Since launching in 2001, Slow Food USA has been advocating for easy food access, biodiversity, and the right of everyone, everywhere to access quality, wholesome food. They were at the vanguard of the local food and farmers' market movements that have swept the country in the past 10 years, but recently the organization has seen its influence wane (or at least given that impression) as its struggled internally to define exactly what it stands for.
The New York Times is now reporting that Richard McCarthy, co-founder of the Crescent City Farmers' Market in New Orleans and director of nonprofit public market mentor organization Market Umbrella, has been named new executive director, taking over for Josh Viertel, who left in May.
"Slow Food cannot only address the sad and difficult news about food," he told The New York Times. "Our mission will remain the same, but our effectiveness will grow."
That mission will revolve around growing "a good, clean and fair food system that serves everybody," he said, cultivating "leaders who listen, who build bridges and who possess the skills to creatively address the conditions that prevent our food system from providing decent livelihoods for farmers, food access for all consumers and the cultural assets that define a sense of place for communities."
It’s certainly a noble, lofty goal, but McCarthy believes that Slow Food can get there. He begins his new job Jan. 22.