I can’t believe it’s summer already! The tomatoes are growing inches every day, flowers are glorious in their colors and fragrances, birds are feeding their broods. This past year has gone by both very quickly and very slowly, at times I’m sure we all felt its tenuousness and fragility. But here we are at the change of seasons looking forward to the growth and sunshine ahead.
There are big changes in the works here at SFU too. Our long-time Treasurer Paula Springer is stepping down after 6 years of amazing dedication to our chapter. And I too will be moving on. I’ve been the Board Chair and chapter leader for 10 years, wow I can hardly believe it when I say it! A new leadership team will be stepping forward to guide SFU into the future. They are filled with fresh ideas and energy and I just know you’re going to love them. Jennifer Macali is our new Board chair, Hannah Martin is our new Vice-Chair, and Carson Chambers is our new Treasurer. I hope you will join me in welcoming them and giving them your support.
I remember the first Slow Food event I attended, more than 13 years ago. It was a chocolate tasting at Caputo’s. Who knew there were so many different kinds of chocolate and so many nuances of flavor? My mind was blown, and I was hooked on learning and exploring our food community. I joined up, started attending meetings and volunteering for after-school classes and events, and before long found myself on the Board – and the rest is history! I loved the people I was meeting and the community I was part of. This was an organization that really spoke to me on so many levels – food, farming, cooking and preserving, teaching. I attended Slow Food Nation, the big SFUSA event in San Francisco in 2008, and that was the clincher. Slow Food’s mission was one I believed in, a non-profit focused on the positive message of good, clean, fair food for all – joy and justice intertwined.
Over the years I’ve met so many wonderful people, visited unique and delicious places, devoured some amazing food and drink, and learned so much, not only about food and farming and cooking and community but also about myself. I’ve learned new skills, like how to manage a non-profit, organize an event, ask for donations, teach a class, speak to a crowd. I’ve learned how to make pasta and pickles, what goes on in a cheesemaker’s cellar, the vast differences in chocolates or olive oils or citrus. I’velearned how to create newsletters and build a website, how to run a Board meeting, forge partnerships and strengthen community connections. Together we’ve created some pretty wonderful events and projects, like Eat Local Week, the Honeybee Festival, the Chef-Producer Mingle, a book club, canning and cooking classes, farm tours and farm mobs, Producer Spotlights and tastings, and the Feast of Five Senses (now in its 17th year) that supports our signature Microgrant Program.
But it’s about more than the tastings and events – it’s all about the relationships, the people, the community, the joy of connection to something big and beautiful. Slow food as a philosophy, an ideal, a way of living, is as much a part of me now as my bones or skin. It’s in my DNA and in my every step, my every breath.
It has been my honor and privilege to lead this organization for the past 10 years. Thank you to everyone who’s been a part of that truly joyful and profound experience. Now it’s time for me to pass the fork to a new group of leaders who, like me, are passionate about good, clean, fair, local food. I am leaving Slow Food Utah in very good hands and can’t wait to see what’s next for our chapter!
Here’s to sharing a long, slow, locally grown meal with you all soon!