August 19th, 2014 by Linda Elbert
Dear Slow Food Orange County,
In August 2012, Slow Food leaders from California began meeting with representatives from the national office about the concept of “regionalization” ̶ to help the Slow Food USA national office in Brooklyn be of more support to the local chapters. At the initial meeting two committees began working: a structure committee and a policy committee. The structure committee began working on bylaws and tax status while the policy committee began working on advocacy for legislative issues related to food policy issues within California.
There were also several regional meetings with training and the opportunity to get to know members from chapters throughout the state. The policy committee worked hard on issues such as Prop. 37, the Ag-gag bill, and it is currently working on concerns related to the Slow Meat program. The structure committee has been waiting on the “go ahead” from Slow Food USA. Slow Food USA has created 5 regions within the United States. California will be part of the Pacific Region that will include Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, California and possibly Nevada. Instead of having one staff person in the national office acting as a liaison between all the chapters in the USA, a staff person will be hired for each of the five regions. This is part of a decentralized approach to management as each staff person will live in the region which they represent. Within each of the regions, the individual states will have the opportunity to form a chapter. California is leading this trend.
The role of Slow Food California will be to provide a chapter affiliation for people living in areas with no local chapter, to promote awareness and membership in Slow Food throughout the state, to provide a centralized web presence for travelers to find Slow Food events throughout the state, create a large base for food policy advocacy, and plan statewide events. The first statewide event is planned for Terra Madre Day in December. Details will be forthcoming.
Ted Wright, Co-Chair, and I will be attending a Slow Food California meeting in early September by which time we anticipate it will be a legally functioning chapter. Members of local Slow Food chapters within California will automatically be part of the statewide chapter. I am excited about these changes because I believe they will help create a greater presence for Slow Food within California and will facilitate support and an exchange of ideas and resources among the local chapters that will help build individual chapters.
At this time, my intent is to keep Slow Food OC informed about the changes within the larger organization; however, I soon hope to be reporting about events that you can enjoy as well as offering you resources.
Slow Food OC, Chair