What does a Slow Food “governor” do?
I see myself as a conduit between the local office and national programming, and a pollinator connecting people to each other as well as to projects, events and opportunities, like asking regional food activists, farmers and cheesemakers to become Slow Food USA delegates.
Your involvement in Slow Food USA has taken you to Terre Madre, an international assemblage of food communities held every two years in Turin, Italy. What is that like?
It’s incredible. You walk around the halls and learn about food and the food systems of other cultures. Slow Food USA worked hard to have a presence there. We had five producer booths, including food producers from the Midwest offering products, from maple syrup to popcorn to persimmon hot sauce.
How is Wisconsin viewed within the Slow Food community?
Across the network, the Midwest is emerging as a force, no longer a flyover state. The Milwaukee apple, the energies around the Beaver Dam pepper [a Hungarian heirloom pepper brought to Beaver Dam in 1912] are examples of the Ark of Taste in action. They’re referenced nationally.
How does the Fondy market put the Slow Food methodology into practice?
Fondy was created around slow food principles. [The motto is “good, clean and fair food for all.”] The “good” is shown in focusing on the strengths of a diverse community. Young Kim [Fondy’s executive director] has done an amazing job of seeking out people who can tell the stories of their communities. Our launching a youth group has helped create a cultural crossroads in a city with such segregation. That gets into the “fair.”