Slow Food USA, the stateside arm of the Turin, Italy based non-profit food group, announced today (Jan. 11, 2013) that Richard McCarthy will join the organization as the American executive director. Slow Food USA has been without a director since May 2012 when Josh Viertel left the organization. Slow Food has struggled since then to determine whether its mission should be about authentic fine dining, or food policy and advocacy.
McCarthy's experience in community building and food-related economic development may be just the type of skills the group needs to once again come together at the table. “His skills as a patient, visionary organizer and respectful leader will serve Slow Food USA well,” said Ricardo Salvador, Director and Senior Scientist of Food and the Environment at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a member of the Slow Food USA committee that led the executive search.
McCarthy is currently the Executive Director of Market Umbrella, an internationally recognized non-profit mentor organization for markets, community building and sustainable economic development. Since he founded the organization in 1995, it has steadily grown and now serves 1,250 markets around the world. At the core of Market Umbrella is the Crescent City Farmers Market he co-founded in New Orleans. Under his leadership, it became one of the first farmers markets in the Deep South to accept public assistance benefit cards, resulting in a 400% increase in the use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) at the market.
“Richard’s deep understanding of both food producers and consumers and his proven success in creating more joy and justice in communities around the US and the world is a perfect fit for Slow Food,” said Katherine Deumling, Board Chair of Slow Food USA. “I am thrilled that he’s joining our team and excited to see where his creativity and passion take Slow Food USA in this next chapter.”
“I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead the organization that has inspired me for so many years to grow community through purposeful food programs,” said McCarthy. “In that sweet spot of tradition meeting innovation, Slow Food USA provides us all with the promise of a future where producers and consumers join hands for good, clean and fair food for all.”
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