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From Slow Food USA's "Theory of Change"

Slow Food is a vibrant and diverse network of chefs, farmers, ranchers, fish-harvesters, educators, eaters, activists, organizers, food producers and entrepreneurs. We call this network a Food Web (as opposed to a food chain, which is linear), a multilayered body that is activated at individual, community and institutional levels. Together, we are challenging the tyranny of the Big and Fast with the beauty of the Small and Slow.

With this in mind, our chapter has chosen to examine "our place in the Food Web" through our activities and events during 2024. We will focus on:

• Learning more about the various aspects of our place in the Food Web through farm tours, expert speakers, recommended reading (watch for the 2024 Slow Books reading list), informative films, and more.

• Working to interact with other groups in the community that have a healthy impact on our Food Web. This could include volunteering with Farm to Pantry (a local “gleaning” organization) or the Redwood Empire Food Bank, or participating in Slow Food USA’s Plant-a-Seed Initiative. Roots and grains are the focus this year with a recipe featured in each newsletter.

• Practicing what we like to think of as Slow Food Living. This would include looking at how our diet and eating habits are impacting the environment. Start working on this goal with small steps such as purchasing sustainably grown produce at the farmer’s market or planting a small vegetable garden. Eat “seasonally” and include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and less meat. Strive to waste less by starting a kitchen scraps freezer container. You’ll be surprised that in almost no time, you will have collected enough to make a healthful and delicious stock!

• Supporting our Snail of Approval businesses (restaurants, artisan producers, farms, ranchers and soon-to-be-added support organizations) throughout the year by dining-in, shopping their produce and products and promoting their missions.

See the Events Calendar for some of the activities planned to help us all meet these goals.


Look for an invitation with details about a month before each event.


19 Slow Books, The Fate of Food: What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Smarter, Hotter World, by Amanda Little
28 Snail of Approval Awards Ceremony, Sebastopol Grange, 5:30-7:30


9 Tortilla-Making Class with Eliza Diaz Thompson and Margarita (Margie) Diaz Bourdon, Cloverdale, 10-12
19 Volunteer Day at Redwood Empire Food Bank, Santa Rosa, 10-1
27 Slow Wine, City View at the Metreon, San Francisco, 12-4 pm (Slow Food Sonoma County North and East Bay will have a table)

Slow Books

Slow Books is an ongoing activity of our chapter. The group meets every 6 weeks to discuss a food-related book and enjoy a potluck dinner based on the book. We meet in people's homes which can usually only accommodate up to 8 people. For this reason, we are usually unable to invite others than our core group of participants.

But we're learning a lot from the books we've read, and thought you might want to enjoy the books as well. We will therefore let you know what we're reading each meeting through the newsletter and our website.

February Selection

The Fate of Food: What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Smarter, Hotter World, by Amanda Little.

In the fascinating story of the sustainable food revolution, an environmental journalist and professor asks the question: Is the future of food looking bleak - or better than ever? Read more about the book here.


Snail of Approval Awards

6th Annual SOA - Facebook post

Get you tickets now!

Join us as we honor 12 local restaurants, farms, and artisan producers at our 6th Annual Snail of Approval Awards ceremony at the Sebastopol Grange.

February 28, 2024, 5:30pm.

Light bites and beverages will be served.

Snail of Approval is a recognition given to food businesses that pursue and practice Slow Food values of good, clean and fair food for all. As a locally run but internationally embraced program, Snail of Approval is a powerful validation for businesses. Slow Food in Sonoma County is a joint project of two local Slow Food chapters: Sonoma County North and Russian River.

Unlike other food awards, Snail of Approval always awards locally and through the lens of a sustainable food system. Applicants are evaluated on Sourcing, Environmental Impact, Cultural Connection, Community Involvement, Staff Support, and Business Values. The Snail of Approval program celebrates the great achievements of establishments locally and nationally, with the goal of generating greater support for them as they incorporate Slow Food values in their businesses.

Slow Food in Sonoma County’s newest 2023 Snail of Approval awardees are:

Americana Sebastopol, Sebastopol
[the bejkr], Sonoma
Bricoleur Vineyards Culinary Garden, Windsor
Fourteen Magpies Handmade Jams & Preserves, Santa Rosa
Goguette Bread, Santa Rosa
Psychic Pie, Sebastopol
Sarmentine Artisan Boulanger, Santa Rosa
SingleThread Farms, Healdsburg
The Spinster Sisters, Santa Rosa
Culinary Farm at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Santa Rosa
Wise Acre Farm, Windsor
Volo Chocolate, Windsor

Spot the Snail

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The Snail of Approval in Sonoma County team invites you to help us “Spot the Snail.” When you visit one of our Snail of Approval food businesses (restaurants, bakeries, artisan producers or farms), take a "selfie" with the Snail decal, or just the decal if you don’t want to be in the picture! Then, post it to your social media accounts and tag the business and snailofapprovalsonomacounty.

If you don’t use social media or prefer not to post, then please send us your photo and we will post it to our social media accounts with your permission. Snail Email

Let’s show our Snail of Approval businesses some appreciation by showcasing them online. Join us in Spotting the Snail!

For a full listing of our Snail approved businesses, visit our webpage.

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Our Newest Snail!

Our final Snail awardee for 2023 is [the bejkr]. Mike Zakowski is [the bejkr] and has been a Slow Food supporter for over 20 years. We honor him for baking done right: organic, old grains, freshly milled, naturally leavened, local ingredients, seasonal produce, no plastics and of course delicious! [the bejkr] is good, clean and fair. You can find him at the Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers Market on Fridays, 9am to 12:30pm.

Hint: A must-try are the popular pretzels hot out of the oven!

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Rob Cardillo for The New York Times

Slow Food USA’s 2024 Plant-a-Seed campaign will explore roots and grains. This will be the focus of our recipes this year.

We'll start with roots--they feel very wintery! We like this recipe because it shows how simple it is to roast up some veggies, and you can include any combination of vegetables with any combination of herbs.

Roasted Root Vegetables

The New York Times by Mark Bittman and Sam Sifton

Yield: 8 servings

3 pounds assorted root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, celeriac, potatoes, turnips, etc.
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Chopped rosemary, thyme or parsley, plus more for garnish

(Note: depending on the vegetables, the cooking time can vary widely.)

Step 1
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel vegetables (optional) and cut them into 1- to 2-inch chunks, put them in a baking pan and toss with the oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Step 2
Put the vegetables in the oven and roast without stirring for 20 minutes, then check. If they look dry and are sticking to the pan, drizzle with more oil. Continue roasting, stirring or turning the vegetables once, for another 20 minutes or so. Stir in the herbs, then return the pan to the oven for another 20 to 40 minutes, until crisp. Remove from the oven. Garnish with rosemary or thyme.


Welcome New Chapter Members!

Charlotte Albright
Barbara Friday
Lauryn Guridi
Elizabeth Herron
Liliana Manzone
Teri Rolleri
Renee Simi

Join or renew your membership online and list Sonoma County North-CA as your chapter. If you prefer to renew locally by check, please download our membership form and follow the instructions. Several times a year, Slow Food USA promotes Pay What You Can Day where you can join or renew for any amount on one day only. Watch your email for these promotions.


Newsletter Team: Carol Diaz, Allison Eckert, Kate Hendricks, Lisa Hunter

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