Board of Directors

As a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, Slow Food USA is governed by a Board of Directors, which meets on a regular basis and keeps minutes of their meetings. For copies of any board minutes, call 718.260.8000.

Matt Jones, Chairperson

Food Activist & Investor
Slow Food Denver chapter member
Read more about Matt

Matt grew up with a big table in the kitchen and a garden in his back yard. He graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Engineering Geology. A father’s and, a geologist’s, concern for the environment and a lifetime love of good, clean and fair food led him to Slow Food. Matt co-founded Slow Food Denver in 2000 and became Governor of the Rocky Mountain Region (CO, UT, WY, and MT) of Slow Food USA in 2006. Matt co-chaired the Education Committee for Slow Foods USA after his work in establishing a Seed to Table school gardening program in Denver. Matt is a Board member with the Rocky Mountain Organics Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union where he endeavors to promote a more reasonable food supply system between organic producers and consumers. Matt’s recent activities include urban farming initiatives with Denver Public Schools and advocacy for protection of pristine farmland from destructive oil and gas development. He is active in national food issues, primarily focused on sustainable meat production and improving school food.

Robert Shaver, Co-Chair

Slow Food Indy chapter member
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Bob Shaver is an independent consultant providing strategic planning and business planning services to organizations looking to make a positive difference in the world. He is currently working with Karp Resources and City Harvest. Prior to working as an independent consultant, Bob was the Director of Strategic Planning at City Harvest in New York City – a nonprofit organization dedicated to feeding hungry New Yorkers through rescuing and distributing millions of pounds of food that would otherwise go to waste each year. In that role, he supported City Harvest in the execution of an ambitious strategic plan that resulted in a period of unprecedented growth for the organization. Before joining City Harvest, Bob served as a management consultant with Wellspring Consulting, a leading strategy consulting firm for the social sector. Bob is drawn to Slow Food’s mission because he believes that food is a source of life and community, not disease and disparity, and that good, clean and fair food has the power to fix so many of our shared problems every day. Bob holds an undergraduate degree from Wabash College and a Master’s degree summa cum laude from Yale University Divinity School. He recently moved back home to Indianapolis, Indiana.

Paolo Di Croce

Secretary General, Terra Madre Foundation
Slow Food Italy member
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Paolo Di Croce, graduated in Environmental Engineering at the University of Turin and began working for Slow Food in 1998 to coordinate its projects - such as the Ark of Taste and Presidia - in defense of the environment and biodiversity. From 2003 to 2006 Paolo served as the General Secretary of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, which defends the biodiversity of our foods and gastronomic traditions from the world over, promotes sustainable agriculture, respect for the environment, for cultural identities, and for the wellbeing of animals. In 2004 Paolo served as the President of the Committee for Terra Madre, which organized – in Turin (Italy), the first edition of the meeting that every two years gather 7,000 food producers from over 150 countries and representing a new way of approaching food production – attentive to environmental resources, planetary balance, and the quality and sustainability of products. Since 2005, Paolo is the Secretary General of the Terra Madre Foundation and serves as International Secretary of the Slow Food International Board of Directors, the highest governing body of Slow Food International.

Thom Duncan

Slow Food Charlotte founder and member
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Thom was raised in a better living through chemicals household. He discovered upon leaving for college that garlic was, in fact, not a type of salt but the bulbous relative of the onion, which, it turned out, was not a salt. In 2004, Thom founded Slow Food Charlotte. In 2009 he co-founded Friendship Gardens, a partnership between Slow Food Charlotte and Friendship Trays, Charlotte’s meals on wheels program. Friendship Gardens is a network of urban gardens that grow food for meals on wheels recipients as well as educate, engage and grow community. In January of 2015 Thom became Director of Friendship Gardens. Thom served as Slow Food regional governor of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia from 2010 until his election to the board. He holds a B.S. B.A. from Appalachian State University and an M.F.A. in poetry from Queens University of Charlotte making him uniquely qualified to organize, empathize and get beyond his personal angst to the issues at hand.

Curt Ellis

Co-Founder & Executive Director, FoodCorps
Slow Food New York City chapter member
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Curt Ellis grew up in Oregon and found his passion for food and agriculture at The Mountain School and Yale, then moved to Iowa to investigate the role of subsidized commodities in the American obesity epidemic. The film he co-created there, King Corn, produced with Ian Cheney and Aaron Woolf, received a national theatrical release and PBS broadcast, helped drive policy discussion around the Farm Bill, and earned a George Foster Peabody Award. Under a Food and Community Fellowship with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Ellis helped launch the mobile garden project Truck Farm and directed Big River, a sequel to King Corn, for Discovery’s Planet Green. Ellis is a Draper Richards Kaplan Social Entrepreneur and a recipient of the Heinz Award. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC and NPR, is a frequent speaker on college campuses, and serves as co-founder and Executive Director of the national service organization FoodCorps.

Philip Lee

Co-Founder, Readers to Eaters
Slow Food Seattle chapter member
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Philip was born and raised in Hong Kong, where eating fresh was part of the culture and his family kept live chickens, fish, and even eels in their small kitchen for special meals. He is co-founder of READERS to EATERS, a publisher with a mission to promote food literacy to children and families. Previously, he co-founded Lee & Low Books, a multicultural children’s book publisher, with Rosa Parks among his authors. Philip believes in building a better community through food, and works closely with schools, libraries, and parks systems to build community food hubs. As Co-Lead for Slow Food Seattle (2012-2013), he founded the chapter’s book club and launched the school garden group. Among its goals is to foster biodiversity by encouraging children to grow the Makah Ozette Potato, a Pacific Northwest Presidia. Philip is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and lives in Bellevue, Washington.

Matthew Raiford

CheFarmer at Gilliard Farms, The Farmer & The Larder
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CheFarmer Matthew Raiford is a chef, a farmer and small business owner based in Coastal Georgia. Matthew returned home to Brunswick, Georgia in 2011 to become the sixth generation farmer on his families’ land which they have owned since 1874. Gilliard Farms is a sibling-run certified organic farm. Currently, he is launching The Farmer and The Larder, a family-owned culinary retail space specializing in educational adventures in taste through culinary classes, kitchen retail and a weekly supper club.

He has a Bachelor’s of Professional Studies degree in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from UC Santa Cruz and The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS). CheFarmeris trained in classic French cuisine and has an affinity for Mediterranean flavors, yet is capable of preparing dishes from around the world. With over 15 years of formal experience in the food and hospitality industry, he has worked and traveled extensively and taught culinary arts in community and technical colleges in Georgia, Maryland and Texas.

CheFarmer is currently the Program Coordinator and Associate Professor of Culinary at the College of Coastal Georgia. His last position he served as the Executive Chef of Little St. Simons Island a private resort located off the coast of Georgia and accessed only by boat. He also served as the Executive Chef of Haute Catering in Washington, D.C. at the House of Representatives where he was responsible for a total of five properties National Defense University, National Archives, Pentagon Conference Center and Library, and the Canadian Embassy.

He enjoys collecting menus, planting roses, traveling, dining and teaching. His passion lies in creating a memorable dining experience by preparing local, organic and flavorful foods.

Julie Shaffer

Slow Food Atlanta founder
Chair of the Green Tables Committee for Les Dames d’Escoffier Atlanta
Read more about Julie

Julie Shaffer grew up in rural Ohio gardening and foraging with her grandparents, which lead to a life-long love of food and farming. She moved to the mountains of Tennessee for college and fell in love with the south. She has made her home in Georgia for the past 35 years and founded Slow Food Atlanta in 2000. She served as leader of the Atlanta chapter for ten years, and went on to serve as regional governor for the SE region before being elected to the board of directors of SFUSA. Shaffer taught public high school art for thirty years before landing at Emory University to become their Sustainable Foods Education Director and Project Manager. While in this position, Shaffer created many strategic partnerships to help Emory meet their sustainable food goals. She is currently chair of the Green Tables Committee for Les Dames d’Escoffier Atlanta, as well as an active member of the Atlanta Local Food Initiative, Chefs Collaborative, Georgia Organics, and the Southern Foodways Alliance. Shaffer grows most of her family’s fruits and vegetables, loves to cook, loves to travel, and speaks broken French and Italian at every opportunity.

Joel Smith

Founder, Sustainable Local Food Investment Group
Slow Food Chicago chapter member
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Joel was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He attended Middlebury College in Vermont, followed by graduate studies in Business and Engineering at Columbia University. He also lived in both Spain and Italy, studying language and culture. Joel worked in the field of Operations Research for several years, then began a second career as a trader on the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, owning a seat from 1988 to 2010. Joel joined the chapter of Slow Food Chicago at its inaugural meeting in 1999, and has been active ever since. He served on its initial advisory council, then on its Board of Directors, finally as Chapter leader from 2004 to 2007. He was a contributing editor to “The Slow Food Guide to Chicago”, published in 2004. He served as SFUSA’s Midwest Regional Governor from 2007 until his election to the national Board, and since 2009, has represented the U.S as a Slow Food International Councilor. Joel is a founding member of the Sustainable Local Food Investment Group, an angel investment group whose mission is to repair and rebuild the local food shed in the upper Midwest. Joel is also a Board member of Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. On summer weekends he works at the Evanston Illinois farmers market, selling vegetables at Henry’s farmstand.

John W. Stewart, III

Slow Food San Francisco chapter member
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John W. Stewart III recently retired from Juniper Networks where his last position was CEO of a joint venture with Nokia Siemens Networks. Prior to this role John was General Manager of Juniper’s wireless business unit plus he held various leadership positions in product management. John joined Juniper in 1997 during its start-up phase and was a key contributor to marquis products such as Junos, M40, T-series and MX-series as well as technologies such as MPLS, Internet Processor, QOS and packet/optical integration. Prior to joining Juniper, John did commercial IP network design and operations at MCI as well as research and standards development at the University of Southern California and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives. John is the author of the Addison-Wesley book “BGP4: Inter-Domain Routing in the Internet.” John and his husband Ramon Torres are involved in philanthropy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality and John recently completed six years of service on the board of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation where he served on the executive committee.

Kathryn Lynch Underwood

Slow Food Detroit Central City chapter member
Read more about Kathryn

Kathryn Lynch Underwood is a city planner with the Detroit City Council Legislative Policy Division. She has been a planner for over 20 years, with areas of expertise including land use policy, urban food systems, zoning, and sustainable redevelopment policy. Her current work includes formulating urban agriculture codes and policies for the City of Detroit. Kathryn also helped create the Detroit Food Security Policy, sits on the Detroit Food Policy Council, and is a member of the Michigan Association of Planning Food Systems Policy Planning Committee. She is a founding member of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice and the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. Kathryn was a presenter at the 1st Global Summit on Metropolitan Agriculture in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in September 2010 and has participated in U.S. study groups in both The Netherlands and Italy related to agriculture and food systems. She represented Slow Food USA as a delegate at Terra Madre in 2010, 2012,and 2014. Kathryn is the co-chair of the newly formed Slow Food Detroit Central City chapter and member of the Ark of Taste Midwest group

Kathryn has bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and a Masters in Urban Planning from Wayne State University. She is a life-long resident of Detroit.