodsheds, social enterprises, triple-bottom line businesses, entrepreneurs, cooperatives and communities. I believe that Slow Food is an integral part of helping us to stop and appreciate the agricultural heritage and food culture of a region and am therefore excited to contribute as a member of the Board.

I became passionate about sustainable agriculture and various farming techniques as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru, following which I worked for the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture as an outreach coordinator growing consumer awareness of Pennsylvania-grown products. I recently completed my MBA at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School with a focus in sustainable enterprise and accepted a new position at Foodlink, where my work aims to leverage the company’s technology to increase consumer access to locally and regionally grown foods in grocery stores across the country.  I recently moved to Santa Cruz, CA, and in my spare time enjoy visiting farmers’ markets, hiking, cooking and practicing yoga.


Michelle Gilkey– Communications

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I’m 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 the skillful cooking thereof– to as broad an audience as possible. I have an undergraduate degree in art from UCSC, and have also undertaken graduate, professional, and extended study in training systems development, marketing strategy, and culinary education, respectively. In the Communications Chair role with Slow Food Santa Cruz, I’m eager to continue broadening our chapter’s outreach, and deepening our connections in the local sustainable food community.


Sonia de la Rosa – Events

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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.


Elizabeth (Liz) Birnbaum – Outreach

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Elizabeth (Liz) Birnbaum coordinates the content and logistics for the Annual EcoFarm Conference plus many other initiatives throughout the year. Liz first began cultivating land as a guerilla gardener, working to transform her alma mater into an edible landscape. That guerrilla gardening hobby grew into a deeper interest when she became Program Coordinator for Environmental Studies at Lake Forest College. She subsequently worked to establish the Campus Garden as a productive space for the campus community. She has co-taught college courses on biodiversity and agriculture, botanical imperialism, and Chicago’s food history, geography, and culture. She has also created a photo ethnography project where she interviewed and photographed farmers around the country. She had a solo show of the project in Chicago in May 2012.


Audrey Matheson – Gardens

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I was fortunate to grow up with “slow food” in the rural small town of Sierraville, California.  A large garden of raspberries to rhubarb, honey from our bees, and warm chicken eggs from our “girls” make up the food memories of my childhood. As a result, I’m passionate about  local, sustainable food systems like gardens that create and sustain our communities. While I currently work in retail at Anthropologie, my background is in the nonprofit sector, working in communications, development and client service. With the recent passage of the California Cottage Food Law and completing a business class at the Food Craft Institute, I am encouraged to continue working to combine my background in nonprofit  management with my 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 new Garden Chair for Slow Food Santa Cruz, I’m excited to support our 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 my free time, I enjoy cooking, running, volunteering at the Ecological Farming Association and exploring on the beach with our love-a-bull pound pup, Poppy.


Anna Zivian – Treasurer

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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.


Valerie Sonstroem – Snail of Approval

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I’m a mom, gardener, nature-lover, and slow-food-eater. One of my primary life goals is to help create a fun, safe and healthy world for my daughter and other future generations. I believe that food intimately connects us to the land, and as such it is a valuable tool for reconnecting us to the world around us and for fostering greater environmental awareness. Growing, cooking, and eating real, regional foods are a key component in co-creating this future with others, so I am excited to be a part of the Slow Food movement.

I bring to Slow Food Santa Cruz a 7-year history in nonprofit operations management as Deputy Director of MAPS, an international nonprofit seeking a cure for PTSD. In that role, I created opportunities for hundreds of people to engage in deeply meaningful volunteer activities, met the staff’s diverse and sometimes quirky human resources needs, and provided a useful amount of order during times of chaos. My nonprofit background also includes volunteering at CASA of Santa Cruz, Organizational Development Consulting for TimeBank Santa Cruz, teaching Team Skills at Hult International Business School, as well as Process Consulting for a community group conducting Appreciative Inquiry and Social Network Analysis. My Bachelor’s degree is in Integral Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and my Master’s (in progress) is in Sustainable Food Systems and Permaculture Design with an emphasis in Organizational Development from Antioch University Seattle. I blog about management, leadership, and organizational development at:


Mailing Address

Slow Food Santa Cruz

P.O. Box 7225

Santa Cruz, CA 95061

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