National Office Staff

Richard McCarthy

Executive Director

Richard McCarthyRichard McCarthy embodies the phrase “think globally; act locally.” He joined Slow Food USA as Executive Director in January 2013, having previously served as Executive Director of Market Umbrella, an internationally recognized non-profit mentor organization for farmers markets, community building and sustainable economic development. After Hurricane Katrina, Richard played a key role in restarting the local agricultural economy in the New Orleans area, aiming to help provide returning residents with a sense of normalcy and resilience through the revival of farmers markets.

From 2005 – 2007, Richard served as a founding President for the Farmers Market Coalition, the national voice for farmers markets, which contributed to the development of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers Market Promotion Program, yielding $32 million over seven years to farmers market innovation and professionalism.

Richard was named a “Hero of the New South” in 2012 by Southern Living Magazine and a “Public Health Champion” in 2004 by the Tulane University School of Public Health. He earned his master’s degree at the London School of Economics and is a graduate of The American University of London. When he’s not dreaming up new projects, he enjoys playing racquetball, gardening and cooking vegetarian meals with his family at home.

Kate Krauss

Managing Director

Kate KraussKate joined Slow Food in 2009 as Director of Development and then spent seven months as Interim Executive Director before assuming her current role. Prior to Slow Food, she worked for The Nature Conservancy, where she served as a fundraiser for the Conservancy’s China program and its climate change initiative, and where she helped initiate a board development program to share best practices among the Conservancy’s 55 Trustee boards. Kate began her career in television journalism, working in production for the ABC News programs World News Tonight and Nightline. She is a graduate of Columbia University. A native of southern Ohio, Kate has loved having the opportunity to live on the east coast and in California, but she still has a soft spot for Midwestern summer thunderstorms, the smell of newly-cut grass and fresh-picked Ohio sweet corn.

Isabel Eljaiek

Network Engagement Manager

Isabel EljaiekIsabel joined Slow Food USA in May 2013 after working on and writing programs for a nonprofit urban farm in Richmond, VA. She loves connecting people within her community to their local food system and is especially nerdy about compost. Coming from a family that did NOT garden, farm or cook, she experienced a sharp learning curve when she embarked to learn these things as a young adult. Originally from the Washington DC area, Isabel received her Masters degree in Social Work Administration, Planning and Policy Practice with a concentration in Food Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also completed a graduate certificate in nonprofit management and was a scholarship recipient for Growing Power’s Growing Food and Justice for All Initiative in 2011. Her work is underwritten by her strong commitment to food sovereignty, and she especially enjoys writing programs and defining outcomes for food justice initiatives. Isabel believes that growing and sharing food is a powerful way to combat larger issues of poverty as well as a means to create sustainable communities. An avid naturalist, she’s looking forward to discovering a whole new portion of the Appalachian Trail in New York State with her two dogs Norma & Chloe.

Lauren Howe

National School Garden Program Manager

Lauren HoweLauren, a native of Western Massachusetts, joined the SFUSA team in August 2014.  She is a 2013 graduate of Hamilton College in Clinton, NY where she majored in Environmental Studies and co-founded her college's chapter of Slow Food.  Lauren also served as a U.S. delegate to the International Slow Food Conference and International Congress Terra Madre in 2012 and will represent the Northeast Region for a second time at the 2014 world gathering.  In addition to SF, she also spearheaded Hamilton's Real Food Challenge initiative, the nationwide campaign/network of student activists working to shift 1 billion dollars in university food purchasing from industrial to “real.”  As a 2013-2014 Thomas J. Watson Fellow, Lauren pursued her independent research project "A Sustainable Future for Food and Farming: Modern Technology and Traditional Wisdom" in Tanzania, India, Bhutan, Bolivia, the Netherlands, and Iceland.  A yoga and new recipe enthusiast, Lauren is thrilled to move to Denver where she looks forward to taking advantage of all the Rocky Mountains have to offer.

Megan Larmer

Manager of Biodiversity Programs

>Megan LarmerMegan comes to Slow Food USA via Chicago, where she has been a chapter leader for three years. Under her guidance, Slow Food Chicago has incorporated biodiversity into much of its programming through canning workshops, farm to table dinners, and the urban preSERVE garden. She is a founding board member of the Chicago Rarities Orchard project, where she has worked with city officials, elected leaders, funders and the media, in addition to grafting dozens of endangered fruit tree varietals. As Manager of the Logan Square Farmers Market, one of the largest and most respected markets in the region, she oversees all the logistics involved in executing a weekly public event and actively works to engage community volunteers, as well as support small scale farmers and food artisans. During a decade as a restaurant professional, she has roasted coffee on the side of a volcano, baked pies, poured wine older than her parents, planted radishes on rooftops, and much more. Megan is an experienced theater artist and marks her apprenticeship at the Bread and Puppet Theater Farm in Glover, VT as the catalytic time when she realized that her passion for storytelling, community building, and beautiful food were interconnected — and would form her life’s work.

Brittani Le

Operations and Programs Assistant

Brittani LeBrittani joined Slow Food USA in the summer of 2013, after graduating from Case Western Reserve University with a BA in Anthropology, Environmental Studies, and German. Having always had a strong interest in food, her passion for eating locally and sustainably grew even more after a gastronomy course in high school. This later led to Brittani attending Terra Madre in 2012 and starting Case Western's own Slow Food campus chapter. As a native New Yorker, she is a fan of hole-in-the-wall restaurants off the beaten-track and re-discovering old neighborhoods. In addition to interests in all things food-related, Brittani enjoys traveling and learning new languages and is always looking for suggestions on where to visit next.

Gaby Lopez-Barry

Executive Assistant and Office Manager

Gaby Lopez-BarryGaby joined Slow Food USA in July 2014, right after graduating with a Masters degree in Food, Culture and Communications: Human, Ecology and Sustainability from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Italy. It was a delight to return to the New York area where she had worked as the Assistant Project Manager for the Latino International Theater Festival of New York (LITF/NY), an organization that promoted Latino Theater and culture to the diverse communities. Gaby considers herself a citizen of the Americas, having been born in Nicaragua, raised in El Salvador and Mexico, and studied her undergrad in Cultural Anthropology/Latin American Studies in Canada (UBC in Vancouver). Indigenous food, farms, markets and culture were a part of her life growing up and led to her interest in learning more about how the food system could be more sustainable and fair to farmers in the Global South. On her spare time she loves to ride her bike, walk aimlessly through the many beaten paths of Brooklyn, and find the next best ethnic food joints.

Chloe Lyon

Development Associate

Chloe LyonChloe joined Slow Food USA in August 2013. Her previous development experience includes exploring corporate partnerships for Invisible Children, as well as donor stewardship work with Food and Water Watch in Washington DC. Raised in South Florida, Chloe's passion for food grew while working for a local community garden in her neighborhood. Chloe has a Bachelor's degree in Global Environmental Politics from American University in Washington, DC where she served as Campus Coordinator for Food Day and rallied college students around sustainable food and farming issues. She spent 5 months living in Dakar, Senegal studying French, Wolof, International Development and eating lots of mangos. Her personal bucket-list includes learning to brew her own beer, raising chickens and running a half marathon.

Andrew Nowak

Director of the National School Garden Program

>Andrew NowakAndrew Nowak was the Project Director for Slow Food Denver’s “Seed to Table” (STT) school food program from 2001-2012, growing the program from four school gardens to more than 60 school sites. Andrew helped to develop a “Youth Farmers’ Market” (YFM) program that appeared in 32 school sites last year and received funding from the CO Department of Agriculture to implement the this model in food deserts in Denver. In addition, Andrew developed the food safety protocols and procedures for the “Garden to Cafeteria” program that allows students to grow produce for the school lunch program and is a model for similar programs around the country. For the past five years, Andrew has been the community partner for Denver Public School’s School Food Learning Lab (School Food FOCUS), helping the District source local foods for the cafeteria, to train the school kitchen staff how to scratch cook and to implement salad bars throughout the district’s cafeterias. In 2010, the governor appointed Andrew to the “Colorado Farm-to-School Task Force” and, in 2011 he became Executive Director of Real Food Colorado to promote the development of “Farm-to-School” programs throughout the state. On the National level, Andrew is a “Hall of Fame Chef” with Share Our Strength’s “Cooking Matters” program and was one of six chefs invited to the White House in 2010 to help develop the “Chefs Move to Schools Program.” He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Iowa and has been a culinary professional for over 30 years.

Jovan Sage

Director of Network Engagement

>Jovan SageJovan joined Slow Food USA in October 2012 and is a community organizer with over 10 years of experience grassroots organizing at national and community-based organizations. Learning to cook seasonally and working as an urban chicken-keeping apprentice pushed her to learn more about food justice. Since March 2011, Jovan has served as a board member and facilitator for Flip The Table: Youth Food Council, which is working to develop high school leaders for the sustainable food movement. Her work focuses on enhancing the political education, self-knowledge and leadership skills of staff and volunteers, fostering a greater sense of community and fueling campaign-specific successes along the intersections of race, class, ability, gender and sexual orientation.

Aimee Thunberg

Director of Communications

>Aimee ThunbergAimee is passionate about quality, fresh foods and the social experiences surrounding growing, cooking and sharing a good meal with others. She joined the staff in 2011, after more than a decade in marketing and fundraising for public broadcasting, among other community-based, non-profit organizations. A firm believer in the power of media to connect people and foster support for the greater good, she completed a BA in public relations and an MBA in media management to augment her fundraising experience. She credits Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” for teaching her to think locally and enjoy eating seasonally.