Slow Food RVA

Supporting good, clean, and fair food in the greater Richmond, Virginia area

Slow Food is an idea, a way of living, and a way of eating. We are a grassroots movement with over 100,000 members in 132 countries around the world that links the pleasure of food with a responsible commitment to community and the environment.

Our Mission

Slow Food RVa is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization which works collaboratively to champion the local foods of central Virginia and their sources, producers and historical traditions. We welcome volunteers of all ages, skills and backgrounds to join us in developing and staging our programs.

Our mission is to reconnect Greater Richmond area residents with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our regional food, thus promoting sustainability and preserving biodiversity.  Through a range of volunteer-led social & educational events and projects, school outreach programs, public awareness-raising activities and advocacy work, we strive to link the pleasure of enjoying fresh, local, seasonal food with a responsible commitment to community and the environment.

Our chapter motto is Celebrate, Educate, Advocate.  Our initial 3-year objectives reflect this as follows:


Celebrate:  Community-building through Convivium

We are developing a calendar of mixers, pot-lucks, harvest dinners, demonstrations, tastings, tours etc. celebrating the Richmond region's culinary heritage, as well as participating in festivals & regional markets. You may have seen us already at events like Earth Day, Broad Appetit, and Whole Foods Market 5% Community Day. Look for us at farmers' markets around the region too!

Educate:  Slow Food in Schools Programs,
Youth Education & Participation

We will take a targeted, collaborative approach to developing, along with community partners, Slow Food in School projects which will include school gardens, cooking, healthy eating and taste education activities, film screenings, fairs, as well as supporting state Farm to School initiatives. We will work with interested schools both public and private, and hope to instill interest in development of Slow Food on campus chapter(s) at area colleges and universities.

Advocate:  Food Policy Advocacy

Given our capital city location, we will aim to have local and statewide impact by reaching out to our elected city, state and Congressional representatives to advocate for Slow Food principles, priorities and to advance Slow Food USA national campaign objectives.  We will work to keep the Richmond community informed of the latest food policy decisions, and help you voice your support for good food legislation.

Our Board of Directors

Interested in joining the Slow Food RVa leadership board?*            

Contact John Haddad via our Contact page for more information. 
*You must be a paid member with Slow Food USA.

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Marty Fazzio

What was the 'Aha!' moment that brought you to Slow Food?

I must confess it was my love of all things Italian, i.e. spouse, food, culture that caught my attention to this movement that originated in Italy.  The more I heard and read about it,  the more I realized that it was the way I wanted to live my life.  It has been very exciting to witness and taste the changes in Richmond's food evolution.  The chefs who are passionate about what they do, the local producers who provide great ingredients for them to work with, and a supportive community make for an exciting time.  The proliferation of community gardens, early education programs, and addressing food desert's are just a few things that help to provide better access to and choices of food to many more people.

How can an individual make an impact on the food system?

Buy local, buy local, buy local!

What's your secret ingredient?

Garlic and olive oil

Stephanie Ganz

What was the 'Aha!' moment that brought you to Slow Food?

Working in a now long-gone Italian wine bar, Salute in Charlotte, NC, I learned to appreciate the Slow Food ethos. Both the owners and the chef there were Slow Food members. The menu at Salute was small, but it was specific, derived from memories of Italy and from the seasons. It was a way of cooking that I hadn't experienced before, and I loved it.

How can an individual make an impact on the food system?

Educate yourself about food--the science of it and the way it's produced; and then draw a line in the sand. Have standards for where your food comes from, and stick to them.

What's your secret ingredient?

Shallots! I wish I could marry shallots!

John Haddad

What was the 'Aha!' moment that brought you to Slow Food?

I have had lots of "aha" food moments, including my first caper at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Somehow it was more memorable than the King Tut exhibition. In all seriousness, my relationship with Slow Food started in the late '80's when I was living in Italy and the movement was taking off. I admired the Italians' fierce protection of their food culture.

How can an individual make an impact on the food system?

It's easy to make an impact on the food system. We all eat three meals a day and what we choose to eat has a profound impact on the food system. Getting to know your farmers, and buying local meat and produce is key.  And eat seasonally.

What's your secret ingredient?

I'm not sure I have one secret ingredient. I like to see what's fresh at the market and build a meal around it.  Good salt is key for your larder. And greek yogurt.

Alistar Harris

What was the 'Aha!' moment that brought you to Slow Food?

In 2008 I fell in love with the stories from Slow Food’s Terra Madre conference after a friend attended and shared her experiences. I was living in Cape Town at the time, where I was born and raised, and my friend’s stories got me excited about one day participating in Terra Madre myself. The experience of listening to my friend recount her stories of food cultures in Italy and other parts of the world that are robust, unapologetically local, and which brought people together over a table, was my “Aha!” moment. When I moved to Richmond in 2010, I wanted to be a part of a food culture that brings people together over food and the table. I’m deeply honored to have found that opportunity through Slow Food RVA!

How can an individual make an impact on the food system?

Systemic change or progress happens slowly and relies on individuals to become part of a movement to change the system. The food system or movement can only be advanced when each of us takes personal steps toward greater responsibility and awareness about our consumption. Impact can take the form of small actions, like using reusable shopping bags when buying groceries, or large ones like writing a letter to your state representative to advocate for small scale food producers. Each action contributes to the snowball effect that is needed for systemic change. The mantra of “go slow to go fast” is apt as we work toward a slow food culture. 

What's your secret ingredient?

Every Sunday morning I make French toast at home and we read the New York Times Sunday paper. When I whisk the eggs with a little bit of half&half, I also add my secret ingredient, a dollop of maple syrup. It brings a delightful sweetness to the batter which, in my opinion is why family and friends love it so much!


Tracey Leverty

What was the 'Aha!' moment that brought you to Slow Food?

In 2008 I had an 8 and a 6 year old and I went to their elementary school for lunch and thought I would cry…what came out of the cafeteria, other kids lunch boxes, the teachers bags - processed food was everywhere and I was scared at how clueless everyone was.

How can an individual make an impact on the food system?


What's your secret ingredient?

wine. really.

Josiah Lockhart

What was the 'Aha!' moment that brought you to Slow Food?
I spent a number of years managing a project in Scotland that worked with individuals who were long term unemployed, many of whom were homeless. When we began to re-develop that project we tried to find one thing to start with that everyone, regardless of class, interacted with, and food was what we came up with. Many of the people we worked with lived off of food handouts, but 99% of the time, that was the crap everyone else didn’t want. This started my wife and I on a search for what a more equitable and fair food system looked like, and made us consider our family roots in agriculture. Slow Food to me is a movement that tries to make food more equitable. As their slogan says, “Good, Clean, and Fair Food for All.”
How can an individual make an impact on the food system?
By choosing the food we consumer better, changing our understanding of its value (not just financially), and enjoying it. You always here, vote with you money, and although its slow, the market does change, and although the movement and terms like natural get hijacked at time, you can walk into even Walmart and see that even they understand the public’s preference for a better food system is changing.
What's your secret ingredient?
Hot Sauce. Goes in almost everything. My most favorite are Scrumptious Pantry’s Beaver Dam Pepper Hot Sauce, or a special Pablino pepper one Tom Kaines from the Richmond Food Coop makes…

Stacy Luks

What was the 'Aha!' moment that brought you to Slow Food?

There were two key moments, interestingly, both occurred in California.  My journey started when I dined at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in the summer of 1985, long before Slow Food existed here in the US.
Many years later came the moment when I realized Richmond was ready for us to start our own Slow Food chapter . . . summer 2009, I was at a conference hearing experts discuss the Mediterranean diet, obesity in the US, among children, etc.  Slow Food USA had just launched its national better school food campaign, Time for Lunch.  It was time for Slow Food to come to RVA, and a small group of us made it happen.
How can an individual make an impact on the food system?

Growing even a little bit of your own has many ripple effects, from appreciating both the work and the reward of fresh, seasonal food at the height of its flavor and nutritional value, to helping sequester a little bit of carbon.
Also, acquainting oneself with the local food producers and artisans usually opens up a whole new world of understanding that leads to different, better daily choices.  We have seen this happen so quickly across the Richmond area in just the past 5 or so years.
What's your secret ingredient?

Hmm, I have a few.  Knowing how to pairing just the right varietal of fresh extra virgin olive oil with various foods is one secret.
I also love verjus. And I believe shallots are not well-appreciated but I always love the richly delicate flavor they impart.

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