State Governors

Slow Food USA’s State Governors coordinate the Slow Food community at a state level, with the goal of growing and energizing the chapters, members and supporters in their state. State Governors also help coordinate regional activities. Some governors may have specific programmatic or thematic representations on the regional and/or national level.

We are currently seeking governors for states with vacancies – if you’re interested in considering this role or if you have questions about Slow Food activities at the state level but don’t see a governor listed for your state, please email

Contact List


Mara Welton
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Mara Welton co-owns and operates 2-acre Half Pint Farm with her husband Spencer in Burlington, Vermont’s Intervale. Mara farms because she loves good food – and started her specialty veggie farm in 2003 to provide Vermont with locally grown niche produce. Mara loves that farming keeps her grounded, inspired, and eating the best possible food everyday! Mara helped to re-launch Slow Food Vermont in 2007, and brings with her a passion for food and traditional foodways, enthusiasm for the process of seed to plate, exciting and educational event planning and general good organizational skills, and an ability to trust and empower her fellow board members to keep Slow Food Vermont always engaging. When Mara is not farming, she is: running, experimenting in the kitchen, reading about food, snuggling with her dachshunds, traveling abroad, speaking at conferences, entertaining, and pining for the growing season.

Amy Henderson
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Amy was drawn to the Slow Food Movement after attending her first event in 2008. In 2014, Amy helped to revivify Slow Food Cape Cod and has served on the chapter’s leadership board as Secretary since 2015. In 2016, Amy was a member of the Slow Food USA Delegation to Terra Madre Salone del Gusto and in July 2017, she attended Slow Food Nations as a delegate.

Amy has been a longtime supporter and advocate of the local food movement. She sources as much food as possible through CSA shares; farmers’ markets; foraging; and from her home garden – The HenHutch Farm. In 2017, Amy added an apiary to the HenHutch Farm and focused on growing Ark of Taste seeds. As Slow Food Governor of Massachusetts, Amy is looking forward to growing the movement throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.

New York
Laura Luciano
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Laura Luciano NY Gov

Laura Luciano is a professional graphic designer, and writes the blog Out East Foodie: a food blog that shares the edible stories of the North and South forks of Long Island. She contributes to Edible East End and Edible Long Island Magazines for her What's in Season column, and is one of the founders and coordinator for the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Project, a squash that is on the Ark of Taste.

Laura became immersed with the Slow Food movement in 2013, the same year she, her husband Chris, an architect, and her dog Trixie designed and built their Energy Star Rated sustainable home Sheridan Green in Hampton Bays, NY that has a rooftop garden filled with heirlooms and Ark of taste varieties. It is there that she hosts potlucks and dinner parties for like-minded people to come together to talk story, enjoy amazing food and drink and share inspiration in a great space.

After attending Terra Madre in 2016 as a guest leader, she was elected to the board for Slow Food East End. There she shares her unwavering passion for biodiversity, seed sovereignty, and coveting culinary traditions.


Washington DC
Shelu Patel
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By day, Shelu is a certified Project Management Professional overseeing Information Technology systems, and a Slow Food advocate by night. Her passion for food began as an undergraduate student after exposure to multicultural cuisine. She holds a double degree in biochemistry and genetics with minors in business and political science from Texas A&M University. In between managing IT systems and Slow Food, Shelu can be found cultivating heirloom vegetables and fruits, volunteering, and visiting local food purveyors in her community dedicated to sustainable practices. She loves traveling to global destinations and discovering the local traditional food culture. Regardless of the destination, her first and most important stop on a trip involves visiting the local farmers' markets.

John Haddad
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John Haddad is a seasoned marketing professional and writer in Richmond, Virginia.   John is also very involved in Central Virginia’s food landscape and has written about food for Style Weekly, Richmond Magazine, Flavor, Foodshed, and Grid. He writes a blog, and is a founding member and current chair of Slow Food RVA . He also started an innovative program at Linwood Holton Elementary School, Know Your Veggies, which connects students and their families to local and seasonal produce through interaction with local chefs and farmers.

South Carolina
Rebecca Burke
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Rebecca Preston Burke is an attorney by trade with a passion for educating others about her local foodshed in Charleston, South Carolina.Rebecca grew up in Texas with a passion for cooking and perusing menus even as a child. As a teen, her family relocated to the Pee Dee region of South Carolina where she became acquainted with its historically agricultural community and of course, more barbecue. She attended College of Charleston where she pursued a degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies. Throughout this time, she worked in restaurants helmed by some of the cities' great chefs including then Anson Restaurant's Kevin Johnson.

Rebecca went on to graduate cum laude with a J.D. and Masters in Environmental Law & Policy from Vermont Law School. Here, she would experience a paradigm shift about our food and where it comes from. She worked with some of the country's great environmental & agricultural scholars in various nonprofit settings, while moonlighting at one of New England's premier farm to table restaurants, Hen of the Wood. There, she interacted with foragers, farmers and ranchers who inspired her. She also became lifelong friends with Chef/Owner Eric Warnstedt who would be named one of Food + Wine Magazine's Best New Chefs and a multiple James Beard nominee. She also studied law in Seville, Spain and Trento, Italy, giving her further opportunity for culinary adventures.

Upon returning to Charleston and passing the bar exam, Rebecca gave a year of service as an Americorps service member, working on environmental and food justice issues in the food deserts of North Charleston, planting community gardens in the impoverished Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood. Soon after, while starting a very small private practice dedicated to helping food entrepreneurs, Rebecca joined the opening team of Sean Brock's HUSK Restaurant where she would further cultivate her love for Charleston's culinary history.

During this time, Rebecca and her then husband launched a widely successful food truck, Roti Rolls that would be featured in USA Today, on the Food Network & Travel Channel and other media outlets while being continuously voted Charleston's best year after year. They also owned and operated a quirky street food haunt, The Green Door, in affiliation with one of Charleston's great dive bar institutions, Big John's Tavern that received much acclaim for it's funky food truck inspired offerings.

Currently, Rebecca teaches hospitality law at two local culinary schools, is the head of her local Slow Food Chapter, puts on a dinner series called Commune that highlights local purveyors and moonlights Stems and Skins, a highly acclaimed atural wine bar in Park Circle. She takes every opportunity to take new culinary adventures including trips to Slow Food's biannual Terra Madre conference in Italy and working for Outstanding in the Field's team as they travel the country. In her free time, she listens to as much live music as possible and spends time outdoors with her two rescue dogs, Murphy and Dughan.

Peter Morich
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Peter Morich GovernorSlow Food’s mission of good, clean and fair food, the pleasure of the table, the preservation of endangered food cultures and food access all drew Peter to the movement. Peter has been a member of Slow Food Atlanta since 2007 and Board Member since 2013. Peter is passionate about Italy, Slow Food, Atlanta’s good food movement and his family. Peter has traveled extensively seeking food & wine culture, and has spent a great deal of time in Italy over the last 20 years. Peter has 35+ years experience in Sales Management and Marketing and has been an active community volunteer.

Peter joined the board of Slow Food Atlanta in 2013 after returning from a year living in Bra, Italy, with his wife Colleen. Peter completed the Master's program in Food Culture and Communication with a focus on Human Ecology and Sustainability at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. Upon returning to the States, Peter and Colleen moved to Decatur, GA to continue life in a small, walkable community. Since joining the Slow Food Atlanta Board, Peter has been honored to work with an amazing group of Board and Chapter Members that are working in the Atlanta good food movement. Peter is particularly passionate about Terra Madre as a change agent for local leaders, working to identify, encourage and support delegates.

Mark Williams
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Mark Williams grew up in the South in a family whose background includes restaurateurs and farmers. A chef by trade, Mark co-founded Slow Food Bluegrass in 2005 in hopes of bringing together members of Kentucky’s sustainable agriculture and culinary communities in order to promote local and organic food. Through free or low cost events, the chapter has reached out to a diverse group of partners on school garden, childhood nutrition, food justice and other food education projects. He has a passion for organic and heirloom gardening, traditional southern cuisine, and sharing what he has learned with others. Mark is currently the Executive Chef at Brown- Forman, an American-owned wine and spirits company, which owns Jack Daniel’s and Southern Comfort. He has worked as a chef in some of the world’s greatest culinary destinations. Mark is on the Board of Advisors for Sullivan University National Center for Hospitality, a founding member of the Napa Valley Culinary Alliance, and is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Richard Stepp
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Rick Stepp is a professor at the University of Florida where he teaches in the Department of Anthropology. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy that was founded in 2004 by Slow Food. His research and documentary filmmaking explores persistence, change and variation of traditional ecological knowledge and ethnobotany. Much of this work has focused on wild and domesticated food and beverage plants. He has worked extensively in Mexico, Central America and, more recently, in Southeast Asia. He has collaborated with chefs in several countries to develop best practices for foraging and spends part of the year sustainably harvesting stone crabs on the Gulf Coast of Florida. He is president-elect of the International Society of Ethnobiology and former president of the Society for Economic Botany.


Jennifer Breckner
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JenniferBrecknerGov Jennifer Breckner is a writer, educator, event producer and public speaker at the juncture of food, beer, art and culture. She combines her background in nonprofit management and art history with her passion as an enthusiastic eater, avid cook, amateur gardener and sustainable food advocate and has worked with organizations including The Art Institute of Chicago, The James Beard Foundation, Chicago Humanities Festival and Food Tank.

For nearly a decade she has served as a Slow Food leader, first as a Chicago chapter leader where she led the Farm Roast, the annual fundraiser featuring Ark of Taste dishes created by local chefs. Breckner is currently chair of the Midwest Ark of Taste committee, promoting agriculture biodiversity through the Slow Food Ark of Taste. Passionate about craft beer, she was appointed an American delegate to Slow Food International's Terra Madre conference in 2012 and 2014 where she participated in a host of beer tasting workshops that opened up her interest in the culture, history and gastronomical potential of this beverage. Breckner is lead events ambassador for Brooklyn Brewery in Chicago leading taste education workshops and promoting the brewery's portfolio at events around the city. Continuing her dedication to the good food movement she recently became a member of Chicago's venerable Green City Market Junior Board.

Kim Bayer
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Kim Bayer is a project manager, communicator, and strategist as well as a veteran community organizer and coalition-builder with deep knowledge of local food systems. Her background includes a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan in Information and Library Science and 15 years of experience at U-M where she and her staff guided strategic direction in technology for teaching and learning. Kim is currently involved in the development of the Washtenaw Food Hub with the goal of establishing health as the standard for economic, environmental and social well-being. Kim has led the creation and implementation of numerous collaborative food system projects, including conferences (Local Food Summit 2009-2016), festivals (HomeGrown Festival 2008-2012), along with many workshops and lectures on food system issues. In addition, Kim is a published author and restaurant critic, and she writes on food-related subjects for regional publications. She has written several guides to local food in the Ann Arbor area. Kim is the founder and President of the Great Lakes CSA Coalition, a 501c3 created to promote CSA farms and establish wellness rebates from insurance companies. Kim is former Chair of Slow Food Huron Valley located in southeastern Michigan.  

Brian Pelletier

Cynthia Walters
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Cynthia Walters is a public school teacher, the SFUSA Governor of Ohio, a Slow Food Columbus board member, and directs the Low-Tunnels for Schools program in Central Ohio. Walters works with community partners to provide support and resources to over thirty youth gardens in more than eight school districts. Walters is the co-founder of School Gardens of Ohio (SGO), a network of educational leaders who offer professional development to create, expand, and sustain garden-based learning. Most recently, Walters is working with other SFUSA members to reboot the Slow Food National School Garden Program, Slow Gardens.

Jennifer Casey
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Jennifer Casey connects heritage foodways to healthier people and places. She brings her experience as a registered dietitian, writer, gardener and professional cook to her many health and food advocacy efforts. She is the Director of Development & Communications for the Fondy Food Center—a nonprofit that connects Greater Milwaukee to local, fresh food through its farmers market and farm. Before coming to Fondy, she ran the Diabetes and Community Health programs at Milwaukee’s only American Indian Health Center, where she had the opportunity to learn about, and incorporate into programming, traditional foods as a source of wellness.

She grew up in the Midwest, where she now resides—relishing its wild asparagus, heritage apples, grass-fed dairy, and abundant fresh water. Her appreciation for diverse cuisine and cultures has been influenced by years spent in Washington, California, Vermont, and New York, but began at home with her Irish and Sicilian family’s home cooked meals and celebrations.

Her involvement in Slow Food started in 2008 when she joined the leadership team of Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast, and soon after, she started the Milwaukee Apple Project. She has been involved with Slow Food on local, regional, and national levels, especially related to the Ark of Taste. She is now the Slow Food USA Regional Governor for the Upper Midwest and leads the Midwest Ark of Taste Committee. In 2010, Jennifer had the honor of being a delegate to Terra Madre – an incredible experience which affirmed that food can be a powerful tool for building connections and making change—and she is looking forward to Terra Madre 2014.

Rocky Mountain/Southwest

Kim Aman
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Kim Aman a former public school teacher, is the SFUSA Governor for Texas, Slow Gardens co-chair, a Slow Food Dallas-Fort Worth board member, and Program Director at Moss Haven Farm, where she holds the title of Farmer Kim and integrates curriculum on a k-6 campus. Additionally, she works with the Farmers Market Friends, Grow North Texas and the Dallas Food Policy Council, to support the local food system. Kim works as a consultant for schools in North Texas and across the country in creating sustainable school garden programs. Her farming roots run deep from her Grandfather who grew crops in the rich country soil of central Ohio. He taught her about the earth, soil, plants, animals and the beauty of a bite from a vine ripe tomato. Her garden programs have formed partnerships with the American Heart Association Teaching Garden Program, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, The Cooper Institute, Healthy Zone Schools, Texas Master Gardener Association and Whole Kids Foundation. On any given day, you can find Kim in the garden working side by side with her student farmers, teaching them about the land and the food they eat. She knows that she is fortunate to be doing what she loves and looks forward to every day that she can spend digging in the dirt.

New Mexico
Grit Ramuschkat
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Grit Ramuschkat became active in the Slow Food movement after experiencing Slow Food Nation in 2008. In a panel discussion Carlo Petrini used a metaphor that stuck with her. He wished for the audience to become bumble bees and buzz from flower to flower, pollinating them with the notion of good, clean and fair food. This motivated Grit to do exactly that: find ways to educate and excite others about all things food. She started a book club on the topic of food and politics that is still active today, became a board member of Slow Food Austin organizing fundraising events and farm tours and wrote weekly, food-related blog entries for a local CSA farm. In 2010 she attended Terra Madre as a US delegate. Meeting people from all over the world that work for the same cause felt truly inspiring. Upon moving to Albuquerque in 2013 Grit revamped the dormant Slow Food Chapter here.

Marilyn Noble
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It was a four-hour, nine-course dinner with Italian cousins in a small town outside of Venice that first introduced Marilyn Noble to the concept of Slow Food. One of the cousins turned to her and said, “This is how eating should be… slooow. Slow Food – it’s what we do here in Italy.” Not only does Marilyn embrace the idea of a long enjoyable meal with good friends and family, she is passionate about the concept of good, clean, and fair food as well. Marilyn joined the Slow Food Denver board in early 2009 and served as the Board Chair in 2013-14. She served as the Colorado Slow Food governor for four years until she moved back to her beloved desert where she spent her childhood. Now, in addition to serving on the board of Slow Food Phoenix and as the Arizona governor, Marilyn is the co-chair of the Slow Food Southwest/Mountain Ark of Taste committee. In her professional life, she consults with food and agriculture non-profits, in addition to being a writer and book editor. She is the author of four best-selling cookbooks, and her articles have appeared in numerous magazines and online including Huffington Post and CNN. She lives in Tempe.

Kristen Tetrick
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Originally from the Midwest, Kristen moved to Colorado in 2003 and has been an active member of the local food scene ever since. After spending a few years in the restaurant industry, she transitioned to natural and organic grocery retail where she has worked for the past thirteen years. After achieving a BFA in Graphic Design, and an MBA in Marketing, she found herself following her true passion in the world of sustainability, where she has developed a national program for her company's growing chain of grocery stores. This program development came to life immediately after Kristen attended the 2017 Slow Food Nations in Denver, where she found the additional inspiration needed to put the final touches on making this program a reality. She loves cooking from scratch and hasn't used a microwave in well over a decade. She is a clean food advocate who is passionate about supporting sustainable farmers, producers and enterprises, and achieving a shared well-being of the planet through meaningful connections and actions.



View the Slow Food California Inaugural Board

Max Caruso (Northern CA)
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Max Caruso GovernorMax came to Slow Food through an active local chapter in Northern California. Growing up in central Illinois, surrounded by corn and soybean fields, he saw the impacts of large scale industrial agriculture. After a career as a Coast Guard officer, his interest in more local, sustainable food systems was piqued by the many worthy projects of local Slow Food chapters.

While volunteering as a chapter treasurer for five years, he became even more inspired by the global Slow Food movement. Supporting presidia projects, raising funds for local school gardens and the 10,000 Gardens in Africa project, and participating in national and international Slow Food gatherings motivated him to support additional local chapters as Governor for Northern California.

Max’s other interests include application of technology, financial planning, property management and volunteering in the Big Brother program

Lisa Frank (Central Valley, CA)
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A native Californian, Lisa grew up in rural northern California. Her childhood consisted of 4-H, raising horses, and foggy summers at the beach (see Mark Twain and San Francisco summers). An Easy Bake Oven was a cherished and well used Christmas gift, belying a life-long love of cooking, baking and the community inherent in sharing food.

After graduating from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Psychology Lisa fell into California politics becoming a lobbyist. In 2005 she left it all behind to be in the inaugural Food Culture and Communication Master’s program at the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Since then she has worked on international conferences, done sales and marketing for a boutique chocolate company as well as an art inspired linen company, and been a tour guide for food and history walking tours in Sacramento.

Lisa serves on the Slow Food Sacramento Board and is Co-Chair of their Snail of Approval program; Slow Food California's Ark of Taste Committee; and founded and is growing Slow Beer CA/USA, challenging brewers to use Ark of Taste products to brew beer. And she travels every chance she gets which is why she is a lousy gardener

Dava Guthmiller (Bay Area CA)
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DavaGovernorDava is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of Noise 13, a strategy and branding agency specializing in food & beverage, hospitality & travel and health & wellness brands. Dava brings her 20+ years of brand experience as well as her love of food and food systems to Slow Food. She joined the SF chapter in 2004 and was on the board of Slow Food SF from 2008-2016. She and is currently on the board of Slow Food California and as the Slow Food Bay Area Governor.

Dava grew up in the central valley of California where farming was central to the local commerce. Moving to SF in 1994 she put her passion for food into restaurant jobs while attending art college. She is passionate about connecting people through food and using her expertise to aid in communications for Bay Area chapters.

Laurie Carlson
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Laurie Carlson – bio coming soon!

Gerry Warren
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Gerry Warren is a retired Clinical Professor in Rehabilitation Medicine and Bioengineering at the University of Washington Medical School. He is a past president of the Enological Society of the Pacific Northwest, chair of its judging of Northwest wines and founding chair of the Auction of Northwest Wines. He and his wife Diane have an organic garden and enjoy cooking and wine making. He is founder and now co-leader of the Slow Food Seattle. He is involved in their Northwest Ark, Presidia and RAFT projects.

Cheryl Brock
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Cheryl Brock served on the Slow Food Portland, Oregon steering committee for five years, including three years as chair from 2011 through 2013. With the group she focused on continuing to build the network of farmers, chefs, food activists, and eaters through partnerships, programming, and community outreach and education. Providing opportunities for others to learn more about our food system and become “co-producers” attracted her to Slow Food.

Her career in marketing and leadership of art and cultural nonprofits took her to communities throughout the Pacific Northwest, then to Flagstaff, Arizona. She moved to Portland to get back into the rain, and now has a garden full of herbs and vegetables.

Cheryl continues to serve nonprofits and educational organizations through consulting in program management, fund development, and communications. Her volunteer interests include mentoring youth on healthy cooking and planting trees throughout the urban area.

Guidelines for Governors

Proposed State Governor Terms
State Governor Job Description


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