About Us

Slow Food was founded in Italy in 1989 by Carlo Petrini to combat the rise of “fast food” and reconnect people with traditional, regional cuisine. Over the years, the organization has evolved to showcase the connections between food, culture, politics and environment. As is stated in the Slow Food Manifesto,

“Slow Food assures us of a better quality lifestyle. With a snail purposely chosen as its patron and symbol, it is an idea and a way of life that needs much sure but steady support.”

Slow Food UW was founded in 2007 by Genya Erling as a way to bring local foods from Southern Wisconsin farmers to the campus. The small group of students who spent their days cooking and enjoying local food together are the pioneers of our current organization. The organization slowly grew as members and volunteers spread the word. Our mission sets itself apart from the broader Slow Food movement by looking to provide good, clean, fair food at an affordable price for all.

Our mission is to promote and model an alternative food system where food is good, clean, and fair for all by supporting sustainable food production, creating an inviting community around food, and advancing food justice in the Madison area.

Our Vision: 

We envision all actors within the food system working hand-in-hand to embrace food’s pivotal role in the dynamics of a community and to leverage that role as a tool to improve the social, environmental, and economic health of communities, nations, and the world.

We envision people from diverse backgrounds united around one table joyfully sharing food, culture, and knowledge.

We envision a food system that is equitable and just, where all individuals and communities are socially, economically, and physically empowered through their connection with food.

Our Values:

Slow Food UW is guided by our beliefs in:

The Right to Food.

Dignified and nutritious food should be a guaranteed right for all people that is protected by government, society, community and individuals.


Participants within the food system should actively support the environment, clean food production, community health, the local economy, and animal welfare.


People should be able to identify where and how their food is produced.


Food can foster connections amongst people who hold different social identities when produced, prepared, and eaten together.


Foodways, traditions, and histories of diverse groups of people should be celebrated and respected.


From farm laborers to consumers, fairness should exist in pay, prices, and access to the food system.

Today, Slow Food UW runs four projects with over 40 student interns, with help from our dedicated volunteers and supportive community members. We also depend upon our two behind-the-scenes intern teams: finance and communications. To learn more, check out our projects and our behind-the-scenes pages.

Interns contribute to a an array of projects, which all work with food as a vehicle for social change and as a way to build a stronger community. The students work to promote cultural, environmental and economic aspects of food.

The best way to learn about our organization is through volunteer work. We encourage you to explore this site and find the area you are most passionate about. Volunteer occasionally, or join our team as an intern. Either way, we will welcome you into our community! You will savor both the friendships you form and the food you help create.




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