Meet the SFS 2011 Board Candidates

The nominating committee of the Slow Food Seattle board of directors has completed the process of selecting a slate of 3 candidates for new board positions that will be proposed for election by voice vote at the annual meeting on Sunday, January 30th. The nominees submitted background questionnaires that were evaluated by the committee and the board. Those selected as potential candidates were interviewed by a committee member. Our criteria for selecting candidates were, who would bring balance, enhancement, and experience to help us reach our goals.

Learn a little about the candidates below by their responses to the questions we posed and more in person at the Annual Members Meeting on Sunday, January 30th.

The candidates are:

Are you familiar with Slow Food and if so what aspects of the organization have been of most interest to you?

  • CH - My understanding of the Slow Food mission is that it is focused on consumer-based education, cooking events, and get-togethers. I like that it continues to maintain and grow the community of people that are making the right choice when it comes time to buy their food. I like the people and the events that Slow Food supports to help those efforts as well.

  • PL - I am familiar with a number of Slow Food initiatives, such as Renewing America's Food Tradition (RAFT), US Ark of Taste, and Slow Foods in Schools. I am especially excited to see programs that preserve food traditions and outreach to youth and families to promote greater awareness on what and how we eat. Locally, I have participated in a number of Slow Food Seattle events, including the RAFT American Traditions Picnics, membership meetings, Pike Place Artisan Food Festival, and albacore canning with Jeremy Brown. I am most interested in the partnerships and outreach created with local educational programs, including Orca K-8 and the Quillisascut Farm. I would very much hope to get involved with these programs. Finally, I'm very pleased to see the launch of the SFS book club starting 2011 and plan to be actively involved to make this a regular component of the organization.

  • JW - The most interesting aspects for me are the Ark of Taste and the community. The Ark of Taste is fascinating to me because it is a unique opportunity to pluck from the current agriculture examples of our history and development as a region. To be able to look at a Makah Ozette potato or an Olympia oyster within the larger food system and place those foods on a map and on a timeline is very cool. I am currently reading a lot about the intersections of food and history, and the Ark of Taste seems like a good place to start investigating the history of food in this country and beyond.To me, the community represents a promise from a group of people of all ages to support the “good, clean, fair” ideals in their own lives. When I was volunteering with Gerry and Melissa at the Pike Place Artisan Food Festival, my favorite part was talking to people from other chapters of Slow Food from around the country. One couple, from Arizona, told us about how the founder of their chapter is a chef in a very conservative part of the state where there aren’t a lot of like-minded, progressive people. But, they said, once every month, a group of 15-25 people gather at her restaurant for their meeting, which is held around a potluck of food made from plants and animals they grow or gather personally. The fact that this has been happening for so long and with such a solid group of committed people willing to drive for up to two hours to meet is a compelling reason to become a productive member of this community.

Which volunteer or professional organizations have you been a member and what was/is the extent of your involvement?

  • CH - I helped restart the Seattle chapter of the Chefs Collaborative in 2001 and was on the board for 5 years. I helped in all aspects of organizing cooking events, the farmer/fisher chef connection yearly event, cooking food for these events, coordinating chefs to meet farmers and ranchers to help develop relationships, and voting in new blood. I was the sergeant-at-arms.

  • PL - below

    • Since summer, 2010, I have been on the community advisory board with the Wing Luke Asian Museum to curate an exhibit connecting food and Asian American culture, which will open in fall 2011.

    • In 2010, I also joined the Northwest Farm Bill Action Group, which focuses on understanding and engaging with the 2012 Farm Bill. One project I'm heading is to bring author Dan Imhoff of Food Fight: The Citizen's Guide to a Food and Farm Bill to speak in Seattle in February 2011.

    • Since 2008, I have been a volunteer producer and host on the KBCS radio, focusing on food and education issues. I have covered issues such as youth obesity, the Farm to School Movement, NAFTA impact on Oaxacan migrant farm workers in the Pacific Northwest, and the increase population of immigrant farmers in Washington state.

    • I served on the board of Gilda's Club Seattle, a cancer support organization, from 2004 to 2009. In 2005, I led the organization's major fund raising "Red Door" campaign, which raised over $500,000. I will be rejoining the board in 2011, with a focus to connect cancer prevention and recovery with food.

    • I have been involved in issues relating to cultural diversity. In 2002, I served on the steering committee for the Institute for Community Involvement (ICI), and spoke with county and state committees on issues relating to education, redistricting, and social service, as well as hosting political candidate forums.

  • JW - I'm a joiner from way back. To give you an idea of my varied interests, I'll start in high school, where I was Vice President of the Ballard High School Key Club. As VP, I led biannual blood drives and organized many volunteer events. I was also a member of the National Honors Society. In college, I was President of Psi Chi, the National Honors Society in Psychology, and created relationships between my school (Scripps College) and mentorship programs at Pomona High School and the Los Angeles Downtown Women's Shelter, as well as hosting speaker events. After college, I was Chapter Intern for the National Organization for Women in Seattle. I helped with fundraising events and attended meetings where I served as a voting member of NOW. I am a current member of Seattle Chefs Collaborative and have attended several meet and greet events, as well as larger events, such as Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection 2010.

Slow Food Seattle is dedicated to activities that create responsible and pleasurable experiences at the table. Please provide a brief description of your interest and activities related to such objectives.

  • CH - My interest in that lies in the food that I prepare at my restaurant, TASTE, where I use the relationships that I have with our farmers, fishers, and ranchers as a tool to help educate our guests on seasonality, freshness, and clean tastes. I volunteer as much as I can at events that support such efforts like Farmer-Chef-Connection, the ARK picnic, and/or speaking at events to spread the word.

  • PL - I am deeply committed to promoting a better understanding of what and how we eat, especially for children and families, therefore food education is very important to me. I feel it is important to know the history of our food and preserve our food traditions as this is a critical way to create a sound and sustainable ecology. I am also interested in the future of our food ways and want to take part in policy issues relating to our agricultural system. Finally, I want to encourage a dialogue about food that is culturally diverse and inclusive. Slow Food USA as well as Slow Food Seattle are already involved with many of these issues that I'm passionate about, therefore I wish to have the opportunity to serve on the board to expand on these programs. In 2009, my wife and I founded READERS to EATERS, a bookseller and publisher of books about food with a mission to promote food literacy by connecting good eats and good reads. Our goal is to promote a better understanding of how we eat and where our food comes from. Some of our activities include the following:

    • Partnered with the King County Library System to sponsor a food literacy series with farmers, nutritionists, and educators

    • Sold books about food at a variety of food events, including farmers markets, schools, farm harvest festivals, Chefs Collaborative's Farmers Fisher Chef Connection, Solid Ground Annual Dinner, International Food Blogger Conference, and Seattle Tilth Harvest Festival

    • Gave presentations and organized speaker panels connecting good eats and good reads to local food justice and food security organizations, such as Washington Food Coalition and Seattle Tilth

    • Created reading lists on food for schools, libraries, community kitchens, medical associations and food related service organizations

    • Created a One City Read program for the city of Auburn in partnership with the Auburn Farmers Market and Auburn Public Library, using Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma for Kids. Events included film showing, gardening presentations, author signings, and fund raising to donate copies of the book to every school in Auburn.

    • Launching the R2E publishing program in 2011, with first book on how to use school gardens as an educational tool.

  • JW - To put it simply, I love to eat, and I eat very well. I often eat at restaurants which sport the Slow Food seal of approval sticker on their window, shop at farmers markets for everything from cheese to kale, mushrooms to oysters, and I talk about my food experiences constantly. Most recently, I have been sharing my opinions in my role as Moderator for the Food & Drink category of Questionland (a website affiliated with The Stranger). In this position, I have the power to create links between the average person and experts in food and drink by featuring key people on the site to answer user questions. I also write the majority of the Questionland Food & Drink blog, Swallowing Seattle, which focuses on events, restaurants, and food trends, history, issues, etc. (more posts are currently in the editing phase). A major goal for everyone involved in the site is to promote real, sustainable, local, responsible food and food practices. We are still developing plans for how to do this most effectively, but will be starting with articles written for the blog by or about writers/food activists such as Laurel Miller and Becky Selengut.

What attributes/skills would you bring to the Board of Directors and what roles would you see yourself contributing to on the board.

  • CH - After being on the Chef's Collaborative board, I see the education from the industry side which could only bring a different perspective on the consumer side, which is how I understand Slow Food is focused. I love to sit with a group of like minded folks and brainstorm ideas of how to better promote the idea of buying foods locally with the understanding that it only helps our local economy.

  • PL - I was the co-founder of a publishing company, Lee & Low Books, and its publisher for 14 years. Prior to that I worked in magazine publishing and in the last few years have worked in radio as well as new media such as podcasting. I have extensive experience in marketing and event planning. I have also served on non-profit boards doing public advocacy and fundraising. Finally, I have worked with the local food community, from chefs, farmers, cafeteria managers, culinary instructors, public health officials to food policy advocates. I can contribute to the following areas:

    • Education

    • Community Building & Outreach

    • Event Planning

    • Fundraising

    • Advocacy

    • Marketing

  • JW - I am happiest when connecting people with one another as well as with events, restaurants and organizations that I feel would be positive for them. To that end, I am very resourceful and have a great memory and love of networking for myself and on behalf of organizations. I also enjoy writing and editing and worked for almost a year as the Editorial Assistant at Edible Seattle magazine. While there, I wrote many articles about cheese (my passion) and helped the Editor, Jill Lightner, with content editing, planning the content calendar, gathered events and visited other parts of the state to scout story ideas. From those experiences, I would bring to Slow Food Seattle the ability and desire to help write and/or edit written materials, such as pamphlets, newsletters, and emails. Another role I have enjoyed in other organizations, and which I would enjoy doing for Slow Food Seattle, is that of event planner. I am good at coming up with ideas for events, garnering interest from the types of people who would enjoy those events, and then aiding in planning details (event space, funding, merchandising, vendors, etc.). Although I don’t know all the details of the opportunities available to Board members, I feel as though I have plenty to offer in a wide variety of areas.