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Starting a Local Chapter

Local chapters are the heart of Slow Food USA. Chapters promote good, clean, and fair food for all through a range of activities including: supporting farmers markets and CSAs, creating school and community gardens, and joining members from disparate ends of the food system in debate and common cause.

The central goals of a chapter are: (a) to inspire members of the community to practice Slow Food values; (b) to organize events that celebrate the local farming, cooking, eating, and other food cultures of the area; and (c) to serve as the local anchor for national and global Slow Food initiatives.

How to Start a Local Chapter:

Starting (and leading!) a chapter is a time-consuming process, so before all else, consider whether this is a realistic option for you given your lifestyle. Passionate, committed leaders who make running their chapters a central key activity in their daily lives lead our most successful chapters.

Please check our list of local chapters to make sure that a chapter in your area does not already exist. If one does, then you can join your chapter and get involved! If a chapter is “looking for new leadership,” then get in touch with us to find out how to restart the chapter. If no chapter exists in your area, follow these steps to begin the application process:

1. Make sure that you are already a member of Slow Food USA.

2. Familiarize yourself with Slow Food USA’s organizational structure.

3. Reach out to your community. You will need to organize a team of five or more people to get going. At this point, you should also contact your Regional Governor. He or she will provide you with valuable information about other people in and the dynamics of your larger region. Your Regional Governor will be an important link between your chapter and the national office, so we encourage you to establish a good relationship with him or her.

Once you have assessed the needs in your community, formed an enthusiastic team (including a potential board), and have talked to your Regional Governor, then send an email to chapters@slowfoodusa.org with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • The city/county/area in which you want to start a chapter
  • Who you are: tell us a bit about yourself and your Slow-Food-related interests
  • Any history you may have with Slow Food USA: how long have you been a member? Have you attended a chapter event or meeting recently?
  • Your area: what are the most interesting food issues in your community? what role will your local Slow Food chapter serve?
  • If we know of others in your area who have previously expressed interest in Slow Food, may we share your email with them so that they can get involved?

Contacting the national office is only the beginning of the three-to-six-month process to become an official Slow Food USA chapter. We will follow-up soon after you have submitted your email to discuss the next steps in forming a chapter. Please stay in touch with both your Regional Governor and the National Office for support throughout this process.

Thank you again for your enthusiasm for Slow Food USA. We hope that you will form a robust and exciting local chapter.

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